Could the Mozilla Firefox web browser be going extinct, as it apparently falls out of favor with internet users?
If statistics are accurate, the free browser’s apparently bleeding market share could send it to what Computerworld called the browser endangered species list.
Based on stats from Net Applications that keeps track of such things, Firefox’s desktop market share was just 11.6 percent for the month of February. Internet Explorer, still the big dog, captured 57 percent, while the increasingly popular Chrome had about 25 percent of the desktop universe.
“In the last 12 months, Firefox’s user share — an estimate of the portion of all those who reach the Internet via a desktop browser — has plummeted by 34%. Since Firefox crested at 25.1% in April 2010, Firefox has lost 13.5 percentage points, or 54% of its peak share… Firefox’s total user share — an amalgamation of desktop and mobile — was 9.5% for February, its lowest level since Computerworld began tracking the metric nearly six years ago…” Computerworld explained, adding that Firefox could wind up as a “third-tier” application if the rate of decline continues.
“Various browser trackers… show different figures, but they all agree on two things. First, Firefox’s rise put a serious dent into Internet Explorer all those Internet years ago. Second, Google’s Chrome is now eating Mozilla’s lunch,” VentureBeat claimed in a November, 2014, story.
Perhaps contributing to its woes, Firefox has been reportedly unable to make significant inroads on Android phones. Mozilla has a iOS version for the iPhone and iPad in the works, however.
Reasons for the lost Firefox market share are somewhat speculative but might include various performance issues that have been discussed online and even a certain amount of dissatisfaction with the nonprofit organization’s support for some form of net neutrality.
Then there is the Brendan Eich controversy, which prompted at least some portion of the user community to uninstall the the open-source application in protest. In April 2014, Eich resigned his CEO position with Mozilla under pressure after it was revealed that he contributed $1,000 in support of California’s Proposition 8, the 2008 voter-approved ballot measure that amended the state’s constitution to ban same-sex marriage. Eich’s private donation created an uproar within Mozilla and on social media, leading to his departure from the firm.
Some former users have apparently opted for Firefox-based alternatives such as Pale Moon.
In November, Mozilla announced a switch in the Firefox default search engine from Google to Yahoo! in the U.S. version of the browser. After a spike in usage, Yahoo! also lost some market share. “While it didn’t shed all of its recent gains, according to independent website analytics provider StatCounter, Yahoo dropped from 10.9 percent in January to 10.7 percent in February. It’s a marginal fall, but you would expect Yahoo’s inclusion in Firefox to drive growth for a while longer,” betanews reported.
Last week, Mozilla announced the availability of a 64-bit developer’s edition of Firefox for Windows. In the meantime, Microsoft plans to launch a new browser for Windows 10, which for now is called Spartan.
Do you currently use the Firefox browser or one of the alternatives? Have you recently changed web browsers?
Added: “Thus, what appears to be at work here is not just a user backlash, but a failure to keep up with technology. It’s not at all unreasonable to contend that the powers that be at Mozilla are overly distracted by formulating PC stances on political issues and imposing an internal PC culture to the point that they have forgotten that it’s what they do for PC (i.e., personal computer — and table and phone) users that pays the bills and keeps them in business,” NewsBusters opined.
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