4 Ways Mozilla Could Fix Its Problem With Firefox

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Mozilla has hit rock bottom market share and appears to be heading for irrelevance. Jack Wallen has some ideas on how Mozilla might solve this problem.

Image: Mozilla

Mozilla has a problem with Firefox.

The open source app is one of the best browsers out there, but its market share has been falling for years. To date, Firefox has only 3.66% of the web browser market share. If I had to guess, the majority of these users are on Linux.

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That number alone should tell you how struggling Firefox is. We are talking about “Danger, Will Robinson” level issues. It’s hard to bounce back on a 3% market share. So, with Firefox so dangerously close to total uselessness, what can Mozilla do to recover?

I have a few suggestions. Four, to be exact.

Let’s dive in.

1. Improve workspaces

It might surprise you, but I think if Firefox finally got a feel for tab management, they might attract new users. Opera and Safari took the lead in this space, and you’d be hard pressed to find a better solution than Opera’s workspaces or Safari’s tab groups.

What does Firefox have? A few addons that are honestly more of a problem than they are worth. None of Firefox’s tab management add-ons come close to what Opera and Safari have to offer.

It is a problem. Why? Because with each passing day, more and more people have to use more and more tabs in a running browser window. I constantly have so many tabs open in Firefox that it becomes quite difficult to use. If I was in Opera or Safari, that wouldn’t be a problem.

To that end, Firefox developers need to seriously consider how these two browsers handle tab management and do something similar.

2. A regular release schedule

It is a real problem that must be resolved as quickly as possible. At the moment, Firefox’s release schedule is chaotic. There is absolutely no consistency. Instead of taking this haphazard approach, developers should create a regular release schedule that users can rely on and know that in X months a new browser version will be available. And once they’ve developed that timeline, stick to it.

While Linux distributions (which are exponentially more complex than a web browser) can stick to a regular release schedule, so can a web browser.

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I would say there should be monthly vulnerability fixes (because that’s crucial) and maybe quarterly minor releases (for various bug fixes and minor feature additions) and semi-annual (or annual) major releases. . It would also make it easier for people like me to cover the browser exponentially. As it stands, I have to hope I won’t miss the next release notification.

A regular release schedule would make it easier for users to trust the browser and developers to constantly work to improve the app.

3. Stay slim

Firefox has a habit of being bloated to the point of becoming unusable. Right now, the browser seems light, so it performs very well. But the diagram is clear:

  • Firefox is getting skinny.
  • Firefox is starting to swell.
  • Firefox is getting too bloated.
  • Users are complaining.
  • Firefox is getting skinny.

Rinse, wash, repeat. Firefox cannot afford another iteration of this model. In fact, I would go so far as to say that if the browser starts to get oversized and slow again, that will be the end of it.

Mozilla needs to ensure that Firefox remains balanced, fast, and free from bloat. End of the story.

4. Marketing, marketing, marketing

Like many open source, Mozilla doesn’t know how to market Firefox. I understand you can’t market without a budget, but if you don’t market, no one knows your product. Once upon a time, marketing a web browser was not necessary. Less than 4% market share is a clear indicator that the time is long past. And creating new services like Firefox Relay or a VPN is not going to help the cause. Of course, these shiny new things might help the Mozilla company (although I doubt it), they will do absolutely nothing for the web browser.

Mozilla must develop a serious advertising campaign for the browser which has been its bread and butter for years. And this campaign must show the public that Firefox can do what Chrome can do, without tracking or using its data. Chrome is the most used browser on the planet and it is not only constantly under attack, but it also tracks user data more than any other browser. Opposing this is a major selling point that Firefox could use to its advantage. It’s almost as if Google is happy to hand this chip over to every other browser on the market, and Mozilla should take advantage of it immediately.

Conclusion

If Mozilla doesn’t do something soon, Firefox will become useless. I would hate for that to happen, because (aside from the mismanagement of tabs) the browser has become one of the best options available. And while it may seem like a monumental task to undertake, Mozilla can turn the tide. Fix tab handling, hit a steady release cycle, keep the browser light, and let people know why Firefox is better than the competition, and Mozilla could turn the boat around before it sinks.

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