Mozilla Kills Firefox OS, Ceases Development of Smartphones

We saw this move coming from a mile away. It’s hard as hell to break into the smartphone OS market, especially with dominant players like Android and iOS taking up a lion’s share of the market. Even existing players that once had sizable piece of the pie — i.e. Windows Phone and BlackBerry — have seen their market share drop down to the low single-digit realm (or lower in the case of BlackBerry).

With that in mind, Mozilla already had an uphill battle to fight. Earlier this year, the company announced that it was cancelling its effort to produce a $25 Firefox phone. The company explained that having a rock-bottom price is not enough to make a dent in the smartphone marketplace.

"We will build phones and connected devices that people want to buy because of the experience, not simply the price,” said Mozilla back in May. “We have not seen sufficient traction for a $25 phone, and we will not pursue all parts of the program."

firefox phone

Now, however, it appears that Mozilla has bailed completely on its efforts to create smartphones running Firefox OS.

“We are proud of the benefits Firefox OS added to the Web platform and will continue to experiment with the user experience across connected devices,” said Mozilla SVP of Connected Devices Ari Jaaksi in a statement this week. “We will build everything we do as a genuine open source project, focused on user experience first and build tools to enable the ecosystem to grow.

“Firefox OS proved the flexibility of the Web, scaling from low-end smartphones all the way up to HD TVs. However, we weren’t able to offer the best user experience possible and so we will stop offering Firefox OS smartphones through carrier channels.”

In other words, even though Mozilla thought that it was developing a compelling smartphone solution for consumers, it simply couldn’t compete with its web-only platform that didn’t even feature native apps. The app model has been a boon for Android- and iOS-based smartphones, and a lack of apps can be a serious detriment to a platform’s survival (see: Windows Phone).

Although we would gladly welcome a competent operating system to do battle with the duopoly that is Android and iOS, the truth is that Firefox was never even on the radar screen for general consumers or those in the tech industry.