Mozilla Makes Plans not to be Left Behind

Battling a steady decline in usage, Mozilla is gearing up to make Firefox a native Windows 8 Metro application. Firefox’s dropping market share leveled out over the last few months, only to find itself in a dead heat with Google’s Chrome browser.

Firefox had become a popular replacement for those who could no longer stand Internet Explorer’s (IEs) idiosyncrasies. But Chrome’s streamlined, fast loading and browsing features quickly became a favorite and surpassed Firefox in global market share in November 2011. In the US, less than one percentage point separated the two browsers for market share in January 2012.

Browser Market Share

So recently Mozilla announced the Firefox for Metro project with an estimated release date somewhere in the second half of 2012. This move is clearly designed to help Firefox hold ground in the desktop market, and perhaps the Windows 8 mobile market.

Mozilla’s previous attempts at mobile versions have not been successful – though not because of Firefox. Nokia’s abandoned Meego, and the lackluster Windows mobile hardly allowed them to capture any mobile market. There’s no chance you’ll see Firefox on Apple devices either. The coding requirements just aren’t compatible with iOS (though they do offer an app for synchronizing your browsing session while on the go).

Android’s open policy towards browsers means Firefox has a chance on the fastest growing mobile platform in the world. But then there’s Chrome.

Google just released the beta version of Chrome in the Android Market. Right now neither Firefox nor Chrome command any significant mobile market share (Safari ranks number one on mobile/tablet OSs).

Will a quickly rolled out Metro Firefox browser help solidify Firefox in the battle for desktop browsers, and give it enough momentum to fight for the mobile market?

If Windows 8 mobile takes off as many analysts think it might, and applications are portable between mobile and desktop versions, Firefox may be the browser to have in the coming year. But if anything is certain, it is that nothing is certain about the future of the mobile market – or Windows 8.

Do you think the browser wars will continue? Will IE ever be taken down by the upstart Chrome or revived Firefox? Let us know what you think in the comments.