Firefox 28 will be released tomorrow, but the first non-beta version of Firefox 1.0 for Windows Modern UI will not come with it.
Mozilla is stopping development on Firefox for Windows 8 indefinitely due to a lack of users, Mozilla VP of Firefox Johnathan Nightingale explained in a blog post. Mozilla has been working on a Modern UI version of Firefox since February 2012, and it released the final beta this February ahead of the planned March release.
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Despite Microsoft announcing in February that it had sold 200 million Windows 8 licenses, Mozilla never observed more than 1,000 daily users in the Firefox “Metro” beta. The beta was developed for Windows 8’s x86 chip-based architecture. Mozilla never developed a version for the ARM-based Windows RT.
“The team is solid and did good work, but shipping a 1.0 version, given the broader context we see for the Metro platform, would be a mistake,” Nightingale wrote. “As the team built and tested and refined the product, we’ve been watching Metro’s adoption. From what we can see, it’s pretty flat.”
The Firefox code developed for Windows 8 will remain available, but Mozilla decided the investment in the platform was not worth the cost. Rather than shipping version 1.0 and spending time and resources fixing bugs in engineering, design and QA, the company is cutting its losses.
“If we release a product, we maintain it through end of life,” Nightingale wrote. “When I talk about the need to pick our battles, this feels like a bad one to pick: significant investment and low impact.”