Mozilla Stops Development of Metro Firefox for Windows 8

by Ostatic Staff - Mar. 17, 2014

It's been a couple of years since Microsoft delivered Windows 8 and we have never seen the touch-capable "Metro" version of the Firefox browser, designed for Windows 8, that Mozilla had talked up so frequently. Google Chrome, on the other hand, has been available in a Windows 8 Metro version since 2012.

Now, Mozilla has announced that it is halting work on the Metro version of Firefox, citing interest that is "pretty flat."

According to a post from Johnathan Nightingale, VP of Firefox:

"Mozilla builds software to make the world better, but we have to pick our battles. We’re not as tiny as we were when we shipped Firefox 1.0, but we still need to focus on the projects with the most impact for our mission; the massive scale of our competitors and of the work to be done requires us to marshal our forces appropriately."

"In late 2012, when I started up the Firefox for Metro team (I know that’s not what Microsoft calls it anymore, but it remains how we talk about it in Mozilla), it looked like the next battleground for the Web. 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."

Some may interpret Mozilla's decision as proof of the lukewarm reception that Windows 8 has received compared to previous versions of Windows, but Nightingale's comments make clear that the decision really illustrates Mozilla's new areas of focus. The company is squarely concentrating on remaking itself as a mobile leader, and is very focused on Firefox OS and smartphones. 

Nightingale concedes that there is "the risk that Metro might take off tomorrow and we’d have to scramble to catch back up," but that is unlikely to happen at this point. Just recently, Mozilla also halted its work on the Persona authentication system. 

We're seeing a new Mozilla--one that is a bit more like Google in the sense that the company is willing to abandon projects that don't have strong growth opportunities.