Is Firefox toast?

Is Firefox toast?

Summary: Firefox's market-share is fading; the browser itself isn't that good anymore; and its money supply may be drying up. Is Firefox coming to the end of the road?

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TOPICS: Browser, Google
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Is Firefox burning out?

Is Firefox burning out?

I remember just how great it was when Firefox first came out. In 2004, when Firefox first appeared, Firefox was a breath of fresh air. Firefox 1.0 was far better and more secure than the already awful Internet Explorer 6. I loved Firefox then. We all did. But, that was then. This is now.

Today, Firefox is getting pummeled from all sides. Its performance is mediocre. Sure, Firefox 8.01 beats the stuffings out of "classic" Firefox 3.6, but that's not saying much. Compared to Chrome and Internet Explorer 9 Firefox isn't keeping up.

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As features and security go, Firefox no longer really offers anything that the other browsers don't. At the same time, Google is turning Chrome into not just a Web browser, but an integral part of its software as a service (SaaS) and cloud application stack. Yes, you can run Google Docs and Gmail on Firefox or IE, but the combination of Chrome's innate speed with Google's applications makes it the most attractive package.

In addition, Chrome is beating Firefox to second place in the Web browser derby. According to StatCounter, Chrome is already already number two. The other popular Web browser popularity NetMarketShare, Firefox still has a narrow lead, but no one expects it to keep its lead for much longer. Indeed, Mozilla's hyper-accelerated release schedule is losing Firefox's business customers.

Last, but never least, Firefox's parent organization, Mozilla hasn't been able to close a deal with its chief income source: Google. True, Mozilla tells us that, "Our search relationship with Google remains positive for both of us. We are in active negotiations and have nothing further to announce at this time. We have every confidence that search partnerships will continue to be a strong and growing generator of revenue for the foreseeable future."

If it wasn't for the fact that that's almost word for word what Mozilla said in its annual report for 2010, I've find that much more reassuring. Besides, as my comrade in writing arms, Adrian Kingsley-Hughes asks, "Does Google need Mozilla?" We both think the answer is no.

That's bad news for Firefox. Mozilla relies on search deals for 98% of its annual income, and it's a safe bet that most of that revenue comes from Google. Sure, Mozilla also recently inked a deal with its arch-enemy Microsoft to bring the Bing search engine to Firefox. That strikes me more as an act of desperation than a real source of substantial income.

Put it all together and what do you get? Well, Mozilla's brass had better work hard on landing some kind of continued support from Google. With that deal, Firefox can continue to struggle on. Without it? I think Firefox is toast. What do you think?

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Burning Firefox image by Teamstickergiant, , CC 2.0.

Topics: Browser, Google

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106 comments
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  • RE: Is Firefox toast?

    No its not toast, not by a long shot. Firefox has the community going for it. As a matter of fact that is how it started, a community who wanted to clean up Netscape's bloated code. With the right motivation (losing market share) they can clean up the code and enhance performance to continue making Firefox a key player in web browsing software. There are people like me who use it for its wide abundance of extensions and we absolutely refuse to use Google's Chrome browser. There will always be a market for Firefox and that is why its going to live on.
    Loverock Davidson-
    • RE: Is Firefox toast?

      @Loverock Davidson- <br><br>Thats not the kind of post I expected to read from an anti Linux person like yourself, talking about communities and how beneficial they are, you actually sound rational, you know Linux also has a community going for it so lets see what happens when I exchange Firefox for Linux in your post.<br><br>"No its not toast, not by a long shot. Linux has the community going for it...There will always be a market for Linux and that is why its going to live on"
      guzz46
      • Then you don't understand the post

        @guzz46
        This is a simple web browser, not an OS. There are lots of open source Windows programs out there too, so that isn't the issue.

        I don't think LD ever claimed that Linux would disappear completelly, he states that it will never even come close to displacing Windows or OSX, as some of you Linux zealots claim it will.
        William Farrell
      • It takes one to know one

        Right, @William Farrell?

        ;)
        ScorpioBlue
      • RE: Is Firefox toast?

        @William Farrell<br><br>I understood the post just fine, which is why I did what I did, after all in a previous post loverock claimed that Linux is not relevant at all, yet here he claims that Firefox isn't and won't be toast because it has the community going for it, quite ironic don't you think?<br><br>Oh and Linux has displaced windows in almost every market, its just the desktop that windows has left, which is probably why he is so anti Linux.
        guzz46
    • RE: Is Firefox toast?

      Nonense Steve. Your articles are always so Chrome biased.

      Firefox is loaded with features Chrome's nowhere near to implementing and it's performance easily beats Chrome. Certainly since Firefox 7.

      The fact you're advocating IE over the fox says it all. IE9 is decent but it's no Firefox, Chrome or Opera replacement.
      bradavon
      • RE: Is Firefox toast?

        @bradavon You are trolling right? You've got to be.
        Bates_
      • RE: Is Firefox toast?

        @bradavon What features are you referring to, exactly?
        nickswift498
      • RE: Is Firefox toast?

        @bradavon
        I completely agree with you! most features chrome users are proud off, exist in a much better version as an add-on for firefox, sure you can get many off those extensions for those other browsers to, but that means it's implemented twice! what a waste! and as for performance: chrome isn't that fast any more compared to other browsers. it has a very little javascript performance advantage, but other browsers make up for that in fields like hardware accelerated graphics. If you combine all performances, you find that firefox has the best combination
        aardmaat
    • RE: Is Firefox toast?

      @Loverock Davidson- "No its not toast, not by a long shot. Firefox has the community going for it."<br>Yeah, we know that. The I-want-everything-free-tailored-to-my-needs-and-that-for-yesterday "community", who not only wouldn't ever spend a dime on some software they're using every single day for hours, but even blocks ads, that don't cost them anything (neither in money, nor in time), just because they're such control freaks, and because they stupidly think that ads are invading their life, whereas it's they calling up the pages that happend to contain the ads, too. They also would never donate a single line of code - if not money - to Firefox, because even though they think of themselves as uberskilled geeks, they actually have no clue about the basics of real programming either.<br><br>And this "community" is going to save and keep Firefox going? Best joke ever.
      ff2
    • RE: Is Firefox toast?

      @Loverock Davidson- It's the apps (like you said: "the community"). As long as they have the superior apps, they won't be completely doused by Chrome. Once Chrome gets a half-way decent FTP client, however, I'm jumping ship.
      thoiness
    • RE: Is Firefox toast?

      SJVN, stop spreading pointless FUD. Firefox is far from dead.

      Granted, it's been taking licks from Chrome, and even I don't refuse to tell the average end-user that Chrome is a nice browser, but I personally use Firefox and foresee myself doing so in the future. Numbers won't change that, and numbers won't sway the Firefox community.

      Chrome is OSS, but it's nowhere near as open code as Mozilla Firefox has been. The power in Firefox lies not within it's speed or set of features, it lies within it's sheer extensibility. Chrome does offer addons, but there are still many limitations in Chrome placed for many reasons, some good, that prevents certain addons found commonly on Firefox from migrating.

      Additionally, people will always be slightly concerned about Google and how well it follows it's own privacy policies. I personally don't use Chrome because I don't particularly want Google to have any control over my browser. The fact that the browser is [b]Google[/b] Chrome stops me from considering it a browser that I would like to trust with my day-to-day browsing.
      ZazieLavender
  • RE: Is Firefox toast?

    It has always been great here.
    A few versions not so good till a patch but overall great.
    I like the ease of use and the many addons if I want one.
    MoeFugger
  • RE: Is Firefox toast?

    I'm still using it and will continue if they fix the memory leak issues that make it unstable after a bit of time with as many tabs/windows open as I have. That being said, I would think that Microsoft would pay a lot to have Bing be the default search engine.
    Dodgson1832
    • RE: Is Firefox toast?

      @Dodgson1832
      with many tabs open, you really don't want to start using other browsers! firefox, albeit more memory consuming after a long time than at the begining of a session, uses way less memory with many tabs than browsers like chrome and IE
      aardmaat
      • RE: Is Firefox toast?

        @aardmaat That's so true. I've run Firefox often with 50+ tabs open with no noticeable problem with speed.

        But with Chrome, 20 plus tabs open and the browser fails to switch between them for a few seconds and fails to render the content of tabs that have not been active for a while.

        Furthermore, totalling up the memory use of both Firefox and Chrome they both come out at about the same.

        Chrome is fast but overrated in comparisons. The only thing it has over Firefox is a faster startup time but even that lead is now vastly reduced over the latest Firefox with no extensions (which is how people are usually using Chrome when they compare the two)
        authentictech
  • RE: Is Firefox toast?

    This is a load of crap, FF has lost only about 5% market share since its heyday at 30%. Meanwhile, IE has lost 25% in the same period. I'd say IE is toast.

    Pure old FUD.
    gorash0
    • RE: Is Firefox toast?

      @gorash0
      Microsoft makes absolutely no money from Internet Explorer....none whatever, it's market share could shrink to single digits and they wouldn't care, nor should they....on the other hand, if they decided to fund Mozilla by paying them to make Bing the default search, they could make millions....if not billions....
      Doctor Demento
      • RE: Is Firefox toast?

        @Doctor Demento Uh, IE is obviously important for MS in various ways. MS can make IE's homepage to MSN and make the default search engine Bing, etc (why should MS pay millions to Mozilla when they can just make their own browser). Or else why would MS spend so much on IE, including IE9? The reason that MS made IE in the first place was so that they could monopolize the entire web.
        gorash0
      • RE: Is Firefox toast?

        @Doctor Demento Actually Microsoft makes plenty with IE having market share. They sell server software that supposedly works well with it you know?
        paulfx1