NetMarketshare released their latest Browser market share analysis. It looks bad for Firefox, really bad – but what are the reasons?
Firefox had a market share of 12.63% in June 2017 according to Netmarketshare and even managed to rise above the 13% mark in 2017 before its share fell to 9.92% in May 2018.
- Several users seem to be not happy with Quantum release of Firefox and several developers are mad because they got forced to switch to WebExtension API
- Firefox tries to imitate Google
- More focus on Marketing than actually new changes which are unique
- Integration like Pocket, Mr. Robot, and other gimmicks might upset several users
Mozilla has yet to earn back the trust and goodwill it’s lost over the past couple of years.
I’d say more damaging was the complete failure on the quantum-release. They removed substantial features, without warning the normal users, nor giving them a chance to opt out. Additionally, the alternative is not there yet. WebExtensions are still busy building up APIs for the most important features from the lost XUL. While at the same time the existing extensions are brand new and bugged as hell. And to top it, because of other bugs, users can’t easily go back to older safer versions, they need to stay with the unsafe v56.
So for the majority of users what they got is, losing nearly everything while getting no useful replacement. And then Mozilla tops it with untrustable behavior. And the worst thing, Quantum is not even faster and wastes more memory (compared to the previous release). So it failed on the single point which they claimed the whole stress is done for. Though, this is only case by case, sometimes just a transition-problem or bug. But as enough people complain about, the crowd’s image of the situation gets diluted.
All in all, classical fail. One would think projects would learn from other projects mistakes. Because this is not the first one doing such shit.
Questionable anti-fingerprinting marketing strategies
Mozilla sees that they get some more attention with so-called anti-fingerprint options but it’s questionable if there really help especially because the usual user might ignore those settings and leave everything to the defaults. It’s also unclear if these tricks really help to fight against metadata in common which is not proven since there was no security audit. Years before several Tor anti-fingerprinting techniques didn’t help either because they were buggy or not functionally.
There seems also to be a marketing hype that Firefox is ‘secure’ what Mozilla won’t tell anyone that this is just their claim without giving any proof, there is is no audit and everyone can basically claim the same here. The yearly Pwn2Own conference mostly shows that Firefox is not more secure than Edge or Chrome.
Market share and browser activity are 2 very different things!
Those reports don’t prove anything. According to Mozilla, 40% of Firefox users do not have add-ons installed on their browser, which means that 60% do. And what is the most popular extension? Right. Adblock Plus with 11,000,000 users. What is the second most used extension? Right. Ublock Origin. Which has EasyPrivacy list enabled by default. Add to that, that since Firefox 42, Firefox uses Tracking Protection list by Disconnect in incognito by default, and this lists for a majority of Firefox users not being accounted by any tracking scripts.
I see this like Browser Benchmarks, they can’t be taken seriously and there is a difference between real-world and average usage in the wild.
The Firefox community is great all what Mozilla have to do is listening, but they are not listening enough it seems. There topics which are opened for years and most of them are still unresolved, instead, Marketing seems to be the new thing. Which is, in my opinion, a waste of money, you won’t gain trust by repeatedly advertising something as secure without any evidence and then come with something like the Mr. Robot story, this is exactly the opposite. In my opinion Mozilla should exactly do what people want, no pre-installed extensions should be bundled within the Browser, remove the telemetry and only include it into their ‘study’ builds or developer builds and focus on unique features, the muting sound option per-tab was a great idea and that really was something useful for your daily browsing habits.
I think lots of damage are already done by Mozilla itself, gaining the trust back is very hard and other Browsers getting better and better too, Edge just works, maybe not the same way like Chrome or Firefox but the average user simply can quickly surf the web (and yes it does come with the ability to install uBlock!).
Is this the end of Firefox?
Nope, I guess the community will talk about the latest market share now and Mozilla need to analyze the comments and change the strategy once more. It’s not enough to release bugfix releases and try to deal with the ‘broken’ features Quantum initial released but they need to take care more about their existent crowd and work with them strongly together.
I wish Mozilla all the luck they need and of course, I will watch every step they do closely.
So now you, what do you think about the current results?