Mozilla has just announced that the Metro port of Firefox, which was exclusively addressed to users of Windows 8 and 8.1, was discontinued due to poor adoption of Microsoft’s Modern environment.
Basically, Mozilla explains that people aren’t really interested in a Metro version of Firefox, so it has decided to focus on the projects that are more important for the company, such as the desktop build of the browser.
Firefox for Windows 8 was already available as a beta for adopters of Microsoft’s modern operating system, but Mozilla says that it hasn’t recorded more than 1,000 users per day since the launch.
“In the months since, as the team built and tested and refined the product, we’ve been watching Metro’s adoption. From what we can see, it’s pretty flat,” Mozilla pointed out.
“On any given day we have, for instance, millions of people testing pre-release versions of Firefox desktop, but we’ve never seen more than 1000 active daily users in the Metro environment.”
This means, Mozilla explains, that a potential version of Firefox for Windows 8 would be launched without much prior testing, which is clearly a bad thing for both the company and its users. The application could be very buggy and slow, so the parent company would have to grant more resources for fixing problems detected after launch rather than repair everything in the beta development stage.
“We could ship it, but it means doing so without much real-world testing. That’s going to mean lots of bugs discovered in the field, requiring a lot of follow up engineering, design, and QA effort. To ship it without doing that follow up work is not an option. If we release a product, we maintain it through end of life,” Johnathan Nightingale, VP Firefox, explained.
In the end, it’s just a matter of how Mozilla wants to invest its money. Directing lots of resources towards a project that has only slight chances to impress and which would address only a small number of users doesn’t make much sense, the company explained, so it prefers to “focus our efforts in places where we can reach more people.”
“We pull it. This opens up the risk that Metro might take off tomorrow and we’d have to scramble to catch back up, but that’s a better risk for us to take than the real costs of investment in a platform our users have shown little sign of adopting,” Nightingale explained.
With Firefox for Windows 8 out of the business, Internet Explorer pretty much remains the only browser on the market with a full version aimed at Modern UI users. Google has also developed a Metro version of Chrome, but it still lacks many of the features available on the desktop, so Microsoft’s very own Internet Explorer clearly remains the number one choice for Windows 8 and 8.1 users.