Is Firefox close to extinction?

Mozilla Firefox is struggling against bigger and better browsers right now, even with a cash injection from its market competitor, Google.

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I used Firefox for a good chunk of the 2000’s and for good reason. It was superior to Internet Explorer, offered the ability to type in a word and navigate to its associated website, and it was so much faster and better looking. Then Chrome arrived and I used it alongside Safari when I got a Mac. The rest is Internet history.

Firefox is still a solid browser with great web dev capabilities but I just prefer Chrome. Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols wrote about its “endangered” status for ZDNet on 14th August:

Firefox had a great run, but beginning in 2012 with Firefox 11, the once innovative browser began a sharp decline in quality. Over the years, things continued downhill.

He attributed its demise to Chrome’s growing dominance, layoffs and then more layoffs, and revenue losses (which Mozilla is papering over with Google’s money from their renegotiated search partnership worth between $400 million and $450 million per year until 2023). But there’s more, which Vaughan-Nichols shrugged off:

[…] [Mitchell] Baker assured onlookers that Mozilla would ‘ship new products faster and develop new revenue streams.’ These include its bookmarking app Pocket; its virtual rooms Hubs; and its $4.99-a-month Firefox VPN.

Excuse me if I don’t buy any of these new revenue sources. There are already many successful bookmarking programs (Evernote, Flipboard, and Instapaper), virtual meeting rooms (Zoom, Slack, and Teams); and VPNs (NordVPN, PureVPN, and Hotspot Shield). Do you see any room there for a new money-making service? I don’t. 

To be honest, I don’t either. This looks eerily similar to the browser wars of the 90s highlighted in Halt and Catch Fire, except Mozilla is Comet in this scenario. And if you watched the show, you’ll know how that ended.

It would be a great shame if Firefox died but it’s competing with Google who also happens to be giving them a significant amount of their current revenue. Who knows what the future will hold if they decide to pull the plug.

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