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Mozilla shelves Metro version of Firefox due to lack of interest

17 Mar 2014
Firefox for Windows 8 Touch Beta

Mozilla has put on hold the Metro version of Firefox for Microsoft's Windows 8 platform, after it found that no more than 1,000 users at a time were running the beta release of Firefox for Windows 8 in the Metro environment.

The open-source software foundation revealed the news on the Mozilla blog, and said that it needs to focus its development efforts where they can have the greatest effect. The move comes just six weeks or so after the beta of Firefox for Windows 8 with touch-screen support was released to testers.

Johnathan Nightingale, vice president of Firefox at Mozilla, revealed that he had asked the engineering lead and release managers to "take the Windows Metro version of Firefox off the trains".

Nightingale said that Mozilla had been carefully monitoring adoption of the test releases of Firefox on Windows 8, and that the number of users running in the Metro environment simply did not warrant continued efforts in that area.

"From what we can see, it's pretty flat. On any given day we have, for instance, millions of people testing pre-release versions of Firefox desktop, but we've never seen more than 1,000 active daily users in the Metro environment," he said.

The move could be seen as a blow to Microsoft, as Mozilla is a very prominent application developer for Windows. Its decision to halt development on the Metro environment highlights the paucity of useful third party applications for it.

However, it also removes competition for Microsoft's own Internet Explorer browser, which is pre-installed on all Windows 8 devices.

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Daniel Robinson

Daniel Robinson is technology editor at V3, and has been working as a technology journalist for over two decades. Dan has served on a number of publications including PC Direct and enterprise news publication IT Week. Areas of coverage include desktops, laptops, smartphones, enterprise mobility, storage, networks, servers, microprocessors, virtualisation and cloud computing.

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