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Firefox Cellphones Mozilla Operating Systems

Mozilla Will Stop Developing and Selling Firefox OS Smartphones (techcrunch.com) 174

An anonymous reader writes: Mozilla announced today at its developer event in Orlando that the company is ending its smartphone experiment. Mozilla will stop developing and selling Firefox OS smartphones. Ari Jaaksi, Mozilla's SVP of Connected Devices, said, "We are proud of the benefits Firefox OS added to the Web platform and will continue to experiment with the user experience across connected devices." However, he added that it didn't end up providing a great user experience, so they decided to move their efforts elsewhere within the "connected devices" ecosystem. The TechCrunch article notes, "Mozilla has been on a streamlining track lately. Last week it announced that it would be looking for alternative homes for its Thunderbird email and chat client. The aim is for the company to focus more on its strongest and core products and reputation."
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Mozilla Will Stop Developing and Selling Firefox OS Smartphones

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  • No wonder Mozilla is losing money.
    • They should have sold out to / merged with Yahoo before Yahoo ended up going down the tubes.
      • Nah, yahoo is just trash. Always has been. Even in the old days of the interweb when they were considered so awesome, I still never used their service, and I'm not sure what the appeal ever was (their "search" often meant sifting through topics as they tried to catalogue the web, and their home page was so full of ads and graphics and shit that it was annoying to visit on a 28.8k modem.)

        To be honest, I think Mozilla is doing really well with their Android browser. Unlike other mobile browsers, you get addon

        • by KGIII ( 973947 )

          I made a killing on Yahoo! just recently. Almost exactly a year ago, I don't have the date handy, I dumped some shares (like 1800) that I bought for far less than what I paid. I don't know as I'd call them trash, they seem to be doing just fine. You might not like them and, indeed, I don't use a single service they offer nor do I even have their site in my browser's history or bookmarks but that's not an indication that they're trash.

          You never used their services but feel compelled to tell us how it worked

          • Oh, wait, you wanted to feel smug and trendy. Never mind then.

            No. "Never used" in the context I'm using idiomatically, and means I tried it briefly, and never used it on routine basis. Instead I relied on services like AltaVista. Which you understood that but wanted to be anal retentive about the literal meaning of my words.

            I used their email and chat. I just don't any more because I've migrated away from those things and found alternatives. I'd still not call them trash.

            Yahoo's market cap is LESS than their combined assets. Think about that for a minute. That means that their services are so bad, that they're valued at less than zero. An example of another company valued less than their combined assets is Sprint.

            • by KGIII ( 973947 )

              Ah, just in time. See the new Yahoo! thread? ;-) Nah, they're not trash. They might not be of any value to *you* but they're certainly of value to someone. They've got like a billion users and own a whole bunch of other properties. I don't actually know any of those users, come to think of it. But they've got 'em and they're hard at work taking what they can from 'em. We've got people on this site who pay them to host their email, in this day and age and on this site. Nah, they're not trash just not what yo

        • Nah, yahoo is just trash. Always has been. Even in the old days of the interweb when they were considered so awesome, I still never used their service, and I'm not sure what the appeal ever was (their "search" often meant sifting through topics as they tried to catalogue the web, and their home page was so full of ads and graphics and shit that it was annoying to visit on a 28.8k modem.)

          No, you're just too young to remember. Yahoo was a great service in the early days, but that was when we were using modem

  • by technomom ( 444378 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2015 @08:34PM (#51085359)

    Who knew?

    I guess not enough of us....

    • by narcc ( 412956 )

      The problem was getting one. They were only released in small emerging markets. Even their developer phone sold out before a lot of interested users knew it existed. The easiest one to get was the ZTE Open, an incredibly low-end phone with virtually non-existent support from ZTE. (you were stuck with v1.0 for a while. We got a 1.1 release, with impressive performance improvements, and a buggy 1.2 release long after those were outdated. Savvy users have 2.0 unofficially now, though that is also now outd

  • Maybe they're wisely cutting their losses, but they're also re-enforcing their poor industry reputation. Here's my previous comment [slashdot.org] about FirefoxOS:

    Commitment? (Score:5, Insightful)
    by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on 2012.07.02 12:19 (#40518547) Homepage Journal
    I didn't learn from TFAs what Mozilla's commitment is to this. It seems like a good idea, but Mozilla has such a long history of abandoning [lawrencemandel.com] really good ideas [mozilla.org] when they turn out not to be easy.

    Don't get me wrong - I use F

  • Pretty much everyone saw this coming ....and nothing of value was lost, except the money spent on the salaries of the people in charge promoting this stupidity, instead of investing in their core product. History will continue to repeat itself until the money runs out.
    • My theory on firefox OS is that it was the attempted revenge of Mozilla to google for the development of the Chrome browser. It surely has been (and is) bad for firefox that Google now develops and advertises its own browser, instead of Mozilla's as it has been before Chrome.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Pretty much everyone saw this coming ....and nothing of value was lost, except the money spent on the salaries of the people in charge promoting this stupidity, instead of investing in their core product. History will continue to repeat itself until the money runs out.

      The huge sums of money were the problem. Once they put suit-tards in charge, the fail train started rolling downhill.

    • instead of investing in their core product.

      By "investing in" you mean "making the tabs rounder and buggering up the UI"?

    • by narcc ( 412956 )

      You do realize they haven't stopped development of the OS, don't you? All they've stopped doing is signing agreements with OEMs to produce smartphones. They still have OEM partners for other devices. Further, as development continues, there's nothing to stop an interested manufacturer from producing a smartphone running FxOS.

      • But why would any smartphone manufacturer do that, when they can get Android for free along with a billion apps?
        • by narcc ( 412956 )

          Any number of reasons. The most obvious being To differentiate their product in a sea of uninteresting clones.

          Android isn't terribly good. Competition in this space is badly needed. Why wish for homogeneity?

          • Any number of reasons. The most obvious being To differentiate their product in a sea of uninteresting clones.

            Blackberry's experience says otherwise. Look what standardization did for the PC industry.

            • by narcc ( 412956 )

              Sorry, I didn't check your username before I replied last time. I won't feed you any further.

  • by vix86 ( 592763 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2015 @08:47PM (#51085413)
    About a week ago, me and my friend had actually been discussing all the stupid business decisions that Mozilla has been making. Their OS and the Firefox Phone were two big ones that came to mind that just didn't make any sense to either of us. The money they have received, they've squandered on pointless pursuits into industries they stood no chance at making a dent in.

    Seriously, what was the logic behind trying to get into the phone market in the first place? Other companies have tried just as well (Amazon, Microsoft) with little to no success. The thing that bugged us was the fact that they must have spent millions trying to do this which could have been more smartly invested to ensure that they didn't run out of money to support and improve the current products they know are/were liked (Thunderbird and Firefox). Now as result, we are left with them trying to find money streams to support Firefox, and most of this comes from pushing unwanted software and advertisement into Firefox.
    • by BarbaraHudson ( 3785311 ) <barbarahudsononl ... Nom minus author> on Tuesday December 08, 2015 @10:05PM (#51085815) Journal

      You're forgetting the FirefoxOS Panasonic Smart TV [smh.com.au] that was announced earlier this year that's going to leave Panasonic with egg on the face.

      My theory is that Mozilla and Canonical were trying to copy each others tactics because they saw the media buzz that was being generated when one of them made an announcement. Phones, Tablets, and TVs were the "canonical" (pun intended) examples.

      • by sad_ ( 7868 )

        FirefoxOS will still be around, just not on phones (focus on IoT). Perhaps it will be more suited to something like a TV.
        Panasonic loses nothing, the OS is open source and they are a big enough company to continue support even if Mozilla would totally abandon FirefoxOS.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Mozilla wanted to provide a more open platform than even Android offers, that doesn't revolve around a single app store and bases everything on free and open technologies. They faced two major problems:

      1. No-one really understood their motivation or cared about it, they just wanted a phone with some apps.

      2. Android is pretty open, especially devices shipping with Cyanogen, so Firefox OS just didn't offer many advantages and there were many disadvantages.

      In hindsight they might have been better off doing wha

      • Exactly; they should have just teamed up with Cyanogen or made their own Android version like that. We could really use an alternative Android distro which is super-easy to install. They could just concentrate on certain popular phones even.

    • I'm sorry to say but we are not witnessing just stupid and a lack of logic. I'm afraid Mozilla... has manageritis.
      We all here on Slashdot are used to Mozilla so often doubling down on being the butt of the joke. But they exist in another reality than us, in which they are just merely following the one true way of the managerie.

      They just want to leverage strategic strengths to deliver marketable products, and to synergize first-rate innovation with actionable core competencies towards timely enters into grow

  • What's next? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I have this nagging feeling that Mozilla is about to do something monumentally stupid to Firefox. An un-skippable 5 second splash screen? Removal of the Back button? Permanent removal of the Menu Bar? Auto-hiding scroll bars? Remove the ability to use Firefox without logging in to a Firefox account? Disable your mouse's scroll wheel in favor of Auto-scrolling? Forced telemetry?

    If there is one thing that they have shown us is that there is nothing that they wont do.

    • by sunderland56 ( 621843 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2015 @09:20PM (#51085563)

      I have this nagging feeling that Mozilla is about to do something monumentally stupid to Firefox. An un-skippable 5 second splash screen? Removal of the Back button? Permanent removal of the Menu Bar? Auto-hiding scroll bars? Remove the ability to use Firefox without logging in to a Firefox account? Disable your mouse's scroll wheel in favor of Auto-scrolling? Forced telemetry?

      If you're going to move up to the big league, and compete with the likes of Microsoft, you need to prove that you can make corporate decisions just like Microsoft.

      If there is one thing that they have shown us is that there is nothing that they wont do.

      Yeah, maybe next release they will *only* support the left mouse button, and ignore anything else. Nah, I'm being cynical here - no major corporation would ever do anything as stupid as only supporting one mouse button.

      • If they're going to go the whole Microsoft then the next edition of Firefox will be run purely from the cloud. You can access it by using Chrome and navigating to usefirefox.com.

        Yo dawg we heard you like browsers...

      • Yeah, maybe next release they will *only* support the left mouse button, and ignore anything else. Nah, I'm being cynical here - no major corporation would ever do anything as stupid as only supporting one mouse butto

        Try the fsck gesture, it's in the public domain.

    • Well even if they did any of that, Firefox is open-source, so for the Linux distros you'd see something like PaleMoon or IceWeasel simply strip those changes out.

  • by Burz ( 138833 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2015 @08:55PM (#51085449) Journal

    The way I see it, there is plenty of room to improve security on mobile devices. Maybe there are some other goals that could be incorporated in "new and innovative" products as well, but security is the big one for me. Mozilla seems like all the rest in its mobile offering: Look, a slightly new UI! But security as a top-tier feature with the kind of focus that could cause a paradigm shift? Forget it.

    There's no reason for me to adopt FF OS, with few users and available apps, then suffer some ignominious revelation that I paid for yet another swiss cheese device that any sane person should be afraid to use.

    I think the only unique angle they had with FF OS was that the "platform" was simply web server meets browser. IOW, more mainframe-oriented than even iOS and Android. No, thanks; I'm not looking for a fancy terminal.

    • I wanted a fancy terminal.

      The smartphone is a full-fledged computer, that's true and I will be the first to point out that computer are computers not appliances, but it's also a computer where you have no keyboard or mouse and that you can't boot from a USB drive. Immediacy is rewarded, not customer's intelligence, we're asked to be turned into idiot button mashers (without the button). Even the ridiculous and long-winded EULA is lost : at installation of a program you're asked to allow a blanket authorizat

    • That's really what's going on. Mozilla Corporation is "streamlining"; when HP does it, we call it "stumbling over failed business endeavors".

  • by ChunderDownunder ( 709234 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2015 @09:01PM (#51085475)

    (I have a Nokia 770 in a storage box)

    My Mozilla Flame has been my daily phone for nearly 18 months. The initial builds (v1.3) weren't great for usability but things got pretty stable around the 2.1 release. I use the phone as a phone, with a killer web browser, so 'apps' weren't an issue. But the writing has been on the wall for a while, with feature implementation slowing to a crawl over the past few months on the nightly builds.

    IoT with a javascript API derived from Firefox OS has already been done in the form of JanOS.io thus a couple of hackers are ahead of the curve...

    I have no desire to go back to Android and an iPhone is out of my price range, so I guess I'll cross over to the dark side and get a cheap Lumia when the current handset dies. :(

    • May I ask why do you dislike Android? And what makes Windows Phone better for you? Thanks
      • by ChunderDownunder ( 709234 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2015 @10:05PM (#51085823)

        A variety of reasons.

        The latest Nexus phones by Huawei and LG have priced themselves out of the market, for those of us not willing to spend $500+ on bling. Particularly brutal with the current $AU exchange rate. I'd consider buying a 2nd hand Nexus 4 if only it had a user-replaceable battery to extend its life by another couple of years but no.

        So then you're in the land of vendor crapware, Chinese spyware (if purchased online) or carrier bloatware. So the solution then is flashing your device with an unofficial cyanogenmod port if it's not one of their 'blessed' models that still receives updates. That is if your handset vendor doesn't boobytrap its bootloader (Moto) or if your arch is still supported (armv6). Which all things being equal, you might find most things work smoothly except the video record feature is borked.

        That's been my experience, anyway... Oh and I can't stand Chrome the mobile web browser, so I'd just be installing Firefox anyway, which was the motivation for running Mozilla's own OS...

        Maybe things have changed in Android land but twice bitten thrice shy.

        Windows Phone is a great unknown but I think Continuum is worth exploring since I have a spare LCD monitor, keyboard and mouse and for much casual computing use (e.g. my university studies in humanities), all I need is a web browser and MS Office. (And yes i have several x86 machines on the desk here booting Windows and Linux for specialist tasks, so it's not like I don't appreciate 'real' software)

        • Have you looked at BLU phones? they have both Windows and Android and I just love my Android phone I got from BLU, good camera, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of storage with MicroSD slot, nice clear screen, quad core,no extra carrier crap and the phone with a protective cover and screen protector cost just $109 USD. Its probably as close as you'll get to running stock Android without buying a Cyanogen phone and despite my being pretty rough on phones? It just keeps on chugging.

          So I don't know how AU prices would be but

          • Not a brand I've heard of, no. I'll take a look. :)

            In Australia it's mainly the international GSM brands like Samsung, LG, HTC etc plus Apple and MS with Chinese makers Huawei and ZTE targeting bargain pre-paid burner phones one buys at a supermarket.

            'Buying American' would have some appeal in comparison to a similarly specced generic brand off a dodgy Chinese website if it meant aftermarket support in the form of OS updates and international warranties,

            • Yeah they are a company out of Miami, been making phones for the past few years. they were originally for the Latin market only and then branched out, good phones if you ask me.

              I don't know if this place has good prices or not, you could probably do better, but to just give you a rough look here is a company selling BLU phones in Australia [mobile57.com] and it looks like they have most if not all the models. The one I got is the studio mini LTE [mobile57.com] and I just love the thing, decent battery life, nice bright screen, quad wi

              • The Mozilla t2mobile Flame I'm using is a dual core but otherwise the specs are similar though perhaps the BLU supports more 4G bands being a slightly newer Qualcomm.

                Cheers, again.

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          Have a look at OnePlus phones. Killer specs, very cheap, ships with Cyanogen and no spyware. User replaceable battery.

    • You might want to try rooting an Android phone, then installing Pale Moon on it as your browser.

    • I have no desire to go back to Android and an iPhone is out of my price range, so I guess I'll cross over to the dark side and get a cheap Lumia when the current handset dies. :(

      Better be quick. Windows Phone's market share keeps slipping, it's now under 2%, no one should be surprised when they discontinue it in a year or two.

      • As I understand the rumours, Lumia represents the last of the Nokia IP and MS will release their own 'Surface' branded devices in 2016. I'd think they'd see out that transition first, particularly with Universal App and Win 10 integration before culling WP altogether.

        That said, yes it does look likely of a complete Android/iOS duopoly within years with respect to the alt-os graveyard.

    • by GNious ( 953874 )

      I know Jolla is in a bit of a rough patch at the mo' (*cough*cough*), but have a 2nd look, perhaps in January when there should be more news about the financials ?

  • I hate the monopoly of Android that is starting. I even roooted for Windows Phone to take off. Not that I like the platforms but because I want to see a 3 to 4 party healthy ecosystem.

    Android and webkit specific CSS/HTML 5 is not healthy and Google is now the new Microsoft in the mobile world :-(

    But Firefox OS was really really awful and only marketed in 3rd world countries.

    Android today is bloated as hell and requires over 1 gig of ram. That is because outside of Apple there is no competition nor reason to

    • Android today is bloated as hell and requires over 1 gig of ram.

      Android describes many things:

      1. The ROM. It is usually used to ship bloatware with the phone. Once you get a free rom like CyanogenMod (which is not the same as Cyanogen OS), you have no bloatware anymore. Just get a popular enough phone that is supported well by such a ROM provider.

      2. The google apps (gapps). These are the sole place google has any real influence over, because they are the only closed source non-vendor-specific component. Amazon has I think the most full set of replacement apps. There are

    • Isn't webkit...Apple? Android weaned itself off of webkit a while ago.
  • My buddy just installed Pale Moon (think old school Firefox) on a rooted Galaxy S6 Edge, and he freakin' loves it. So I have to suspect the issue here isn't with users...at least as far as the browser part of the situation is concerned.

    I think I'm just going to put this down as another example of the idiots running the show refusing to admit they made a huge mistake by trying to turn Firefox into a half-assed version of Chrome.

    Firefox is now circling the drain. I'm glad I moved on when I did, rather than

  • >> to focus more on its strongest and core products

    As long as "products" remains plural Mozilla will still have a problem.

  • Ah, yes. I figure they got crushed by Ubuntu Phone...

  • I could have told them 2 years ago that this was a braindead idea. This was maybe viable in 2003-2005 when the smart phones where starting to appear, but doing something like this now, when Apple, Android and Windows dominate the market is just futile. It's like trying to develop a new consumer operating system for x86 computers, that market is full and complete and doing so is never going to catch on.

  • People want apps to use on their smart phones. Firefox OS was never going to get the apps and therefore it was doomed to fail regardless of what merits the OS may have had. And it's hard to see many of those either.
  • "Mozilla Will Stop Developing and Selling Firefox OS Smartphones"

    should read: "Mozilla Will Stop Developing and Making Firefox OS Smartphones".

    You can't stop selling something no one was buying! :-)
  • Any recommendation from say, Mozilla?
    So, you were proudly making a non-spyware cell phone OS and now you're abruptly announcing you're quitting? I guess that means that if we wish to run a smartphone, then we need to run a spyware OS. Well, crap.
    Was waiting for version 2.5 : now that looked promising. Also waiting for 1GB RAM, or 768MB RAM, to be on a bit more of a safe side.

    I will simply continue to use and recommend using a dumb phone, but what about eventually needing a "smart" one for business reasons?

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