A few days ago I wrote about A problem with Add-Ons and Firefox 5, along with no support anymore for Firefox 4. Now Firefox is really trying to commit suicide.
Firefox was a great browser. Yes, I say was, because it won’t last that much longer. Not with the path they have chosen at least. Focusing on the consumer market isn’t a bad thing. You will get people who will use Firefox at home when their corporations don’t allow for its use internally. Actively saying, “We don’t care about corporations,” though is akin to committing suicide.
Mozilla might not care about the corporate environment, but they do need to be aware of it. With hosted apps, and work websites becoming more and more prevalent in the world, to survive on a consumer end, you need to be. Heck, most of the web sites that people visit are done by corporations. Now with the accelerated pace of releases, and no support for the prior release, web designers will need to check more and more versions of Firefox against their websites to make sure that they aren’t broken by the changes. The amount of manpower and time will drive up the cost of web development. Sites will shut down, or the other logical solution will happen.
Sites won’t try to be compatible with Firefox anymore. They just won’t care. Chrome is passing up Firefox in usage, and Internet Explorer still has the majority of market share. Google just needs to support prior versions for a corporate environment, just like Microsoft has already started to jump at companies reminding them they won’t run into a lack of security patches. Heck, IE8 and 9 are pretty good from a security standpoint as it is.
Firefox thinks that doesn’t matter. Consumers will continue to use Firefox. No, they won’t if it doesn’t render web sites properly. The lack of foresight on Mozilla’s part is pretty amazing. First thing taught in retail and marketing is that 1 complaint, 1 problem with a client, can hurt you in a huge way, as they spread the word to avoid such an item.
Six weeks between releases is ambitious, and hurts consumers who’s plug ins and add-ons might now work with the latest version. Can new versions of the plug ins be ready in under the time it takes for the next version to come out? This is the other side of the death spiral Mozilla is putting itself into. Consumers love the plug ins. If they don’t work, what good is Firefox to them anyway?
There is still time for Mozilla to save itself. They have to support a 3 month old browser they put out. They have to show the world that they care about more than their own egos. They have to stop being the poster child for what can be wrong with open source, and get back to showing what is right with it.