Mozilla announced in December 2015 that it will discontinue the development of its Firefox OS. On Feb 4, the tech company announced the schedule of when it plans to finally pull the plug on its mobile operating platform.
Mozilla Participation Lab team leader George Roter said in a statement posted on Mozilla’s website, “Through the work of hundreds of contributors we made an awesome push and created an impressive platform in Firefox OS. However, as we announced in December, the circumstances of multiple established operating systems and app ecosystems meant that we were playing catch-up, and the conditions were not there for Mozilla to win on commercial smartphones.”
Mozilla added that by closing down the project devoted to its mobile operating system, the company can free up much needed resources and use on more pressing platforms. Mozilla has indicated that it plans to focus more in developing an operating system for connected devices, a new segment of the market called the Internet of Things (IoT).
The Firefox OS will finally be shut down on March 29. By shutting down this platform, Mozilla will cease accepting submissions of entries into its app store for apps that run in Firefox for Android as well as the desktop version of the browser.
By March 29, only apps for Firefox OS on smartphones will be retained on Mozilla’s app store. Mozilla is also closing the store’s payment system. This means that developers will have to find another payment provider or instead release their apps for free.
Mozilla is yet to unveil the company’s official plan now that it has shifted its focus towards IoT. Roter said that it is planning to open a new line of development for volunteers who wants to work with Firefox.
Why it matters
Not that Google or Apple are up to anything nefarious, but history is full of examples of big companies abusing their powers, including Microsoft, IBM and the old Ma Bell version of AT&T. You already see heavy-handed behavior with your phone. Don’t like Apple Maps on iOS? Tough luck. It’s the default.
When the first Firefox OS phones arrived two and a half years ago, Mozilla hoped to repeat its success from a decade earlier when the Firefox browser successfully challenged Microsoft’s dominant Internet Explorer and sparked a tremendous burst of innovation and competition. Instead, Firefox OS was bunched with mobile software also-rans like BlackBerry, Canonical’s Ubuntu and Microsoft’s Windows Phone.
“The circumstances of multiple established operating systems and app ecosystems meant that we were playing catch-up,” John Bernard, director of collaboration for connected devices, and George Roter, head of core contributor participation, said Thursday in a note.