Mozilla drops Firefox for Windows 8 Metro

Martin Brinkmann
Mar 14, 2014
Updated • Mar 15, 2014
Firefox, Windows 8

Has it really been this long? Mozilla started to work on the Metro version of the efox web browser back in 2012 before Microsoft released the retail version of the successor of Windows 7 to the public.

Windows 8 introduced a then-called Metro interface to the Windows operating system that was heavily optimized for touch displays.

Legacy programs would not run on the Start Screen interface, and while x64 and x86 Windows 8 users could run them on the desktop part, users of Windows RT could not.

Microsoft shipped the operating system with custom versions of core Windows programs such as Internet Explorer, and new apps that it created just for the operating system.

Third-party Windows developers had two choices now. They could either create a specialized version of their program for the Start Screen interface, or ignore it completely.

Mozilla's attempt to create a version of Firefox for Windows 8 was plagued by development issues and delays, and while progress was made, the organization never released a stable version of Firefox for Metro.

Today, Mozilla announced that it made the decision to pull the Metro version of the Firefox browser. What this means that the project is dead, at least for now.

One of the main reason for the decision are low user numbers in comparison to desktop beta builds of Firefox. Mozilla states that no more than 1000 users used Firefox for Metro actively daily.

While that can be partially attributed to the non-existent marketing to promote the app version of Firefox to the community, it is more likely that the core reason is that there are not many use cases where users would select to use the app version over the desktop version.

Touch users on Windows 8 are probably the main target audience for an app version of the browser. Even if the Metro version would have all the features of the desktop version -- which it did not at any time -- it is fair to say that most users would have picked the desktop version of Firefox instead.

With Firefox for Metro gone, Mozilla will concentrate its resources where the organization can reach more people.


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  1. Dave said on June 3, 2014 at 12:10 am

    Has anyone got the installer for this “Metro Firefox”? I’d like to try it out.

  2. Steve said on March 16, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    So close to the finish line to just give up mozilla :-(

  3. chuckydoll said on March 15, 2014 at 6:10 pm

    Stop australis

  4. joe smoe said on March 15, 2014 at 5:38 pm

    could be that the Metro interface, compared to Ipad IOS, is not usable…?

    could be that the Metro interface apps, all appear to be pre 90’s software compared to IOS apps, especially the ones with ads displaying and moving and making the screen unusable.?

    I have a Dell Venue and Ipad Air… I use the Dell when doing network maintenance using Desktop apps
    i use the Ipad when I browse and send email… I never use Metro mode as it is too cumbersome and too many ads and costs much more and looks/does not work the same as IPad apps

    IPad just works
    Dell just works on Desktop Mode
    Dell plain sucks in Metro Mode

  5. Orhin said on March 15, 2014 at 12:35 pm

    No big loss. Same as Firefox OS it is only a waste of time and money.

    No wonder Mozilla has to cut down features from the Firefox Desktop Variant with Australis when they constantly waste time and money with such unnecessary crap.

    They should stop developing this moronic half working stuff and instead of cutting down Firefox customizability they should add all things back what they have killed so far or plan to kill with Australis.

    The more i hear from Mozilla the more i get disappointed. Developer People from Firefox 3 days should come back and fire all of the recent Mozilla destroyers!

    Australis, User personalization trough Ads in the new Tab page, Projects they are starting will never as successful as they hoped…

    I am SO glad for Seamonkey, Cyberfox and Pale Moon – no crap, only good, customizable browsers.

    Mozilla should officially rename themselves into FailZilla!

  6. Nebulus said on March 15, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    Finally, a sensible decision from Mozilla regarding Firefox! IMO, Metro version was a waste of time and resources.

  7. sades said on March 15, 2014 at 6:08 am


  8. pschroeter said on March 15, 2014 at 4:11 am

    Great news. Now if they would only stop their plans to shove Australis down our throats.

  9. Maou said on March 15, 2014 at 3:11 am

    Fortunately for me I never planned to buy a Windows RT device in the first place, or use the “infamous” Windows 8 start screen.
    But it is sad news.

  10. Dave said on March 15, 2014 at 2:37 am

    VLC for Windows 8 was funded by Kickstarter so they’re not going to drop it.

    I think this is a sensible move by Mozilla. Kinda a shame, but regular Firefox needs all the attention it can get. Not to mention it needs re-modularizing.

    1. sades said on March 15, 2014 at 9:26 am

      The fund can only go so far, so yes they will support it but not indefinitely especially if it doesn’t really being used by a lot of people (unknown at this point).

  11. Ray said on March 14, 2014 at 11:26 pm

    I am wondering whether the same applies to VLC. They just released the VLC player for Windows 8 (metro/start interface) in addition to their famed desktop version. Would it be better if they concentrated on the desktop version instead?

    1. ilev said on March 15, 2014 at 7:48 am

      There is a big difference. VideoLAN wouldn’t have touched the failed Metro with a 100 yard stick without being paid for (via kickstarter) to develop VLC. Maybe Mozilla has to take the same route to test users willingness to fund such a project.

    2. Martin Brinkmann said on March 15, 2014 at 12:11 am

      Good question. It does not seem that Videolan will stop development of the app at this point in time.

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