Last week, it was reported that Google's rapidly rising Chrome browser had surpassed Firefox for the first time in popularity. According to research firm StatCounter Global Stats, Chrome accounted for 25.96 of the global browser usage in November, second to Internet Explorer. That's up from just 13.35 percent a year ago. Mozilla's Firefox had 25.23 percent of the market share in November, down from 31.17 last November and part of a slow but steady decline. That decline, along with uncertainty surrounding a key revenue-generating partnership Mozilla has with Google, has many asking if Firefox is doomed:
Firefox is definitely in trouble: "It hasn't been a good year for Mozilla and its flagship product, the Firefox browser," says Ed Bott at ZD Net. It's lost significant market share to Google Chrome and some important execs have left. The company also relies on a partnership with Google for much of its revenue, and that partnership is now in question. In an age where consumers want their browser to be the same one that their apps rely on, Google and Microsoft could well push Firefox into irrelevance.
"Firefox faces uncertain future as Google deal apparently ends"
And Mozilla has made some poor decisions: In an attempt to keep up, Mozilla has gone from version 3 to version 8 in less than 12 months, says Garry Pryzyklenk at Search Enginge Watch. Those quick changes were a "recipe for disaster." IT administrators couldn't update their users' computers quickly enough. The new versions were plagued with compatibility and functionality issues, and users were rightfully annoyed. What was once a solid, reliable browser has become anything but.
"Browser wars: How Chrome overtook Firefox for the first time"
Firefox is going down, unless someone steps in: "If nothing changes, Chrome will soon vault [further] ahead of Firefox," says Henry Blodget at Business Insider. Last year, Mozilla's deal with Google — Google pays Mozilla to feature a little search window in the top right corner of the Firefox browser — accounted for 84 percent of the company's revenue. If, as seems likely, Google pulls the plug, Firefox will feel the pain. Microsoft could step in and help Mozilla strike a blow against Google, but that doesn't seem to be happening. And, even so, it's likely Microsoft could only prolong Firefox's life for a year or two.
"And has Google now killed off Firefox completely by pulling the plug on its toolbar deal?*"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- China's leader is telling the People's Liberation Army to prepare for war
- The best books we read in 2014
- How I lost all my money
- Diagnosing the Home Alone burglars' injuries: A professional weighs in
- How to save money: 12 great personal finance tips
- The religious right isn't retreating — it's reforming
- How academia's liberal bias is killing social science
- Why Pakistan won't hunt down the terrorists within its borders
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
Subscribe to the Week