Firefox Slowly Slipping into Oblivion?


Mozilla’s popular Firefox browser’s market share has been gradually diminishing over the past couple of years, and if the latest figures are anything to go by, that downward trend appears to have accelerated alarmingly over the past couple of months.

According to statistics provided by the well respected NetMarketShare, Firefox’s market share hit a five-year low of 15.54% at the end of June 2014, a long way from its peak of 23.75% in 2009.

Here’s a month-by-month breakdown of Firefox’s declining market share since December 2013:

browser trend

A drop in market share of 2.81% over 6 months might not seem all that significant but, putting it in perspective, that equates to a decrease of around 15% in Firefox’s user-base, which does involve substantial numbers.

A number of factors appear to be contributing to Firefox’s declining market share, not the least of which is the growing popularity of its main competitor, Chrome. Plus Mozilla’s apparent failure to deliver on the promise of a lighter and speedier Firefox. It’s ironic that one of Firefox’s most appealing features, the huge numbers and variety of add-ons, also contributes largely to its greatest criticism.


firefox - going downIt’s a lot more difficult to fathom why the downward trend appears to be accelerating of late, I can’t help wondering if Mozilla’s handling of the Brendon Eich fiasco might have exacerbated the situation.

For those not in the know; Brendan Eich is the former Mozilla CEO who was sacked recently after accusations of homophobia. At the time, Mozilla claimed Mr Eich had resigned and was not sacked, but if you believe that then you believe in the tooth fairy. Even if the former CEO did in fact tender a letter of resignation, I’ll almost guarantee that he was “advised” to do so.

The sacking was perceived as grossly unfair in many quarters and created a storm of protest, with many commenters vowing they would never use Firefox again. At the time, I dismissed it as mostly idle talk but perhaps they’ve been good to their word. This all took place in early April, so the timing would certainly suggest so.

Or, maybe Mozilla’s propensity for further minimizing Firefox’s UI (User Interface) with each new version has finally worn thin with users.

Whatever, I doubt Firefox is heading the way of its predecessor Netscape just yet, but these latest figures should definitely be ringing alarm bells in the Mozilla camp. If Firefox is to remain a power among web browsers, Mozilla needs to act, and it needs to act now.


Why do you think Firefox’s popularity might be waning?

 

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About the Author

Jim Hillier

Jim is the resident freeware aficionado at DCT. A computer veteran with 30+ years experience who first started writing about computers and tech back in the days when freeware was actually free. His first computer was a TRS-80 in the 1980s, he progressed through the Commodore series of computers before moving to PCs in the 1990s. Now retired (aka an old geezer), Jim retains his passion for all things tech and still enjoys building and repairing computers for a select clientele... as well as writing for DCT, of course.

40 Comments

  1. The problem is that Firefox has outright said they have no intentions to make a 64 bit browser, I have had a Firefox employee come right out and tell me that Firefox x32 runs “good enough” on a 64 bit system which is a crock, everyone knows that a 32 bit browser cannot and will not use the full resources of a 64 bit system ….. it crashes before it even comes close.
    If Firefox would build a full fledged 64 bit browser instead of just the nightly builds they would have better luck, but if they keep snubbing their noses at 64 bit they will most certainly fall to the way side. Besides, we are not too far from 128 bit systems ….. what will they do then?

    • I am running Windows 7 Ultimate on a 64 bit desktop with no problems. Granted it’s slower than Chrome and probably not as secure but it has far greater flexibility than Chrome. Of course I use both. If I absolutely had no choice and had to come down to one of them it would be Google, but Firefox, lets me use tools like StartPage HTTPS that are almost impossible to get on Chrome.

  2. I use Mozilla in a couple of older machines I have. Would hate to see it go because I prefer it over Chrome, even though Chrome may be faster.

  3. What amazes me is the number of people who have never looked at Firefox or Chrome. Both of these browsers are, hands down, superior to Internet Explorer. A little advertising on the part of Mozilla and Google might go a long way to booth users for both browsers. BTW, I am a fan of both Firefox or Chrome and use both daily. I am also a fan of some other Mozilla products that are also superior, in my opinion, to what Microsoft pushes.

  4. I’m using Firefox on both 32 and 64 bit computers. I’ve also hated seeing some of my addons not working with the newer versions. Other than my love of some addons, I might have to abandon ship as well, Mindblower!

    • Just tried to install Chrome. For the installation to complete, I was asked for user name and password to synchronize with other devices. All I wanted was a browser, not to give blood. I have no accounts with chrome of goggle, nor do I wish any. If this is the future, we’re in deep s*it, Mindblower!

      • I hear you mate 100% on both the add-ons and giving up a gallon of blood”! I use Yahoo for my e-mail and get bugged by them asking for a “mobile” number as a second security check. I don’t have a mobile – no option to tell them that. That new CEO has the head stuffed somewhere! I also have a “hotmail ID” and when I use that on rare occasion, it tells me that my Firefox browser (lastest release) is NOT the latest release – of course, such nonsense is to be expected of Microsoft! And all this crapola are fleas on the tip of the iceburg! Hate seeing “log in with your Facebook, Youtube, etc. ID” – as if the whole world revolved around those sites. It seems like this “one size fits all” mentality is out of control!

      • I congratulate you for not allowing yourself to get sucked into the “Info Gathering” clan of Google. LIke you, I avoid using any of the “bloodsuckers”, especially social media sites.

  5. If I am in my windows machine I will use IE unless I am playing with one of my old XP machines, then I use Firefox, I do use the Thunderbird Mail Client from Mozilla in all my machines. Daniel.

  6. SWWare Iron and Duck Duck Go were recommended several years ago, non-intrusive into individual’s privacy and simplicity plus browsers.

  7. The problem with Firefox is that it has a serious problem with memory leakage

  8. The Brandon Eich situation most definitely had much influence on the decline . I,for one ,quit using Firefox,because of the “witch hunt” perpetrated by LG
    blackmailers.

  9. “I can’t help wondering if Mozilla’s handling of the Brendon Eich fiasco might have exacerbated the situation.”

    I am telling you categorically that this is the case as the predominate reason for the recently aggressive spike downward. The Liberal loons with their reflexive tendency towards fascist-behavior across the board is their Achilles Heel towards maintaining support and credibility and will remain a fatal flaw for all of these folks who seek broad-based support, whether by customers and/or constituencies…

    …now, I can hardly contain my glee for when Yahoo’s death spiral soon presents itself and inevitably suffers the same fate for the same reasons as well.

    • I agree with you , bnjohanson, with the LBGT influence in this just because he has a traditional view of lifestyles and orientations. I have the same traditional viewpoint and yours about this was a takedown of Eich to prove that the minority can and will use any tactic necessary to get their way. I know this is the driving factor I have been weaning myself and my machines off from Mozilla products. I have always been a fanby of their work until they ostracized Brendan Eich for making a contribution to CA Prop. 8

  10. The reason I prefer Chrome over Firefox is because when you right click and select Print, Chrome allows you to create custom margins so you can cut off any irrelevant parts of the webpage you wish to print.

    • In IE, you have the option of printing just the selected portion of the web page. Just select what you want to print, then use print preview and used dropdown to print “As selected on screen”. I’ve found no way to do this in any other browser.

  11. Have used FF for years and prefer it over IE & Chrome although have not tried Chrome in 5+ years. Use FF on two 64 bit laptops Win 7 and Win 8 with never a problem. Have to say though, that I am not a “power user” by any stretch. I really hope that FF does not sink to oblivion as it has served me well over the years. Have not, and will not use IE, too open to vulnerabilities and too bloated. Just my 5 cents worth, as we no longer have pennies here in Canada.

  12. Firefox has become extra frustrating in the past year or so with frequent (sometimes insignificant) “updating”, rendering many extensions and add-ons unusable. I appreciated the need for earlier frequent revisions to eliminate security problems, but it became a nuisance when updates are obviously issued simply to keep pace with Google Chrome’s. Several of my favorite extensions no longer work with the current Firefox, and it appears the authors have given up trying to keep up (I imagine this is frustrating for them, also). I’ve been a Firefox devotee since its inception, but seriously considering converting to something else.

    • I turned off automatic update and reinstalled firefox 29 because of non support for add-ons. If I am forced to update, I will just remove firefox and use chrome.

      • Wow Rick you went back to 29!!! To be honest I went to 26 when it came out but then I went back to 25.
        As somebody has already said FF now release new updates too frequently and add-ons now longer work.
        I have two add-ons, one won’t work past version 25 and the other past version 27 (the reason I’ve stuck to version 25).
        It costs time and money making add-ons. For the makers it’s frustrating to see that FF releases a new version only for them to find that their add-on doesn’t work anymore!! I contacted the makers of my two and one replied saying this was the reason it is not supported above 25. They also said that other makers are also stopping their support.
        In the last year FF has been updated 9 times. Of course there were many more Betas but I haven’t counted these as they weren’t general release versions.
        OK that’s my say anyway. I do have the latest version on my old desktop but I don’t like it. Maybe I’m too used to having the things in one place while they have moved and changed a lot of things around.

  13. I used to be an ardent user of FF but got frustrated flash player stopped woking nd I would have to download it every day. I got tired of it and went to Chrome.

  14. The problem with Firefox is that it has a serious problem with memory leakage. I agree with this statement. When I first open Firefox it uses about 150,000K of memory which used to stay about the same. In the last few months this keeps increasing after I browse a few sites. After it reaches 1,500,000K of memory the speed decreases or I get a lot of “not responding”. At that point Firefox either crashes or I have to close it and reopen it to clear the memory usage. There are many complaints about this on their web site but I have never them address the problem.

    • I wandered what you called that! The latest upgrade completely altered the user window and nothing is where it used to be. It is slower and there is a huge lag between typing and a response. I even started browsing on my iPad, shich is no where near as fast but in FF it is SLOW!

  15. Are these data contain the market segments of other browsers running based on Firefox engine?
    Some example: Cometbird, COMODO IceDragon, Wyzo, Alienforce, etc.

  16. FF does not seem to be a real problem in itself. The “plug in container” is my big problem as it seems to vary memory leakage from version to version. As for the add-ons, well that is a problem that the individual developers have to cope with as versions change. Too hard to be ‘generic’ with those, especially where security is concerned.
    Unlike the IE add ons.

  17. I do not use FF because of all the ram it hogs up. 25 exes in my task manager. Really? I use Opera browser. Very happy with it. I also use cometbird which has the basecode of FF but doesn’t hog my resources like FF. Can use all the add-ons of FF. I just do not like FF. I went with Opera because it is not associated with chrome or FF. Ande I like my privacy. I do not have to sync with anything or add info I do not want to share just to log in. I also use a mail client so I do not have to use a browser at all to read my mail.

  18. I agree that something seems recently amiss with FF. It has become less stable, and I frequently get “time-out” or “reset” messages that don’t happen with IE. I don’t relish using Chrome, but will likely give up on FF soon.

  19. I stopped using ALL products from Mozilla when they decided that they wanted to jump on the politically correct bandwagon and fired their CEO for having the morals to stand up for what he believes in. The company has been dead to me and a lot of my family and friends ever since, and we no longer use any of their products because of it. Haven’t really missed them one bit either. Life’s actually better without them. 🙂

  20. As soon as I saw the article, I immediately guessed it may have been the homophobia firing of Mr. Eich as people were pretty PO’d over the politics of it.

  21. Just one thing about memory. When using Chrome open taskmanager you will see 3 chrome running. Now add the memory of these 3 and you get the same amount firefox uses.
    I still use firefox but not too happy about it lately.

  22. I am fed up with all of the “pop-ups” and ads allowed to get passed their firewall and expected to be managed at the users level. If they want my continued business and favor, Firefox needs to step up to the plate and manage the site first themselves, and not push it down stream to the user who is using their product.

  23. I am having problems with Firefox “not responding” multiple times each day. Sometimes it resets quickly, but about half the time, I must control/alt/delete and then restart it. This was the reason I moved from IE to Firefox. Reports indicate about half the problem is Firefox and half is the plug-in container.

  24. Why in the world would Mozilla refuse to produce a 64-bit browser. They could easily do so. In fact it has been done by the Pale Moon Project, which has simplified Firefox a bit, compiled it for modern processors so it runs faster and also did it in 64-bits! It runs really well, showing that Mozilla is only acting out of orneriness and refusal to progress because………who knows? That’s what opened up the browser wars when IE was allowed to fossilize for so long.

    I wish the best for Firefox. We need three healthy browsers fighting for blood to keep fossilization from setting in again. Looks like Chrome is carrying the ball right now. Firefox sure seems to think that by trying to look like Chrome. I use both browsers but predominately Firefox. If they continue to drag their feet on 64-bit I’ll load up Pale Moon again. It was pretty impressive.

    • Personally Steve, I don’t find the latest versions of PaleMoon are any faster than Firefox. In fact, maybe even slower. I use Pale Moon on my laptop and it is frustratingly slow, to the point where I’ve been seriously considering going back to Firefox.

      That said, I have no idea why Mozilla steadfastly refuses to go 64-bit, doesn’t make a lot of sense.

      Cheers… Jim