Mozilla has announced that it will kill off the Firefox browser for Windows 8’s tiled ‘Metro*’ interface because it was seeing less than 1000 people a day using the beta version of the app when compared to the millions of users who use the pre-release versions of its desktop browsers each day.
The vice president of Firefox, Johnathan Nightingale, said that this left only two options to the company, either release the current version of Metro Firefox into the world with a dangerously low level of real-world testing that would result in a wave of negative publicity for the company as more and more bugs and errors would be discovered by users who were expecting a completely functional product but instead would be confronted with what essentially amounted to a beta.
Mozilla of course decided that instead of having a project that would result in “significant investment and low impact” that it would go for option two by mothballing the Metro Firefox project. The Metro project is just being shelved and could be started up should the need arise in the future with an online repository housing the code for those who are still interested in using it.
The move to kill an app for the new Windows interface by one of the most prominent software developers in the world shows one of the biggest problems with the Metro interface of Windows 8, the fact that many users simply cannot get to grips with the loss of the traditional start button and the desktop. Microsoft has already announced even more changes to Windows 8.1 that are aimed at improving the experience for non-touch screen users which should see the light of day shortly after the company’s annual Build conference in April.
*While Microsoft no longer calls the tiled interface of Windows 8 the ‘Metro’ interface most of us, including the folks at Mozilla, still do.