Mozilla recently announced that it had decided to discontinue Firefox for Windows 8, citing the slow adoption of the Modern environment as the main reason for the decision.
Brian R. Bondy, one of the Mozilla developers who worked on the Windows 8 port, said in a blog post that, even though the Metro version of the browser has been discontinued, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the Modern UI can’t succeed.
“Is Windows 8.1 modern UI in trouble? No. Did Mozilla make the right decision with Metro given the current circumstances? Yes,” he wrote.
Bondy, however, confirmed that the Metro version of Firefox didn’t attract too many testers, but the reason might not necessarily be the fact that users aren’t interested in Windows 8’s touch-optimized interface.
Instead, the Mozilla developer explains, some of the changes that Microsoft made in Windows 8 might be the main cause, especially because a browser is not allowed in the Modern UI unless it’s configured to be the default browser on the desktop too.
“Microsoft doesn't allow your browser to run in Modern UI unless you are the default browser. Several people could have had a Modern UI capable Firefox pre-releases installed, but just never knew it,” Bondy pointed out.
What’s more, choosing a default browser on Windows 8 is also a bit more difficult, as Microsoft has changed the configuration process a little and now gets consumers through a series of steps before choosing the app they want to use for browsing the web.
“Microsoft makes it a lot harder to set your browser as the default in Windows 8. Before Windows 8, each browser could prompt you, and then they could set your default for you,” the developer pointed out.
There’s no doubt that Firefox for Windows 8 is quite a major loss for the modern operating system, especially because almost no developer tried to create a browser for the Modern UI, so Internet Explorer remained the only choice. Google has already developed a Metro version of its Chrome browser, but again, using it is a bit more difficult, as consumers first need to set the desktop version as default browser and only then switch to Metro.
Overall, just like the Mozilla developer states, changing this complicated and confusing browser configuration system would clearly come in handy to both users and developers, so Microsoft should at least consider this for future OS updates.