How many browsers do you use? Based on user data, the most popular browsers on PCs are Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, Google’s Chrome, Mozilla’s Firefox, Apple’s Safari, Opera, and a dozen others whose percentage of the market is numbered by decimal points. For the Mac, it’s Safari, Chrome, then Firefox and others.
On mobile devices the story is different. Substantially different. Google’s Chrome and Apple’s Safari use the WebKit rendering engine, which makes up over 90-percent of the smartphone browser market. Opera and Internet Explorer are relegated to a tiny, minor, and increasingly insignificant share of browser usage on mobile devices (which explains why Opera decided to use WebKit, too).
As it faces a growing wave of WebKit-inspired browsers, Firefox is increasingly being marginalized to the point of desperation and contradiction.
The Mozilla Blog points out the need for diversity and choice, and criticizes Microsoft’s decision to exclude third party browser on Windows RT. In other words, no Firefox browser on Windows RT is bad for choice, and Mozilla is all about being open and user choice.
Apple’s iOS does not allow third party browsers to use their own rendering engine, hence, no Firefox browser on iPhone or iPad. Again, the official executive line at Mozilla criticizes Apple’s decision as going against user choice while building up a closed system, just as they criticize Microsoft for limiting browser choice on Windows RT to Internet Explorer.
Google’s Chrome OS is basically an operating system for PCs which uses the browser as the OS interface. Firefox OS, aimed at mobile devices, is something similar; the browser is the OS and the interface.
How many browsers are there for Firefox OS?
Mozilla is scrambling to maintain relevance while being marginalized in a world where computers are moving rapidly from desktop usage to mobile devices. Computer usage is moving toward mobility, and Firefox is being left behind; a brief footnote to the history of computer browsers.