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Firefox risks irrelevance as mobile browsing booms

Gregg Keizer | May 19, 2014
Mozilla's Firefox is in danger of becoming irrelevant as more browsing originates on smartphones and tablets, statistics from Net Applications show.

Norwegian browser maker Opera Software held a combined user share of only 1.8% in April, down 28% since last September. Its mobile browser, Opera Mini, drew as much of the market as did its flagship on the desktop.

If the current trends traced by Net Applications continue, Mozilla will fall to the No. 4 overall spot in about four months, passed by Apple. That's neither good news nor good timing for Mozilla, which generates nearly all of its revenue from a contract with Google for making the latter's search engine the default on Firefox. That contract, last negotiated in 2011, comes up for renewal in November.

Net Applications measures browser usage on smartphones, tablets and personal computers by tabulating approximately 160 million unique visitors each month who browse to the sites it monitors for customers.

When desktop and mobile browser user shares are combined, Google has a solid lock on second place, but Mozilla is in danger of soon slipping to fourth because it lacks a compelling mobile browser.


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