Firefox market share declines

Greetings fellow Mozillians,

We are watching for long time Firefox losing the ground under the feet. May is in my opinion where red light should be turned on, -0.40%from April! This is huge. What worries me is that no one from UX team didn’t predicted that, or at least product managers didn’t listened to them. Awful and noobish mistakes are made. Even more worrying is that our solution for losing market share is FoxYeah and Firefox Friends initiatives.

So what mistakes are made? Without any metrics for sure I can say that for this huge decline are guilty new tab page, sync, hello, and pocket. Where new tab page and sync are only indirectly to blame, hello and pocket are both indirectly and directly to blame. Indirectly they are guilt because when they came users were bombed with guided tours. Where in the world user wants to read some guide, even better to be forced to read it… to click arrows or “X” to shut it. I can see average users cursing “what the f* is this s*”. Guided tours are most to blame, like 90%. Now about bundling hello and pocket. Don’t get me wrong they are great extensions but they are not essential stuff for browser. Firefox is already seen as your gran-ma browser because one trivial thing, search box. Users perceives modern browser browser with 2-3 buttons and big url bar - a la Chrome. Now lets add two more buttons and smoke IE6 toolbars.

Users want non intrusive browser experience, url bar and/or search field on the page, no guides no bloatware bundles. They know how to type, that’s what they ask from browser - to enter the queries. In the time where I would suggest to divide developer tools into add-on and unbound them from browser installation Firefox is playing Opera 12.



Where exactly does -0.4% percent compared to April come from? Do you have a link for that?


  • Statcounter is not the only one source of truth.
  • Firefox Hello is not and extension, it’s a UI for webrtc a web standard.
  • Guided tours when new features are added have demonstrated a lot of value for users to understand them and how to use or disable. Also it’s usually something super quick (10 seconds to read) and can be dismissed.


  • You disagree that Firefox is declining? And yes we know, for example NMS keeps Firefox at 11.8%, by Statcounter it is at 16.40%.
  • O yeah? Okay lets put another guide that explains to user how Hello is not an extension but UI for WebRTC.
  • Nice theory, super wrong in practice.

We have been declining for some time but we are steady and regaining momentum for some months now.

Why? UX team have been driving studies around this for some time before making a decision.

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You wished to say stayed at some percentage not regaining it? Until users got bombed with guides and super shiny features…

It’s hard for me to believe that any serious UX designer sad - “Hey lets dim user screen on start up and flood him with comic balloons.”, and even more that testings showed that users like it.

If you don’t trust me go check old Opera blogs posts from version ~9 to ~12 and how this led them to I’d say death.

I understand that your opinion is that the changes are bad, but it’s a fact that since the new UI was implemented (Australis) we have been able to turn around the decreasing trend, so I guess that all these changes were good and we are in the right direction :slight_smile:

Does that mean we are perfect or we can’t improve?

No, I think we should keep working in differentiating Firefox from what other browsers offer, specially in fields we can experiment as a non-profit mission-driven organization that the rest of the for-profit competitors won’t be able to do.

We build a product for the users, they build a product for their stakeholders.

Australis is great and I agree that Firefox stabilized after. But now we are again decreasing. Can you agree with me that more important for users is to modernize bookmarks, to modernize add-on page page and re-engage add-on community with new fresh look, new presentation of top and really good add-ons… something that aligns with new settings design than bloating browser with not essential features?

I bet we can’t drop search box because that is our main way to sustain but we can merge it visually with url box, dived it with just one horizontal line and come close to something that users expect.

Looks like users like them more, that’s the puzzle we have to solve. Generally speaking solution is simple and light browser with super quality extensibility.

You rushed to judge me that I don’t like changes, it is absolutely opposite. :slight_smile: But stuff I mentioned before is change in bad direction. “Change is only constant” but if it is something big as Mozilla’s mission you need to measure 100x before you make a change.

Sorry I understood that you didn’t like these new features.

We compete in a very aggressive and agile environment, I agree it’s good to measure but we need to move in a fast way testing our hypothesis and adapting to the things that work. We can’t just sit down to think for a long time as we used to do when there was no competition, we need to adapt to a new (and hard) rhythm in order to succeed, and obviously we are going to find fails and successes in our way.

@nukeador Exactly that is what we have to do. To have a vision, to have a focus, not to play catch up with others. I’ve posted on Yammer recently - even in visual design Mozilla follows trends big companies are dictating. It should not be so.

Another drop.

It’s obviously a trend. When will we wake up? What is the threshold?

Yeah, this down trend worries me. I’m an early adopter, pre Firefox at version 0.7 on Linux IIRC and still a big fan but I think one fundamental idea needs to change.

The non-profit culture is causing the demise. I keep hearing that Mozilla has the smallest team and that it’s difficult to compete with large for profit corporations. No shit Sherlock. Profit is good and ethical. Profit is a democracy where people vote with their hard earned money, something you want to participate in for numerous reasons.

Here are two ideas.

First, use Kickstarter. I would like to see support CSS Grid Layout and would be ready to donate for that feature alone. Even if it’s not funded, you can gauge the demand.

Second, learn from Chrome’s success. Most people installed Chrome because it was the fastest or at least felt like the fastest browser. You might not want to participate in this speed game but unfortunately, it’s the killer feature for most users. They want a fast, secure, compliant browser, and in that order. I’m not sure Hello is inline with that and I don’t think it will help Firefox regain any market share. I don’t know anyone who would ever install Firefox just for Hello but I know dozens who would switch to Firefox if it was the fastest, most secure and compliant browser.


You speak as if you think no-one in Mozilla pays any attention to the various different reports of market share numbers, or perhaps that they are aware of them but have decided to take no action. Do you really think that’s true?

Agree. Bet millions would give few dollars if we promise them privacy and security. Just name them Google and Microsoft.

Rich: Mozilla has the smallest team not because it has a “non-profit culture”, but because it has fewer resources. If you can think of a way of, say, doubling our income, we could hire some more people. I’m sure the business development team would be happy to hear your ideas!

No-one in Mozilla has a “yeah, whatever” attitude to our revenue numbers. Quite the opposite, in fact. It’s a point of constant focus.

I named fundamental UX mistakes that were made. And I named actions taken, actions that are also bad. So what do we do next?

Mozilla has fewer resources because it’s non-profit. Non-profit certainly doesn’t mean a laisser faire attitude. In fact, I would argue the opposite. A non-profit organization ironically needs to focus more on creative ways to generate revenue because of this self imposed non-profit restriction. Why are you making it difficult for yourselves?

You have 500 million users. If you collected $2 average from each user/year, you would more than quadruple your income from about 300M to 1.3B. Like I said, crowd fund it. Do a Kickstarter and get the community involved that way. Take a card from the most successful Kickstarter game campaigns. Come up with a killer feature, set a funding target and let the crowd decide. It’s low risk with massive potential. Don’t dismiss the power of crowd funding and do it while you still have half a billion users.