What disease ravages the maker of the once-popular Firefox browser? Mozilla contracted a deadly disease at the hands of Google’s more popular Chrome browser which runs pretty much everywhere, and Firefox does not.
The Death Knell
I’ve been around the computer industry long enough to remember when Apple was beleaguered and critics and pundits were sounding the death knell every week.
So it is with Mozilla, the free software community whose claim to fame started and ended with the Firefox browser.
The idea behind Mozilla was that software should be free. Mozilla produces Firefox, Thunderbird email app, Firefox Mobile, and the fledgling Firefox OS for smartphones.
Firefox competes against software that itself is free– Internet Explorer and Chrome on Windows, Safari and Chrome on the Mac, Chrome on Android devices, and there’s no Firefox on iOS.
While Firefox and Thunderbird are quality alternatives to similar apps by Microsoft, Google, and Apple, usage has diminished in the post-PC era and the company has no presence in mobile devices.
Mozilla itself has struggled for relevancy and found controversy. Former CEO and founder Brendan Eich was ousted just days after his public stance on traditional marriage appeared, though the Firefox makers troubles began long before that PR disaster.
Firefox on Mac and PC could be differentiated from Safari and Chrome through extensions, but such utility is less useful on mobile devices and the browser itself is less relevant.
Mozilla’s death will be slow, long, and lingering, and Firefox OS won’t change the angle of the downward descent into a footnote of tech history.