In March 2012, Mozilla announced that it was developing a version of Firefox for Windows 8’s Metro UI. The non-profit included Firefox for Metro in its Nightly distribution starting February of last year. If you became a fan of Mozilla’s touch friendly Firefox in that time, you’ll want to make your peace now.
Mozilla announced this morning that development of the Metro version of Firefox has ceased. In fact, the non-profit says that to release a version 1.0 of Firefox Metro “would be a mistake.”
So, why kill of the Metro version of Firefox? Two reasons – resources and adoption rates. The first is perhaps the most important as Mozilla notes that its resources are not infinite. It has to focus on what works to compete in a market against juggernauts like Google. That’s why it wants to refocus its teams on the versions of Firefox that can make the most difference.
As for adoption rates, Mozilla notes that it’s been “pretty flat.” In a comparison, it says that pre-release versions of Firefox desktop is being tested by millions of users whereas Firefox Metro has “never seen more than 1,000 active daily users.” With so few users, any release would suffer from bugs that were never discovered during the alpha and beta. To avoid that, Mozilla would have to devote its own resources towards QA, and the non-profit doesn’t think it would be worth it.
Despite all this, Mozilla will not erase Firefox Metro’s existence from the Web. It will keep the code alive for anybody who wants to poke around. Even Mozilla admits that Firefox Metro could one day take off and it will “scramble to catch back up” if that happens. It just feels that it’s safer to focus on other products for now instead of one that has never shown much promise.
Image via paulrouget/imgur