Should Mozilla worry about Firefox's user share?

Martin Brinkmann
Mar 9, 2015
Updated • Mar 10, 2015

Every month tech journalists head over to the few sites on the Internet that collect user share data such as Net Market Share or StatCounter to report on the recent month's data.

While the data provided sometimes make good headlines, it is highly problematic for a number of reasons.

If you compare statistics between services you will for instance notice huge discrepancies.

The most recent desktop browser statistics on StatCounter see Chrome leading the field with 48.71% followed by Microsoft's Internet Explorer with 18.91% and Mozilla Firefox with 16.53%.

If you head over to Net Market Share, you have Internet Explorer leading the field with 57.38% followed by Chrome with 24.69% and Firefox with 11.60%.

Even statistics f a single service are highly problematic as you only get percentages but no information about the data source itself.

Did users increase, decrease or stay nearly constant in the period of time analyzed? Where did those users come from, did that change as well?

Gregg Keizer reported recently that Mozilla is bleeding user share and based his findings on the data provided by Net Market Share.

It certainly looks grim if you base your analysis solely on the data provided by the company but for the reasons given above, it is not an accurate analysis.

Without access to Mozilla's own data, it is impossible to come to that conclusion. Even though those services report a drop in usage share, it does not necessarily mean that Firefox usage share dropped as there can be other reasons for that.

If tracked users increased in regions where Chrome or Internet Explorer dominate, Firefox's usage share would have dropped.

But even if the user share of Firefox dropped, does that mean that Mozilla is in trouble? Not necessarily as Mozilla never had the goal to become the most popular web browser on this planet.

Mozilla instead started out to break Internet Explorer's stranglehold on the web back in 2004.

David Harrison argued recently that Mozilla should forget about Firefox and concentrate on Thunderbird as it has achieved its goal with Firefox.

Mozilla's position today is a difficult one. It competes with Internet Explorer and Chrome on the desktop, and with Safari and Chrome on mobile devices.

As far as mobile devices are concerned, it is tough to compete against browsers on devices that ship as the default on them, especially if you are limited in what you can bring to the table.

On the desktop, Internet Explorer still has the advantage that it ships with every nearly every copy of Windows.

Chrome is a special case but it too has the advantage that it is promoted at times by Google on several of the world's most visited websites.

In addition to all that, it means competing against Microsoft, Apple and Google, three of the most powerful Internet companies.

Mozilla is a great counterweight to these corporate behemoths, especially on the desktop where Firefox holds considerable market share.

Should Mozilla be worried about a declining usage share?

If usage share is indeed declining, and Mozilla is the only one to know for sure, it is certainly something that the organization needs to analyze to find out why that is happening and find solutions to reverse the trend.

One way to do that would be to concentrate on core improvements to Firefox that improve the browser for all users.

Mozilla has been criticized in the past for adding features to Firefox that are only of use to some users of the browser. The Social API, Share button or the recent introduction of Firefox Hello for instance.

Whenever a new feature got released, Mozilla was criticized for adding it natively to the browser and not making it available via add-ons instead.

Improvements to add-on compatibility, the browser's memory usage or stability would certainly be welcome by the majority of users.

Now You: Should Mozilla be worried?

Should Mozilla worry about Firefox's user share?
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Should Mozilla worry about Firefox's user share?
Should Mozilla be worried if reports are true that Firefox's usage share is in decline?

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  1. Mark said on May 20, 2015 at 8:31 pm

    Personally I just gave up on it this year–I had used it at home and work. It’s always hanging, Flash is always crashing, and going through the support checklists to fix things every time they update (which is often) is just too tedious. I don’t use or care about any of the new features they’ve added over the years, I started using it because I wanted something simple that just worked.

    It’s not that anymore and it hasn’t been for a long time. Wish they’d upgrade back to where it was, say, 5 years ago.

  2. Greg said on April 11, 2015 at 6:13 am

    Geez, so much whining.

    I’ve switched to good old Firefox Nightly after using Chrome for years.

    I see people complaining about Australis – seriously? Just install a complete theme. Chrome’s theming is limited to personas.

    Speed-wise, Nightly is pretty much on par while using way less resources.

    FF has powerful addons. userChrome.css. And its open source.

  3. smaragdus said on March 13, 2015 at 11:50 pm

    Australis killed Firefox. Mozilla is repeating Opera’s mistake to copycat Chrome and thus drive their devoted users away. The GUI before Australis was nice and customizable, with Australis it became a joke and is totally useless. For former Firefox users there are SeaMonkey and PaleMoon, the problem is that not all Firefox add-ons are compatible with SeaMonkey.

  4. paranoid user said on March 13, 2015 at 4:52 pm

    I will remain loyal to firefox (using it since v4) and will continue to use it. Never going to use NSA funded browser, IE, chrome etc..

  5. Dave said on March 13, 2015 at 4:52 am

    There is no point in Mozilla worrying about market share, when you turn your back on the users who supported you all through the years, who recommended you to their friends, who changed their systems in their workplaces to use Firefox, when you do that what do you expect, normally when new versions of software are released, i look forward to seeing what new features have been introduced, with Firefox its dread, its a case of how much more bloatware have they added, how many good features which i use every day have they removed, how many more add-ons are broke, how many more add-on developers have now abandoned their exensions because of the rapid release cycle, how much more memory will the new version use.

    The biggest joke of it all, is Mozilla’s attitude, if you complain about functions being removed they say, use an add-on to restore it, and then if you say the memory leaks are terrible, they say don’t blame us blame the add-ons, they are idiots pure and simple, i live in hope that someday someone will get a grip of that company and slap down the egos of the developers and tell them straight, the answer to the userbase not their own badly thought out ideas.

    The only way for Mozilla is down, when you continue to turn your browser into a Chrome clone, you’ll find most people who don’t use firefox add-ons would rather have the real thing than the clone.

  6. Mick said on March 12, 2015 at 9:55 am

    I am running over 130 add-ons in my FF, it does take an extra few seconds to start up in the morning ;) but what a great tool. Is anything like this even possible with Chrome? I don’t think Mozilla will ever be able to keep up with the likes of Google or Apple in terms of sheer numbers, but they will retain a solid user base consisting of people who are seriously interested in functionality and productivity, and not just in being able to play around with cloud services and sharing on numerous social media. In theory of course, the one does not exlude the other.

    1. BM said on May 9, 2016 at 3:07 pm

      Would be interesting to know how many of the (2012) can still run in FF47 (2016). With the latest update they killed the earlier user override of the FF47 Mozilla Approved List. FF47.0b3 looks like they shot themselves in the foot with an AK47. (Just tried Netscape, didn’t like it either. Had to use PCdecrapify to completely get it off my PC.)

  7. ekerazha said on March 11, 2015 at 9:30 am

    On Windows, Chrome font rendering sucks, Firefox font rendering is much better.

    1. Woolyss said on March 12, 2015 at 1:08 am

      It is easy to change font rendering:
      Disable chrome://flags/#disable-direct-write

      Personally, I think statistics are biased because today more and more bots have browser-like capabilities (with Javascript capabilities) For example, I use one bot to update my Chromium browser and other things. It is based on PHP Desktop (= Mongoose server + php + JS).

      For me, these stats are fake. All is wrong.
      Sure IE, Chrome and Firefox are in the top 3 but I do not believe in their relative percents.

      1. ekerazha said on March 12, 2015 at 9:15 am

        Nope… if you disable the DirectWrite support, you lose the anti-aliasing.

  8. webfork said on March 11, 2015 at 12:05 am

    I think at this stage something’s gotta go wrong with Chrome to give Mozilla a chance. IE’s numbers never seem to shift even after off and on bad security press for years now.

    That said, despite the slashdot article speaking to some of your points, I do want to point out that Mozilla HAS been getting some good press:

    – PCMag gave them the best browser crown,2817,2365692,00.asp (though it’s 6 months old)
    – CNET gave it 5 stars
    – The move to Yahoo search to untie it from it’s competition seemed to go over well, even if not everyone thinks Yahoo is that great
    – Other press surrounds the Firefox OS or odd technical bits surrounding HTTP2 and the recent SSL issues

    Evidently that’s not resulting in much of a bump.

    I wish the community would realize that Chrome’s do-whatever-you-want-with-it BSD license could close any minute now like what’s happened for Opera/Vivaldi, Slimjet, Maxthon, and 10 other knockoffs. Google’s dedication to open source on Android for example isn’t great (“Google’s iron grip on Android”

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on March 11, 2015 at 7:56 am

      Chrome is getting bloated and this could turn the tide eventually. While Google had the advantage of late entry to the game, for instance by creating an extension system that does not require restarts and ages well so that users run into fewer add-ons not working, it is terrible in some regards.

      For instance, I open Chrome with three web pages from the last session and it takes a good five to ten seconds to display those three sites on a fast SSD. I noticed the same when using the new Opera browser, it is slow to start.

      We are still in a cycle where Chrome gets recommended more than Firefox, at least from my experience. This is IE vs. Firefox all over again, only that Chrome gets recommended and installed on systems of users who just want a browser that works out of the box on the sites they visit.

      1. webfork said on March 11, 2015 at 7:24 pm

        Good points — I hope you’re right.

  9. chris said on March 10, 2015 at 4:14 pm

    No, Mozilla has a core baseline user base, who never wavered when IE has 96% market share, what makes you think they will switch to others? If they want to, they would have switched by now. I am sure there were gazillion more naysayers back in 1999, guess what, its 16 years now.

    Mozilla is not in this for money, and that keeps them going disregard the marketshare, that also keeps people like me using it. There are enough people in this planet willing to sell their principles, their privacy, they support for money, for fame, for brand, for trend, there are also people will understand the importance of an pure non-profit OSS.

    1. JohnMWhite said on March 13, 2015 at 2:14 am

      I don’t think anyone is arguing Mozilla should start changing “for the money”. The point was they should stop randomly doing weird things because they are driving away users. If they’re not doing it ‘for the money’ and they’re not doing it ‘for the brand’ and they’re not doing it for all but the most loyal users, why are they doing anything new to the browser at all?

  10. Clas said on March 10, 2015 at 2:29 pm

    yesterday i got chrome and tried it for the third time. i added a few things and changed some fonts and stuff and its reasonable. i worked with it a few hours and found myself looking for tweaks that i had in firefox and could not get in chrome. i had both browsers up at the same time and found chrome just a tad quicker than my old ff20. when i finally went back to ff20 it was like seeing an old friend. so comfortable. it may be old but it never quits, never seizes up, never saddles me with a virus or problem. its still plenty fast and all the addons i have work with never a problem. i always run sandboxed and dont do stupid things on the net and its always smooth as silk. so i will stay in the past and be comfortable and safe. too many and too fast new versions have not enticed me to move foreward but have convinced me to stay back. when something new and slick and worth getting comes along, maybe then i will give it a try.

  11. Sven said on March 10, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    Should Mozilla be worried? Sure. One can certainly discuss the absolute values but the trend in two independent indicators is pretty obvious. At least they can’t say that everything is perfectly fine.

    “Without access to Mozilla’s own data, it is impossible to come to that conclusion.”

    I doubt that data provided by Mozilla would provide any more insight than the ones by NetMarketShare or Stat Counter. In the past Mozilla referred to browser and blocklist downloads a couple of times but these values are also of limited use since they provide no insight into the actual use of the browser. For example: I know quiet a dew people that use Firefox only as a backup browser or for testing, these surely add to these numbers while these people are not really using Firefox. Also articles about new bug…uhm.. features lead to people just downloading and installing the browser just to see what Mozilla bork… uhm… magically created this time, still these people are not automatically Firefox users while they increase the downloads.

    And finally, never trust any statistics that you cannot manipulate yourself.

  12. joe said on March 10, 2015 at 12:10 pm

    Firefox is cool!

    It must be supported by all. It’s a good alternative to the corps out there. Long may it survive.

    The survival of Firefox is important, else we’ll be suffocated by companies like Google & Apple.

    1. JohnMWhite said on March 13, 2015 at 2:10 am

      That support has to be earned by more than not being Google or Apple, though. It’s not doing anyone any good if the alternative is just making up some Frankenstein of a browser to please itself and to hell with the users seeking an alternative in the first place. That’s me being a little dramatic, of course, but the point remains – if Mozilla want support they have to earn it.

  13. Ben said on March 10, 2015 at 9:39 am

    So pretty much Australis was a bad decision for FF. This is the exact date when the share began to drop significantly.
    I have to agree – several things that changed for the worse that release.
    But still Chrome is no real alternative for FF for advanced users who want to customize their browser or open more than a few tabs. Sadly there are not that many advanced users.
    Chrome has one big advantage for users without any knowledge – it automatically updates Flash (in contrast to the shitty Adobe updater).

  14. neal said on March 10, 2015 at 8:21 am

    Firefox is very competitive from a technical point. However that doesn’t seem to be enough. IE is good enough for most people, and Chrome is very good in its on right. MS has the advantage of default browser in Windows like you said, and Chrome has the full backing of Google. Google is almost unscrupulous on how it piggybacks on freeware software installation installing itself unless you explicitly tell it not to, and its marketing budget is something only Mozilla can dream of.

  15. nari said on March 10, 2015 at 8:05 am

    more user = more power

    no user = no power
    no power = no chance
    no power = no voice

  16. Xibula said on March 10, 2015 at 6:09 am

    The lame and lazy excuse of “ship as the default” again
    is this the nineties, netscape drama??
    don’t blame others for your mistakes

    64bit? you don’t need it
    sandboxing? too ambitious

    WTF, how much do you need it? 1 billion per year to sandboxing the fucking browser??? bcz 300 million was not enough uh

    firefox is like linux now, slow to change, clunky, hard to use, api for addons changing all the time, breaking userspace, buggy ui, outdate extensions in amo in the same way as ubuntu and debian software center

    firefox will reach 1% market share like linux on the desktop, bcz mobile already is

  17. Smoothsuke said on March 10, 2015 at 4:23 am

    Hate to be that guy.. but yeah:

    “Even statistics if a single service are highly problematic as”

    However, statistics of a single service remain highly problematic since

    “needs to analysis to find out why that is”

    needs to analyse to find out why

    “improvements to Firefox that improve the browser for all users noticeably.”

    improvements to Firefox that noticeably improve the browser for all users.

  18. Xi said on March 10, 2015 at 3:16 am

    Hi… I think that everyone who commented on this post forgot about the recent FREAK Attack in which Firefox is the only browser which is not affected[most secure] in all versions compared to Chrome[some versions yet to be patched] and IE[totally affected-workaround is not helpful as it creates more issues].

    Firefox is working with Tor which most people know well. Also, there are more other browsers based on Firefox incl. Pale moon, Pirate Browser, Tor Browser, etc.

    Within few days, Firefox will double or triple their market share if people across the world have brains. Also, I’ve seen many people who trust Firefox rather than Chrome or IE for the past 5-6 years.

    The main reasons behind Chrome’s increase in market share is Google’s addition as an adware/bloatware in most good s/w or tools which s/w users don’t look while installing it. So, Chrome is a cheat here.

    1. Jan said on March 10, 2015 at 7:56 am

      I agree that Chrome use recklessly ways like adware to take some market share chunk ; as well as nagging on However one shouldn’t reduce their progress to these causes.

  19. Lonnie said on March 10, 2015 at 2:44 am

    I have given up on Firefox as they have been deciding like Opera that more advanced users are not their primary target group any-longer. Kicking out customization and handing it over to add-on developers was for sure not the most wise thing to do and is leading to a less security for how long this features are still around.

    Add-Ons can sooner disappear as you may believe and then what? What if no one takes over or the developer gets frustrated and makes with the add-on code a rage quit or similar?

    Anyway, this was just a piece in the long list of Mozilla’s annoyances. DRM plans, ads plans, Yahoo, Net-Neutrality, GamerGate, Brendan Eich, cloning the Chrome UI with Australis, signed add-on plans and so much more…

    Users are frustrated. They want a healthy reasonable and honest browser developer. And this Mozilla is no longer. They just sold out.

    And with this opinion i am not the only one. One person makes perhaps no difference, but tons of users who making others aware of all of this can indeed cut down a giant tree together.

    Mozilla should be worried and choose another path to walk from now on. A path which brings them again more close to the users and for once do what they really want instead of just feeding their share/stockholders with what they want.

    No matter how much money you get for doing what they demand, without users also stock and shareholders lose interest. This is what Mozilla so far has not learned as it seems!

  20. Jan said on March 10, 2015 at 2:26 am

    One should note that NetMarketShare counts unique users, while StatCounter counts hits – a user going 100 time on the same webpage the same day will add 100.
    The IE users tends to use internet less. That explains a great chunk of these differences.
    Then, various weights depending of the websites network of each stat counter site do the other part.

    Nevertheless, ALL stat counting websites report that firefox drop.
    NetMarketShare : 17,68% in february 2014 against 11,60% now. That’s a 34,4% loss.
    Statcounter : 19,24% in february 2014 against 16,53% now. That’s a 14,1% loss (less impressive I agree, not “bleeding”).
    W3Counter report 18,3% to 14,8% a 20% drop

    We’ll see in the next months what happens.

  21. Decent60 said on March 10, 2015 at 1:31 am

    This will probably be a bit of an ignorance on my end but where are they pulling some of these stats from and how?

    I can see NetMarketShare having a bit more accurate stats, simply due to the fact that most non-tech savy people still use IE vs any other ones because they know it connects them to the internet.
    When i do tech support, I do see more people using Chrome vs Firefox but IE is used more than either of them. To be honest, I don’t think they should be worried about IE being an issue rather than Chrome as their main competitor, simply put due to IE being the main browser that is shipped with Windows (but not necessarily the only one tho).

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on March 10, 2015 at 8:30 am

      They gather stats globally. In Germany for instance, Firefox has a big market share.

  22. concerned moron said on March 10, 2015 at 12:41 am

    Mozilla should be concerned. It has stopped listening to the user concerns for a very long time. It has become what IE is and is in danger of being the fat cow in the room (but Chrome is doing a fabulous job in trying to push its bulk onto the fat couch). What it really needs is a lot of spring cleaning and dump a huge list of added ”functionality” and thin it down. Lean athletes last the longest in sport. Some one needs to also look into the visible disconnect between the developers and the users that has appeared in the last couple of years.

    Concentrate on the core engine, code standards and make the essentials the main concern. Adding functionality that does not make sense to the majority of the user base should be stopped. Release them as add-ons. If you intend to change something fundamental to the operation of the browser, announce it and explain your reasons for its implementation clearly with potential benefits/issues. This will make it palatable to the users to embrace the changes. People resist change. That is a characteristic you cannot change. Look what happened to Windows 8. The rapid release cycle doesn’t really work. Release when ready.

  23. Jazzal said on March 9, 2015 at 11:25 pm

    I used to love Firefox, right from the early Phoenix/Firebird days, but ironically when they copied Chromes quick-release schedule, it became less interesting with each release.

    Now and then i try it out, enjoy that i can install a proper UI overhaul theme to give it the look that i want, and then i move on to installing some Add-Ons….

    ….then it STILL asks me to restart Firefox after installing some…really? after all these years we still have to restart the browser, when Chrome never asks this. Then i can go move the Add-On’s icons around in the Toolbar, like you can in Chrome and….nope…you can’t do that either without dropping into the badly designed Customize section.

    Eventually the more i use Firefox, the more it feels like it’s been left behind in a lot of departments and i go back to Chrome, whose days are numbered with me also. Spartan looks very promising indeed so hopefully will be looking to dump bloated Chrome shortly too.

  24. GiddyUpGo said on March 9, 2015 at 11:12 pm

    JohnMWhite March 9, 2015 at 8:10 pm #
    I think Firefox dos not care about their users.
    I could have been writing what JohnMWhite wrote…
    His Quote is how I also feel.
    “I feel pretty much the same. Obviously their job is not to simply cater to me, but as a power user who was pretty loyal to Mozilla from Firefox 2, you’d think that I would be able to find some use or value in their updates since then.
    …… l, but the entire philosophy of Mozilla seems to have slid away from users and into the land of dogmatism. They just don’t seem moved by their own bad PR, and their general apathy toward the feedback from previously loyal supporters has resulted in apathy in return. Firefox isn’t going to vanish tomorrow, but I’m not really sure what its purpose or future will be if it isn’t really for anyone but the whims of its own developers.”

  25. Alex said on March 9, 2015 at 10:10 pm

    When I use Firefox trackers like StatCounter don’t see me, I would imagine that anyone who cares about their privacy and not becoming a statistic is using firefox.

    1. Mitch said on March 10, 2015 at 3:50 pm

      The spread of privacy extensions could potentially explain the entire drop relative to other browsers. While other browsers have options, it is clear Firefox users are more likely to use them.

    2. nonqu said on March 9, 2015 at 11:56 pm

      Is there anything Firefox does on its own about tracking that other browsers don’t do? The do not track me toggle is in every browser. Ghostery is available for Opera too. Same with uBlock and uMatrix blows NoScript out of the water.

  26. Budgie said on March 9, 2015 at 9:49 pm

    Mozilla should reallly be worried as this once fine product has more and more bugs relating to the basic functionality, contains more and more unwanted and highly esoteric functionality which opens up security vectors and a release schedule to test the patience of a saint!

    I am a long time user and a big fan BUT I am now also concerned that the product is becoming more insecure and particularly with respect to Norton’s Internet Security product and the Vault add-on. The Sync functionality still gets twisted up when you have several clients and a mobile. It’s just not good enough and folks will vote with their feet.

    I remember saying to Nokia that it had lost it’s way six or so years ago and had forgotten how to serve its customers. Is it happening again here? I do hope not.

  27. Claude LaFrenière said on March 9, 2015 at 9:24 pm

    I agree with C J Earner about the add-on capability.. I was using Firefox since 2004 and switch to Google Chrome since the version 35…

    Enough is enough! You’re asking: «Should Mozilla be worried?» They don’t care. Mozilla’s guys stay in their bubble. Okay: they just to stay there and smoke what they want. I’m gone as many other old users of Firefox,

  28. CJ Earner said on March 9, 2015 at 8:51 pm

    Firefox’s greatest strength is also it’s greatest weakness. The browser’s add-on capability is what keeps me using it.

    However, the Mozilla dev team is constantly making API changes that break core features of extensions. The onus after that is on the folks who maintain those add-ons. Many of them are hobbyists who don’t get a source of income from their efforts. This means that end-users can’t count on timely fixes for broken extensions.

    I’ve been on both sides of this equation, and it’s frustrating for all parties involved. I generally try to contact the developers directly about bugs, but the general userbase goes insane and lashes out in the add-on’s review section. If I were still maintaining an add-on that an API broke through no fault of my own, I’d consider packing it in after reading some of those remarks.

    The Australis changes as originally proposed had some issues that broke my own personal workflow badly. Initially the developers dug in their heels about -all- user concerns. Because of this reaction on their part, I tried several of the other Firefox forks, myself.

    Granted, the majority of Australis complaints seems to be about cosmetic issues, and I suspect the more substantial concerns were just plain buried under wailing about “curvy tabs”. Fortunately, the mountain of whining subsided enough so that Mozilla had a chance to evaluate those other issues.

    The upshot: Mozilla needs to listen better… but end users need to be more constructive when criticizing. Both of those should reduce defections from user and developer bases.

    1. Karl said on March 9, 2015 at 9:20 pm

      Good points made. I remember when Mozilla opened a Reddit thread in those pre-Australis days. After so many users said, “Stop dummying down the browser!”, Mozilla turned a deaf ear.

  29. Karl said on March 9, 2015 at 7:42 pm

    It is concerning that Mozilla can’t do better on the desktop – considering that, in my opinion, that’s their strongest homebase – Windows, Linux, and MAC. Compared to Android, they have much stronger third-party addon support there to bolster them. And no presence in iOS. Even if they did, I’d still use Atomic browser there for all the built-in features and better GUI (compared to Firefox Android). Let’s face it, Mozilla’s only real competitor is Chrome – neither Google nor Mozilla will probably ever surpass IE as the default “dummy” browser of Windows. I’ve seen enough of these people in real life – clicking on a bunch of blue “e’s” on their desktops, trying to find which bookmark they want! LOL! (Which is one of the things I don’t miss, having gotten out of web consulting!)

  30. kktkkr said on March 9, 2015 at 7:41 pm

    It’s interesting that while you mention how Mozilla has been criticized for adding features to Firefox, they have also gotten a lot of hate for removing features from Firefox. The recently covered reversion of the -remote option in 36.0.1 shows that for many users, Firefox is an important part of their workflow which can break from (what laymen may see as) the smallest of changes. In that sense, they have a similar compatibility problem to what Internet Explorer has been facing for the past decade and beyond, and it’s only going to get worse as Firefox moves to mobile platforms – they are not just a web browser but a multi-purpose customizable tool which happens to work over the Internet.

    So if Firefox is losing users, the obvious thing to blame would be their approach to changing the feature set, adding and removing multiple features per release and expecting the add-on system to solve all their problems. This is going to be an overgeneralization, of course, because the change in user share depends on other browsers too, and it could be that Firefox is just lagging behind the competition, focusing on technically impressive and important features rather than ones that are visible and popular with their user base.

    It is interesting to note that on the graph shown, Firefox had a major drop and Chrome had a huge gain in user share in December, September and June. Is there some seasonal effect going on? Is Firefox somehow making a bad decision every three months? It is really hard to tell from the data.

    1. nonqu said on March 9, 2015 at 11:35 pm

      Like how they removed click-to-play per element. I believe every other browser has that. Same with paste-and-go keyboard shortcut and other little quality of life features that are missing from Firefox and will most likely never be implemented.

  31. Oxa said on March 9, 2015 at 6:32 pm

    Mozilla should be worried. Fewer users = fewer funders interested in supporting them. Personally, I think the user decline is because they lost touch with their base. I can’t think of one single “improvement” they’ve added since 4.0 that I’ve found useful.

    1. nonqu said on March 9, 2015 at 11:32 pm

      I was recently surprised by how good the new opera got. While on itself it pretty mediocre, combined with addons it got close to replacing Firefox for me. There used to be 3 things holding me back – Update Scanner (, OmniSidebar ( and NoScript. Opera’s µMatrix is much better than noscript, I have stopped visiting th pages that don’t do RSS and right now the only thing making me stickwith Firefox is the sidebar.

      But Chrome has announced that they plan to bring support for sidebars in future releases so I may drop Firefox very soon.

    2. JohnMWhite said on March 9, 2015 at 8:10 pm

      I feel pretty much the same. Obviously their job is not to simply cater to me, but as a power user who was pretty loyal to Mozilla from Firefox 2, you’d think that I would be able to find some use or value in their updates since then. I migrated to Pale Moon as soon as Martin mentioned it here and never looked back. It’s not just Australis, though that was a pretty big straw on the back of the proverbial camel, but the entire philosophy of Mozilla seems to have slid away from users and into the land of dogmatism. They just don’t seem moved by their own bad PR, and their general apathy toward the feedback from previously loyal supporters has resulted in apathy in return. Firefox isn’t going to vanish tomorrow, but I’m not really sure what its purpose or future will be if it isn’t really for anyone but the whims of its own developers.

  32. Earl said on March 9, 2015 at 6:28 pm

    Not on my account. I use Firefox (and SeaMonkey for specific tasks — there’s a definite synergy between browser and email client that can be useful at times [and, of course, I extend it to look/work more like Firefox]); I’ve always used Firefox, as well as the Mozilla products which preceded it; I’ll continue to use Firefox as my primary browser. Australis has only improved the “guts” of Firefox. Using just a little CSS, it hardly looks any different on the “outside” for me. It’s still *by far* the best browser around. To those who left off using Firefox while moaning and wailing about “curvy tabs” or “tabs on top” or whatnot, I have only this to say: “buh-bye”.

    1. anon said on March 12, 2015 at 1:17 pm

      lol, say that “buh-bye” enough time and soon it’s FF who’s “buh-bye”-ing you. Stay ignorant.

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