back to article Mozilla drags Microsoft, Google, Apple for obliterating any form of browser choice

Firefox maker Mozilla is taking aim at Microsoft, Google, and Apple for using their operating systems to steer users to their browsers and stacking the deck against rivals who lack the same OS advantages. Like, for instance, Mozilla. Having these few large companies dominate such an important tech market – Mozilla refers to …

  1. jpo234

    That doesn't explain Chrome's dominance on the Desktop. There it's mostly not the default browser...

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Chrome on desktop

      I think Moz doesn't have much of a case there, but Android, that's a different story.

      C.

      1. Updraft102 Silver badge

        Re: Chrome on desktop

        First, desktop != Windows. My PC has Firefox as its os-default browser.

        Still, the observation that for 7 years, Windows has come with Edge as its default, and even with the difficulty MS has baked in when one tries to install or use another browser, the large majority of Windows users do not use Edge.

        That kind of makes one wonder about the effectiveness of all of the "nudging" Moz complains about in Windows re: browser choice. To the credit of Windows users, the nudging does not seem to work! That alone would be enough to ensure I never try Edge, if I used Windows.

        The prominence of Chrome on Windows also makes me wonder about Mozilla's cited statistics, where they claim that most users just use the browser the device came with and don't think much about it, and would not know how/ be willing to install another browser even if they wanted to. So how did the majority of Windows users manage to use Chrome when most of them don't think about browsers or know how to install them?

        If the MS default choice is not a factor in Windows, and people use Chrome for reasons that are not equal to "because that is the one it came with," then perhaps the same reason is in play on Android too, and it's not because it is preinstalled on (most) Android devices. For some inexplicable reason, a lot of people really seem to like Chrome. I find it horrid, but I am one of the 3% using Firefox (and Linux is up to about the same number by some counts), so clearly I do not speak for the teeming horde.

        I find it difficult to believe that all but the most inept people could not figure out how to install an alternative browser on Android. It's the same as all the other apps, which they don't have any problem installing.

        Mozilla has been trying to copy Chrome for years, with the idea being that if they sufficiently lower the barriers to migrating to Firefox, Chrome users will make the move. This has, quite evidently, not worked over the years that Mozilla has tried it, but Mozilla is nothing if not persistent in their insistence that if they remove enough things that make Firefox better than Chrome, the Chrome users will leave Chrome behind and move to the browser that, from their perspective, is a cheap copy of the browser they are already using. Having Chrome's chief competitor (outside of Apple devices) copy every move Chrome makes just cements the idea in people's minds that Chrome is the standard for what a browser should be, and if that is the case, why would any Chrome user make the move?

        This article is just another example of Mozilla's thinking that they need to make it easier for users to move to Firefox. They evidently have still not figured out that absent some force that pushes them away from Chrome and toward Firefox, it does not matter how smooth that path is. Privacy is clearly not enough of a force to accomplish that... the large majority of people clearly don't care. People love their Alexas and other such privacy nightmares, and they have already given up on the idea of privacy.

        If that was not bad enough for Mozilla, they also screwed up the perception that Mozilla is a good choice for the privacy conscious. Many people who actually do care about privacy have concluded that Firefox is just as bad as Chrome. Firefox has telemetry on by default, and while it does tell you up front that this is the case, while providing a link to the dialog to change the settings, it does not take that extra step of asking the user on first run or simply having it be opt-in.

        These days, there is not much difference in many people's minds between diagnostic telemetry and wholesale hoovering of people's private data for advertising purposes, and there is no trust that a company that uses telemetry will actually allow it to be turned off. For seven years, Windows has given its users various levers and buttons to play with, but none of them actually turn telemetry OFF. They know this; this is the expected status quo in this day and age, and they do not know the difference.

        Until Mozilla gets this, they will continue to be what they now are, which is a browser that is largely irrelevant, at best. At worst, they will be a memory.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Chrome on desktop

          "I find it difficult to believe that all but the most inept people could not figure out how to install an alternative browser... "

          Really? If I look at my closest family of about 15 people, ranging in age from 15 to 70 with professions including a farmer, a medical doctor, a PhD in biotech and a couple of teachers, I can assure you that almost all of them don't even know what a "browser" is, don't care which browser they use and certainly would not be able to figure out how to install an alternative on Android. They turn on their PCs, click the icon that takes them to the internet and get on with it - ads, tracking, pop-ups and all.

          1. Zolko Silver badge

            Re: Chrome on desktop

            almost all of them don't even know what a "browser" is

            how many people do I see typing "google" in the address bar, which searches for "google" with the default search engine which is mostly Google, when they want to search for something (in Google). The amount of ignorance about what the "Internet" actually is is quite staggering.

            1. MachDiamond Silver badge

              Re: Chrome on desktop

              "The amount of ignorance about what the "Internet" actually is is quite staggering."

              I'm not sure it's taught in schools, but that wouldn't cover the number of people that are well past school and Uni.

              My dear old mum doesn't know the difference between a browser and an email client. She uses a browser to check her email. For her, it's probably fine, but there's no way I could manage without a dedicated email program. I'm also not too chuffed about data leaks and laws regarding mail privacy when using a web browser interface.

              I use what works for my application: Safari, Firefox and TOR.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Chrome on desktop

                My mother - "The Microsoft isn't working!"

                (Home page was set to blank, instead of usual)

                1. MachDiamond Silver badge

                  Re: Chrome on desktop

                  "My mother - "The Microsoft isn't working!""

                  That scares the hell out of my since my inheritance is predicated on dear old mum not getting scammed out of it. My biggest concern is that there's money there so she's looked after and I'm not the one having to do it full time.

          2. iron Silver badge

            Re: Chrome on desktop

            How do these idiot savants manage to deal with the modern world? I presume their banks want them to install apps for TFA but if they are incapable of installing a browser on their phone they are presumably also incapable of installing that vital banking app.

            There is noting special about installing a browser. If you can install Clash of Clans you can install a browser.

            1. doublelayer Silver badge

              Re: Chrome on desktop

              The bank would, in most cases, send them directly to the app they want them to install, so all they have to do is press the install button. Then it's an icon. Installing a browser isn't more difficult from the mechanics, but people have to know that a browser exists, that they want another one, then go search for it. There are many who miss one or more of those requirements.

              In addition, I've seen many people who don't have banking access set up on their devices either. Some of them may use online banking with SMS for 2FA (if and only if the bank mandates it), and others may never have tried doing it that way. I wouldn't assume every user is using that or understands how to do so.

              1. MachDiamond Silver badge

                Re: Chrome on desktop

                "In addition, I've seen many people who don't have banking access set up on their devices either. "

                Like me. I don't want that channel open to my money. To date, I've not had to access my banking at the drop of a coin. I did have an issue with a debit card being cancelled due to fraud, but that taught me to keep cash on hand at all times.

                The biggest issue is making sure the bank knows that I do not want any online access to my accounts so there isn't something sitting out there waiting "to be set up". If I did find myself needing some sort of online access, I'd set up a separate account at a different bank and keep it fed as needed.

            2. trifle7
              Boffin

              Re: Chrome on desktop

              TFA ?

              "Trusted Financial Advisor" at first glance although it can't be that as it's an oxymoron.

              Tenant Farmers Association ?

              or maybe Trifluoroacetic Acid ?

              perhaps Tropical Forest Alliance ?

              1. StuartMcL

                Re: Chrome on desktop

                > TFA?

                Tea for Two?

                or "

                T" for "Two"

                Two Factor Authentication.

          3. JimboSmith Silver badge

            Re: Chrome on desktop

            Elder (i.e. over 40) members of my family believe the browser is the internet. I discovered this when I was helping one of them over the phone and asked what browser they were using. The response was they were using the “internet” and it too a while to understand what they meant by that. Further enquiries one Christmas determined that this wasn’t an isolated case.

            My parents are using Firefox with NoScript and an adblocker. This is because my mum will click on anything accidentally or deliberately which is a worry. She clicked on a link in an email which took her to a bank phishing website. Only when she got to the site did she remember that she didn’t bank with that bank.

            1. mdubash

              Re: Chrome on desktop

              This is exactly my experience too with the most technophobic family members.:(

            2. MachDiamond Silver badge

              Re: Chrome on desktop

              "She clicked on a link in an email which took her to a bank phishing website. Only when she got to the site did she remember that she didn’t bank with that bank.'

              It could be a good time to visit the bank with her and configure accounts so she can't accidentally hand over the keys to all of her savings in one go. A "daily" account that has no links (overdraft, etc) to her main savings can be good insulation. I've done that with my mom although right now she's perfectly fine, but she is getting older and I wanted something in place while she was still able to make plans for herself. It can be too late if you have to go through the process of being named as a conservator and all of the red tape that entails.

        2. Alumoi Silver badge

          Re: Chrome on desktop

          So how did the majority of Windows users manage to use Chrome when most of them don't think about browsers or know how to install them?

          By clicking next-next-finish on installers. Remember the good old days when every freaking installer had Chrome as a (mostly) hidden option?

          1. Headley_Grange Silver badge

            Re: Chrome on desktop

            I remember the very early days when everything came with an "optional" toolbar for Explorer. Every time I went home and cleaned up my mum's PC she'd got another two or three leaving a letterbox-shaped hole to peer at the internet through.

            1. Altrux

              Re: Chrome on desktop

              Oh yes, I saw many similar examples back in the day. And helped one family friend whose ISP was threatening to disconnect her account, because her Win98 machine had been taken over by so many botnets that it was causing issues on their network!

          2. Franco Silver badge

            Re: Chrome on desktop

            Yep, Adobe being the main culprit there. Every PC just about has Adobe Reader on it, and at one time they also all had Flash on them too, and installing either of them without paying attention got you Chrome for free.

            1. MrReynolds2U

              Re: Chrome on desktop

              And sometimes McAfee (still an option but it's opt-in now I believe)

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Chrome on desktop

            Remember the good old days when every freaking installer had Chrome as a (mostly) hidden option?

            Yes, at one company where I worked we had to send round an email because Adobe updates had it and people were clicking yes. The email said don’t install the update, call IT when the message comes up. Still some people did it though.

          4. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: Chrome on desktop

            MS Edge based on Chromium is the default on Windows since a few years, step outside!

          5. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Chrome on desktop

            "By clicking next-next-finish on installers. Remember the good old days when every freaking installer had Chrome as a (mostly) hidden option?"

            Yes, they just keep nagging users to switch to Chrome every time they go to a Google home page instead.

        3. Lorribot

          Re: Chrome on desktop

          Its not just OSes, Google pushes Chrome via is plethora of Web services such as Googlemail and Youtube.

          It implores you to install it for a better experience, whilst also degrading performance or even breaking the service for any browser that wasn't Chrome, this is one of the reasons Microsoft gave up on its own engine and joined the Chormalikes.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Chrome on desktop

            I use Edge at work (but only at work, because work), but if I access Google maps, still get the chrome popup. Edge is almost more or less like Chrome these days isn't it?

            1. MachDiamond Silver badge

              Re: Chrome on desktop

              "Edge is almost more or less like Chrome these days isn't it?"

              If you install Chrome, they get unfettered access to you rather than having to share with or be filtered through M$.

        4. jmch Silver badge

          Re: Chrome on desktop

          "how did the majority of Windows users manage to use Chrome when most of them don't think about browsers or know how to install them?"

          Because every time anyone visits gmail, YouTube, google maps, Google translate, or any one of dozens of VERY popular sites controlled by Google with a non-Chrome browser, they keep getting nagged and nagged and nagged about chrome until they finally install it

          1. mdubash

            Re: Chrome on desktop

            Don't want to come across as a Google fanboi, but using FF, I've accessed dozens of G services for years and never encountered a Chrome nag...

            1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

              Re: Chrome on desktop

              Have to agree with you there. Perhaps it's either ublock origin or noscript getting between me and all this googly wonderfulness?

            2. trifle7

              Re: Chrome on desktop

              FF will of course be able to access G services and there are even some useful add-ons that streamline the process to some extent.

              This is well and good but for anyone who's less than savvy or whose main experience is mobile, not having built-in capability for such services (especially bookmarking) is a barrier because it introduces more Faff & Fuss.

              For sure, FF is not alone in this - all the other browsers do it too, even the Chromium based ones - yet choosing a browser shouldn't mean having to make another decision as to which cloud/sync services to use because it should be able to work with all of them (& vice-versa).

        5. trifle7
          Facepalm

          Re: Chrome on desktop

          Notwithstanding the machinations of Apple, Google et al, Mozilla have made their fair share of faux pas too.

          Amongst other matters, not long ago, Firefox on desktop had a prolonged case of update diarrhoea. Every other day it seemed necessary to reinstall it, always with the hackneyed 'your security is at risk' warning while having necessary add-ons broken in the process (at least until the beleaguered, volunteer developer could/would update them).

          Can't help but think this made a significant contribution to Mozilla's loss of appeal, especially at a time when many were moving away from desktop toward mobile.

          We like and use Firefox still, but if it played nicely with sync services for Google etc. it might help them recover some traction?

          1. fromxyzzy
            Trollface

            Re: Chrome on desktop

            I've been using Firefox since it was Netscape, and the main complaint my friends who preferred Opera or Safari or Chrome always had was that it was too bloated.

            Turns out that they were just ahead of their game because over the last few years a number of my Chrome fan friends switched to Firefox because Chrome was such a pig.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Boffin

      History

      Chrome established its dominance on the desktop before Edge, when Internet Explorer was the Microsoft browser and even the most dedicated Windows shops and users fled to Chrome, which was at the time, the most usable browser. (Sorry, Firefox, I was using you but I was also using a lot of swear words)

      Chrome surpassed IE's top spot in 2012. Firefox gained second place in 2015. By 2019 Safari was beating it.

      By then it was a case of "if it works, don't touch it."

      1. badflorist Bronze badge

        Re: History

        "Chrome, which was at the time, the most usable browser."

        You've clearly never been a web developer. Hell is other browsers, but for a long time the only other browser was IE. "most usable"... WTF? Permanent "quirks mode" anyone...?

        You clearly didn't use Firefox before Chrome came to be, not at any capacity. That's serious crazy talk for anyone that actually did. What's just as crazy is that the entire compare and contrast arguments between Firefox and Chrome has been almost completely biased towards Firefox's usability Vs. Chrome's speed, and it's still to this day the same.

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

    4. ThatOne Silver badge

      > That doesn't explain Chrome's dominance on the Desktop.

      People really have short memories... There was a time a decade ago when every time you installed something on Windows, the installer silently also installed Chrome. Most prominent example were Adobe Flash/Acrobat updates: There was a tiny hidden link allowing you to bypass the Chrome installation, else it would install, hijack your browser settings, and declare itself as the default browser. Next time you would want to use Internet you would be using Chrome, and normal (ie. non-IT) people never noticed the subtle differences in GUI.

      That's how the vast majority of people, who surprisingly are not computer-savvy, at all, managed to get on Chrome. The rest (especially among the younger ones) came to Chrome because at the time Google was still cool, and using its products made you cool too. Apparently.

      Chrome, with all the wealth and power of Google behind it, quickly steamrolled the browser market and got to the point where Chrome = Internet, much like Google = Websearch. Whatever you think of Mozilla as a browser (and at this point it's a religious, not a technical question), it's true that not having the backing of a billion-dollar company they are the total underdog. The writing was on the wall when Microsoft yielded to Google and Windows got under the rule of another Chromewraith. It's "one browser to rule them all" (web commerce sites, that is).

      1. Mark #255

        Also, any time you visit any Google property, you get nudged to install Chrome (echoes of "this site best viewed in Internet Explorer!"). Anyone without the jaded cynicism gene that all true El Reg readers have is likely to click on that button eventually...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Still going string today

          I'm seeing some sites tell me that the latest firefox is too old for the site and that I should install Chrome.

          I switch to Safari and most of the time, the message goes away but one or two are now starting to say that the latest Safari is not supported and guess what... I should install Chrome.

          Well F you Google. I will not use your crapware ever. Oh, and anyone on my company network trying to go to google.com end up at a site that shows paint drying. That scares most users away but there is one user who insists on using the Google IP address.

          1. ThatOne Silver badge
            Unhappy

            Re: Still going string today

            > tell me that the latest [non-Chrome browser] is too old for the site and that I should install Chrome

            And that's them being polite. I guess they will eventually show you a blank page unless you use the approved Chrome browser... That should convince the hard of understanding still fighting the Borg.

          2. Toe Knee

            Re: Still going string today

            @AC:

            I don’t know whether to laugh or cry in regard to the user competent enough to know about using an IP rather than domain name, yet still insisting upon Google for search.

            Just smart enough to wreak havoc, it seems

    5. illiad

      Chrome's dominance

      Chrome's dominance is mainly due to many other apps including it - many AV ones certainly do...

    6. sabroni Silver badge

      re: That doesn't explain Chrome's dominance on the Desktop.

      Google search.

      If you're not on Chrome it's going to suggest you change to it. If you trust Google to search why wouldn't you trust them when they say "The web is better on our browser, click here for better!"?

    7. 43300 Bronze badge

      With Chrome on Windows, it's been done by Google being the dominant search engine and using that as a means of steering users towards their browser.

  2. M.V. Lipvig Silver badge

    Not seeing it

    The only browsers I don't use on my droidyphone is the Samsung or Google browsers. True, I can't delete them but they are never used. I use Brave or Opera on the phone and Brave or Vivaldi on the laptop. Occasionally I'll try others. Didn't like the duckduckgo browser.

    1. jgarbo
      Devil

      Re: Not seeing it

      You mean, you sit down, think, research other browsers, then make an informed choice? Me, too. By nature, I never accept "default" anything. Gave up on FF years ago, sluggish, convoluted menus (I'm a user, devs). Opera on MX21 and Andy phone: fast, light, clean menus, VPN/proxie usable, auto ad block, plenty of extensions. I don't care if Satan wrote the code.

      1. ThatOne Silver badge
        Alert

        Re: Not seeing it

        > make an informed choice

        Sure, but never forget that's for the IT crowd. Normal people (99.9% of the users) not only lack the "informed" part, but also don't really care. Their priorities are elsewhere, for them a browser is just an appliance, a tool: You find one which seems to do the job and that's that.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: You find one which seems to do the job

          And to hell with 'not all is what it seems'. Doesn't hurt much to be fucked, ever so gently.

      2. mdubash

        Re: Not seeing it

        Give it another try: it's better than it used to be. Speaking as a user for - ooh - 20+ years?

    2. iron Silver badge

      Re: Not seeing it

      So you made a choice and decided a derivative of Chrome was the best bet? While I applaud you for not giving in to the Google mothership you are still part of the problem because you're encouraging a monoculture in browser engies.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not seeing it

      You can also get Vivaldi on Android. I use it at home and on my phone and they sync.

      Which is why I use Edge at work - No risk of cross contamination!

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not seeing it

      you can't simply get rid of Chrome ('Google') or Samsung (if it's a Samsung device) browsers as they are baked in... at least not without rooting the device and a lot of surgery

      (and simply 'uninstalling' them probably not a good idea as you would end up with an out-of-date package that came with the vendor's software image)

  3. McCovican
    Black Helicopters

    There are not many things on this insipid burning trash-pile of a planet that I'd shill for, but Firefox is absolutely one of them. I've been using it since before it was Firefox, and using it for webdev work for the better part of a decade. Which isn't to say it's flawless - they've certainly made their share of mistakes over the years (the fallout of webexts probably being one of the biggest). But any time I have to use Chrome, I just despair - and at the same time, marvel at always managing to find something else they've locked down. The UI screams "designed by committee" too, though it does give me pause to wonder how they got that many goats round a conference table at the same time.

  4. binary
    WTF?

    Firefox sucks! Mozilla blames the successful products but, it still sucks!

    It so happens that I just removed the Firefox browser from my computer 10 minutes before reading this article. Firefox, for me, is still buggy and unreliable, not ready for real heavy work. It so happens that Google Chrome doesn't have Firefox's annoying glitches. Shame on Mozilla for blaming the world for their mediocre product.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Firefox not ready for heavy work

      Care to explain what you mean by 'heavy work'. I'm sure this bunch of IT Nerds would like to know in detail what that is.

      1. binary
        WTF?

        Re: Firefox not ready for heavy work

        If you want an unbiased opinion about why Firefox can't perform 'heavy work,' you need to find this out for yourself, if you can't, you can get by with Firefox. My work load may not equal your work load so, if you are happy with Firefox, it's OK, nothing wrong with that.

        I tried many Firefox, Brave, Opera, Vivaldi versions to replace Google Chrome but I always came back to Chrome because whoever designed Chrome, did good homework. If you need more proof that Chrome is better, Microsoft 'borrowed it,' too :).

        I find it pitiful that the inability of Mozilla to beat Google Chrome resulted in their shameless blaming of everyone else but themselves.

        1. sabroni Silver badge

          Re: you need to find this out for yourself

          If you want me to actually back up what I'm saying with evidence I can't.

      2. Lis

        Re: Firefox not ready for heavy work

        @Steve Davies 3

        It's an expression used by I.T. workers to "butch up" their job. Which seems to mainly consist of sitting on their arses typing on a keyboard. See also

        "Power User"

        At the "cutting edge"

        At the "bleeding edge"

        At the "coalface"

        Doing the "heavy lifting"

        There are many more but I am sure you get my drift.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Firefox not ready for heavy work

          I just came across this awesome! report! on the super amazing BBC which partially explains some of the cause of that effect.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Firefox sucks! Mozilla blames the successful products but, it still sucks!

      I know Google tries to make rendering their websites on non-Chome browsers real heavy work. Perhaps that's the problem.

  5. luminous

    This is nonsense

    "The browser is a connective tissue between our professional and personal lives and the larger world, as more and more facets of it become digital-first," the Firefox maker wrote.

    Nonsense. The browser is a tissue between my professional and personal life - what is he talking about? And what is digital-first? So what is second?

    You might think this is just Mozilla being bitter and crying over the fact that Firefox has fallen out of fashion. No one's forcing you to install or run Chrome on your non-ChromeOS desktop, for instance, so we surely must do it under our own free will.

    It was nothing about free will. Google strong armed its installation through bundling with other programs, particularly antivirus. It also completely disrespected the way programs should be installed, by circumventing the Program Files directory on windows which in corporate worlds usually is protected via admin passwords. It was all about getting the user "used" to Chrome and thus any new device, it would be installed almost immediately. Google wanted Chrome to be synonymous with the web like the Internet Explorer 'e' icon used to be, and has basically achieved this now.

    It also pushed its own browser when you used Google services. Rather than making their products truly cross-platform, they were just lazy/evil and didn't bother to make them work as well in competitor's browsers. Then also developers got lazy and only wanted to bother making things work in one browser (and so many of them are married to Google). Even today, there are some sites where I just can't get them to work properly without going to Chrome.

    1. msobkow Silver badge

      Re: This is nonsense

      Utter nonsense. I don't recall Chrome ever being bundled with my downloads like Mozilla so often was. Mozilla used to be marketted; their lack of feature completeness and functionality is entirely their own fault.

      1. DS999 Silver badge

        Re: This is nonsense

        Then you must not have paid much attention. It isn't common now because Chrome has spread like a disease across almost the whole Windows using world, but when IE was dominant and Firefox was in second place, Google was paying companies to include Chrome in their downloads (and having it checked by default to be installed along with an icon on your desktop)

      2. WolfFan Silver badge

        Re: This is nonsense

        It was incredibly difficult to avoid Chrome. Every single installer or upgrader that Adobe shipped had a little ‘install Chrome’ button… except it was a “don’t install Chrome” button, you had to check it or Chrome would be installed and would be your default browser. Adobe was far from the only one, just the most annoying.

  6. Jan K. Bronze badge

    No one's forcing you to install or run Chrome on your non-ChromeOS desktop, for instance, so we surely must do it under our own free will.

    This!

    Using a #/%& stupid Android tablet, a Windows pc and a Linux laptop and absolutely nothing prevents me from installing and using Firefox on any of them. *)

    It's my deliberately choice not to and no matter what Mozilla say or how much they wriggle or moan, there's no chance I'll ever use Firefox.

    Sorry. But have spent too much time digging old archives and do not like, what I've seen. Plus that stupid bookmark handling....

    There are other reasons besides Google, Apple, Microsoft etc that Firefox have such a small user base...

    *) using #%&# stupid Chrome on stupid android, Vivaldi on both laptop and pc, btw.

  7. anoco

    Shot their own paws

    Mozilla has a point that lack of choice is bad for everybody, but they're also guilty of that sin by removing all sorts of choices that users had and making a bland browser that acts like Chrome. So why would a new user switch to Firefox for no perceived gain?

    Mozilla lost their identity many years ago when they decided that they knew better what was good for the users than the users themselves. Remember the "Take Back the Web" (https://blog.mozilla.org/press/2004/02/mozilla-foundation-rallies-supporters-to-take-back-the-web/) campaign? Well, Mozilla needs to start a "Give Back the Browser" campaign now, because the current one is an utter POS compared to what it used to be.

    Part of the reason Firefox is now in the endangered list is because Mozilla has been systematically eroding their only strength, freedom. The other part is what the complaint is about. Monopolies.

    1. DS999 Silver badge

      Re: Shot their own paws

      I agree a lot of Firefox's wounds were self inflicted. They shouldn't have tried to go simple minded with the interface like Chrome did. I think they panicked when Chrome started growing fast (which was mostly because of how Google paid to have it bundled with so much you had to go out of your way to avoid installing it) and thought it was because people liked the interface.

      People dislike change, and changing Firefox's UI provided the excuse people needed to try other browsers. They thought the problem was winning people who had switched back, when the problem was really keeping the people they had happy.

      1. mdubash

        Re: Shot their own paws

        Yeah, they have pissed me off so many times with their crowd-following UI changes - not to mention the time they decided to change engines and broke my favourite add-ons. But not being Google, Apple or MS counts for a lot with me.

      2. StrangerHereMyself Bronze badge

        Re: Shot their own paws

        The problem is that Mozilla have no clue what users want. They're just copying what they perceive is successful.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Literally following Microsofts UI research methodology

          And that research was literally run by a former M$ employee, achieving identical results. A bodged together UI that is buzzword compliant, user hostile, and designed by committee.

          NO one, including Microsoft should ever follow that methodology. "Start button in the middle of the start bar" wasn't a problem anyone ever needed, and if that is the output, the method is flawed.

          I agree being a chrome clone is a fools journey. Chrome will always win that, and becoming chrome like makes it easier to steal market share FROM you, not the other way around. Course, Google would never use it's massive reach and resources to encourage a public and open source process to make decision in it's own interests. Google is still one of the main revenue sources for Mozilla as well. So big surprise, for all the barking, Googles pet alternative is just barely successful enough to keep the regulators at bay.

          This move is about breaking Apples hold on mobile Safari. That is all Google cares about. But doing it itself will get it in trouble, so they will push for a "solution" that forces Apple to open it's platform to all other browsers, or at least the majors + Firefox. In reality, all that will do is allow Google to take over the last remaining bastion of non-Chrome browser dependent users.

          I'd be ok if Apple allowed Firefox, and only Firefox onto iOS devices. Not super happy, but not militantly opposed at least. Allowing Chrome a toehold will end ALL meaningful browser competition. Google already won, but this will end even the pretense of completion.

          When Safari is knocked down as the only option, the big sties will stop optimizing for it, then whole swaths of the web will just stop supporting it all together. That will still happen if Google doesn't lift another finger. If Safari could steal market share from Google, it would have. Apple gave up trying years ago, and even on the Mac, Google is the dominant browser by far.

          The one thing you can do to improve things for users as far as OS/Browser bundling, is to force the OS manufacturer to distribute the Browser as a separate app from the OS. Included, but able to be updated separately. One of the main things that jams up Android and Apple devices is having to wait for a carrier approved OS update to patch a browser issue. Much better if an regular user can just mash the update button for the Browser, like they can on a 3rd party one.

  8. msobkow Silver badge

    The heart of the problem is really the DRM that is baked into the OS-coupled browsers; I've yet to run across a Firefox build that could play videos from CTV's News in Canada, for example, despite the fact that CTV is one of the big two Canadian news networks (the other being the CBC.) If you don't have the functionality, your "openness" doesn't matter to most users.

    1. iron Silver badge

      Bull. I have no extra codecs installed than Firefox default and just Googled CTV News, I can view their videos no problem. Two clicks and I'm watching Canadian news track Hurricaine Fiona.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      I just played a video and I'm not even in Canada...

    3. StrangerHereMyself Bronze badge

      There's a setting in Firefox under "General" which says "Digital Rights Management Content".

      Most likely you don't have it checked. I had the same problem yesterday incidentally.

  9. cantankerous swineherd

    ff on linux mint: settings are managed by your organisation

    excuse me, who is that? big brother Mozilla? or big brother mint? bookmarks are read only fgs.

    1. VTAMguy

      Oh please spare me

      The organization you sneeringly refer to is Mint, who provides the distribution of FF that you use and maintains it. The only settings they have limited are to do with updates. Bookmarks are not read only, don't be silly. If you don't like this update model, download and install and maintain FF yourself. If you don't like Mint doing updates, use another distro. Not everything is "big brother". Please, if you're going to be cantankerous, do it over something real and learn of what you speak before you do it.

      1. Doctor Evil

        Re: Oh please spare me

        I agree with your comments and I upvoted you accordingly -- but the implication of the message "Your browser is being managed by your organization" when you are an individual home user and not expecting this is absolutely "Big Brother"-ly.

        So is the follow-on message "Updates disabled by your system administrator" (they're not; the option of changing the setting from "Automatically install" to anything else is). The only other locked settings I've found in the Mint version are the options of making Firefox NOT be the default browser and of checking to see if it IS the default.

        However, the messaging to the end-user is suboptimal and I was taken aback initially. The combination of Firefox's hardwired messages and the removal of options by Mint (for arguably benevolent reasons) can leave a perhaps naive user with a poor impression.

      2. cantankerous swineherd

        Re: Oh please spare me

        strange that I can't save bookmarks then

  10. steelpillow Silver badge

    OS integration

    Is this the same Mozilla that once tried to write the desktop GUI in HTML/CSS and integrate the browser engine into the OS, so that no separate browser app would be required?

    They failed only because, at that time, HTML/CSS/Gecko ran like a dog. Since then we have seen massive increases in compute/rendering power and much improved compilation/rendering. Meanwhile the digital convergence and work/lifestyle integration continues, for example netbook style cloud-over-https has become a dominant thing. The idea could and probably should be made to work now. So what do Moz do? Vilify the whole idea of a browser engine tightly linked to the OS or GUI.

    Desktop is the core Firefox market, while mobile eats all the surf dude statistics (My web site is desktop/academic/old fart oriented and Moz is still solidly among the top two or three browsers visiting). The look-and-feel for these two worlds is very different, despite the desperate attempts of GNOME to cover both bases and thus cover neither. Moz have been making that same mistake. There are even third-party sanity skins for desktop users - something lacking in the others. Moz habitually screw them over without a second thought, though thankfully they are just about clinging on. Moz should go back to their roots, focus on desktop/developer productivity, and sod the beauty contest.

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: OS integration

      Firefox OS? Yes, that was them. So? The problem is choice, or lack of it, and they have a case for that on some platforms (definitely for IOS, probably not for Windows, everything else they mentioned is in between). When they were trying OS development, they weren't attempting to limit choice. They were trying to make a better mobile operating system, and the one they had working on a few devices was more open than the alternatives available both at the time and today. It used the browser engine as the UI layer, but that's because they didn't have an alternative UI system and that was the one they came up with. It technically could have supported an alternative one, though nobody bothered to write one given the limited success of the project.

  11. DS999 Silver badge

    Mozilla has the right approach

    I get tired of seeing regulators focusing on only one aspect of the issue, like Apple not allowing other rendering engines in iOS browsers, or Google forcing Android OEMs to distribute Chrome if they want the other Google tools.

    It needs to be an overall thing, what I think would be most fair:

    1) Google must divest Chrome, and not be in the browser business when they are already so deep into sites browsers visit like Search, Youtube and Gmail as well as OS platforms i.e. Android and ChromeOS. Android and ChromeOS must allow a choice of default browsers that doesn't get reset with an OS update or require a certain browser for anything OS related.

    2) Apple must allow full browsers without WebKit on the App Store, and a choice of default browsers in iOS as with Android. Apple would be permitted to enforce the user choice of default browsers on apps if they wish (but if so it must be enforced on them all equally) so built in browsers like Facebook's are overridden if the user wishes.

    3) I'm not sure what to do about Microsoft. I really wish they hadn't gone all in with Chromium, as that's detrimental to competition, but it is probably not reasonable to force them to revisit that decision.

    1. VoiceOfTruth

      Re: Mozilla has the right approach

      -> Google must divest Chrome

      If that happened Chrome would likely end up like Mozilla - a not very good browser.

    2. 43300 Bronze badge

      Re: Mozilla has the right approach

      "3) I'm not sure what to do about Microsoft. I really wish they hadn't gone all in with Chromium, as that's detrimental to competition, but it is probably not reasonable to force them to revisit that decision"

      That is a difficult one - I doubt if any of us want to see a return to that fucking stupid "choose your browser" screen which the EU made them implement, which then caused all sorts of issues because users would just click a random one (usuall the top one on the list, which varied) without having the first idea what they were even looking at.

      What should be done as a minimum though is to force MS to stop the coercion to use Ege, make it straightfoward to change the default, and to use the default browser for everying browser-related.

  12. Refugee from Windows

    Stop embedded browsers

    Of course they'll make you have their browser, it's baked into their OS. It's always lurking there in the background, with possible security issues (IE?), even if you only used it to install another browser to set as default.

  13. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Boffin

    How about...

    On a first time startup:

    "Which of these browser would you like installed? You may have more than one."

    With none pre-marked, and the list order randomised.

    Yeah, I know. Not going to happen - ever.

    1. Dinanziame Silver badge

      Re: How about...

      It has happened in the past, and in some countries it is still happening.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: How about...

      It might happen again... If you're in the EU (like last time).

    3. 43300 Bronze badge

      Re: How about...

      Bad idea - IT-illiterate users will just click anything and often cause issues which somebody then has to try to resolve.

      Unfortunately I don't think it's feasible to prevent bundling of specific browsers. The focus should be on making it easy to change for those who want to, and no coercing people into using particular browsers.

  14. Jim84

    The real problem is that there are only 2 mobile OSes.

    No one will use any OS other than iOS and Android because they cannot get all the apps they want on them, and the apps available don't stay up to date. And without larger userbases developers have no incentive to port and maintain apps.

    This is what killed Windows Mobile and Blackberry OS.

    If bureaucrats try to legislate about what Apple and Google can do with their OSes, I suspect the companies will always run rings around the legislators.

    Is there any realistic way to provide incentives to app developers on alternative OSes such as AOSP without large userbases? Maybe a government could make payments to a developer when a popular app ported to AOSP is installed and then used for a certain number of minutes across a certain time period? And could a government fund a bug bounty program to keep them up to date?

    This probably wouldn't dethrone iOS and Android, but might provide a space in which innovation in websites and programs that are delivered through a browser can thrive without Apple and Google throttling any competive threats before they become popular.

    1. Headley_Grange Silver badge

      Re: The real problem is that there are only 2 mobile OSes.

      I think you're right. For me it's less about apps and more about interoperability. I can synch contacts, notes, ToDo, calendar, browsing history, media,.... etc. across all my devices and, more importantly, do it all natively without paying* subscriptions for range of apps to manage it. A while ago I bought a Blackberry and all this collapsed. Calendars and contacts synched relatively painlessly (it was still a pain), but all the rest had to be either manually managed or I had to pay subs for something like Evernote.

      *The price of entry is high, so I know I am paying for it.

    2. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      Re: The real problem is that there are only 2 mobile OSes.

      The amazing thing is that there are two mobile OSes and that we haven't all settled on the lowest common denominator: Android. Even today, if you walk into an office and find a PC, the chances are it's running Windows. It's surprising that mobiles haven't similarly coalesced around one platform and that Apple retains mass market appeal.

      1. SImon Hobson

        Re: The real problem is that there are only 2 mobile OSes.

        The difference is that MS spent many years (illegally*) engineering a situation where running a corporate network comes down to a choice between :

        Windows desktops hooked to Windows servers, via proprietary protocols/interfaces designed to prevent any components being replaced with third parties.

        or

        A world of pain and hard work.

        As a result, the corporate world is more more less an MS closed shop, and it's still effectively impossible to use third party components - leading to a self perpetuating situation. Yes, there's things like SAMBA, but by the time MS were forced to providego away and document their protocols and provide them to the SAMBA team, the damage was done.

        But in the mobile space that's very different. MS tried, but spectacularly failed, to get a stronghold in that.

        * Yes, they were found guilty of various practices

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: The real problem is that there are only 2 mobile OSes.

          "* Yes, they were found guilty of various practices"

          But justice being slow and with many legal means to appeal "wrong" decisions or many years, means that any large company can get away with illegally stamping out the competition such that any fines years down the line are already paid for by the increased income from market dominance. As has been show time and time again.

      2. the Jim bloke Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: The real problem is that there are only 2 mobile OSes.

        Apple retains mass market appeal.

        The secret to appealing to the masses, is to pander to pretentious wankers.

        One of the android phone manufacturers - probably samsung, ran a campaign a few years back touting their latest toy... and the skinny, hipster bearded young man wails "I cant use that - I'm creative!", and the pretty young slightly non anglo saxon, woman responds "You're a barista".

        The walled garden exists because everyone inside is disdained (polite version) by the people outside.

        You dont choose an iPhone for your parents because of their competence with technology...

  15. VoiceOfTruth

    Mozilla is not a very good browser, convince me otherwise

    I used Firefox a long time ago and it was not good. The common complaint (not just me but a very large number of people) was that Firefox used up (at the time) expensive memory. Firefox never solved this problem. Even today if you look on the Firefox web site their "solutions" include updating to the latest version of Firefox - nothing at all about actually fixing the problem.

    Before you say "that was a long time ago", Firefox is still not a good experience.

    Telemetry? Firefox has that. incoming.telemetry.mozilla.org... I didn't make this connection, Firefox did it all by itself. How to turn it off? I don't know, maybe it is somewhere in the settings.

    Then there is the design of Firefox itself. Firefox should hire somebody who knows how to design GUIs rather than somebody who knows how to code putting a GUI on top. Now that the we all have high resolution and high colour displays let's use wireframe mono icons, said somebody at Firefox. It's fashionably ugly, like 1960s tower blocks. Wireframe icons are the new brutalism on the desktop. The settings page is horrible. Web site appearance has four images, three of which are identical. That tells me nothing about the differences between the three.

    Firefox's profile manager is an unfunny joke compared to Chrome's. For Chrome it is a link on the main menu on my Mac. It's accessible immediately. There's no need to look up how to create a profile as there is with Firefox - Firefox profiles are not even in the Help section. That's usability for you.

    Deleting cookies is a "where the hell is it again" exercise in the settings page. Firefox, if it wanted to be more useful, should add a big red (not wireframe mono) button on the tool bar "DELETE COOKIES AND JUNK".

    And the versioning... what version is Firefox now? Well over a hundred, when in terms of features it is really about 6 or 7. But higher numbers mean it is much better, I guess.

    Thunderbird went down the same route of being a horrible experience. Thunderbird is actually worse than Firefox. Quite how they did this is one of the mysteries of the modern world. I use Seamonkey for email (thanks for the suggestion whoever it was some time ago).

    The thing is... I think that a lot of the stated ideas what Firefox represents are good things - privacy and so on. But maybe privacy in the browser is not important. I know that will raise hackles so I must explain. If I do my bit using a (supposedly) secure browser, but then read in The Reg the next week that so and so company or telco has been hacked and all my data has been siphoned off, what use was the browser? Well it's not all companies, you might say. And you would be right. But if it's a company that has my credit card details, that is not comforting news. I still have to go through a load of hoops.

    Anyway, I don't buy the idea that installing a browser on a desktop (or Android phone) is difficult. On my Mac I use Chrome. It's a good experience.

    1. Headley_Grange Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: Mozilla is not a very good browser, convince me otherwise

      My mileage varies. I use FF because it's the only browser I've found with an RSS reader add-on that I like. As for everything else it does - it's just a browser for me. But, looking at your post:

      Memory usage - I've got a 7 year old Mac with 8GB and never noticed a memory problem, but that's probably because I use it more in browse mode than with web apps.

      GUI - it sounds like you'd like Firefox to hire a designer to create a GUI just for you and I wouldn't mind if they did TBH.

      Profile manager - I had to look up what it is. Never used it. Never will.

      Deleting cookies. I'm puzzled by this. You want a big button to do it because you can't remember where it is in the settings. If you clear cookies that often then you'd remember, surely? However, you could bookmark the privacy page in settings or just right-click the padlock to clear cookies for a particular site. To clear recent history hit Ctrl+Shift+Delete or Command+Shift+Delete and the dialog box pops up.

      Thunderbird - I probably agree with you.

      1. VoiceOfTruth

        Re: Mozilla is not a very good browser, convince me otherwise

        -> Profile manager - I had to look up what it is. Never used it. Never will.

        Profiles are very useful for separating reasons for browsing, and they help stop cross-contamination of cookies and trackers. I have a profile for The Register and I only use it for that. I know exactly which cookies I have been fed when visiting The Reg because those are the only cookies in that profile.

        -> If you clear cookies that often

        I don't in Mozilla because it is convoluted to get to the cookies page. I DO have a bookmark in Chrome directly. to the cookies.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: Mozilla is not a very good browser, convince me otherwise

          You don't really need a profile manager to separate cookies etc... now as there are containers.

          Chome's profile manager is just a way of linking the user to their Google account.

          1. VoiceOfTruth

            Re: Mozilla is not a very good browser, convince me otherwise

            -> Chome's profile manager is just a way of linking the user to their Google account.

            As I have not signed in to Google using Chrome, how is that done?

            1. Dan 55 Silver badge

              Re: Mozilla is not a very good browser, convince me otherwise

              The answer is an option called Chrome auto sign-in which has been around since version 69. The opt-out settings toggle was released in version 70, after most users had been automatically signed in in version 69. This also meant the opt-out sync option had synchronised their local Chrome profile with their Google account. Mission accomplished (for Google).

              You might say you are on top of Chrome's opt-out privacy settings, in which case you are a fraction of a percentage of Chrome users.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Mozilla is not a very good browser, convince me otherwise

        "GUI - it sounds like you'd like Firefox to hire a designer to create a GUI just for you and I wouldn't mind if they did TBH."

        I remember the days when themes and/or skins could completely change the look and feel but nowadays, Firefox, in line with everyone else, has restricted that so much that about all you can change, like Windows, is the background image. There are 100's of "themes" in the Mozilla add-ons, but they all look and feel exactly the same.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Now that the we all have high resolution and high colour displays

      No, we don't.

      I wish that we do but many of my colleagues are given laptops that while they work, they are crippled by 1366X768 resolution displays.

      The sheer amount of vertical white space on websites these days is staggering. You are forever scrolling up and down.

      To those designers, I wish that you could be forced to work with kit that those in the real world have to use on a daily basis.

      Perhaps then... you might just see the light.

    3. StrangerHereMyself Bronze badge

      Re: Mozilla is not a very good browser, convince me otherwise

      Maybe that was a problem when computers had like less than a Gig of DRAM but these days it shouldn't matter.

      Also, content has gotten fatter, web pages are huge these days.

      1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge

        Re: Mozilla is not a very good browser, convince me otherwise

        once you remove all the crap that web "designers" add because they know nothing about proper programming and so use libraries they don't understand, you'll see that most pages are pretty slim...

        (to test it, toggle "Reader View" in FF using F9)

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yah Boo !!!

    This whole comment thread could be simply replaced by:

    My Browser is best .... your browser is crap !!!

    This is a fact because I said so !!!

    :)

    P.S. I like FF and use it ...... so it must be the best !!!

  17. sreynolds Silver badge

    Hmmm

    Mozilla only exists because google funds them to produce something that they can point to and say, "Yeah we have competition." People need to stop accepting giving up their privacy for convenience.

  18. Franco Silver badge

    They aren't wrong, Firefox (IMO) is still the best choice but is nowhere near as good a browser as it once was. In part that's not even Mozilla's fault, as Chrome and its derivatives are so dominant that they web is designed around them in a lot of cases, I do find myself having to use Edge on occasion for the odd website that Firefox doesn't play nicely with.

    Apple's refusal to even allow another rendering engine on iOS meaning that the "competition" is essentially a skinned version of Safari is ridiculous, but as usual the Macolytes will defend that. Google indulge in practices (drive by downloads, excessive influence over Chromium and "standards" adherence) that would make 90s Microsoft blush, and yet you have to feel a certain amount of schadenfreude that MS now also use Chromium cos IE and original Edge were so shite.

  19. mtrantalainen

    The biggest problem I can see with different operating systems and browsers is that Apple doesn't allow any alternative browser engines on iOS (or iPadOS).

    You can install "Chrome" or "Firefox" from Apple AppStore but those are just shells that must run Apple Webkit, not the actual browser engine that Chrome (normally uses engine called Blink) or Firefox (Gecko) has actually implemented.

    So not only Safari is preinstalled but Apple actually kills any apps from AppStore that would include a real browser engine. That will obviously destroy any competition and it shows: Mobile Safari is the worst browser there is. It's barely better than Internet Explorer which no longer exists at all because then Microsoft acknowledged that it was so low quality product that it couldn't be fixed, hence Edge replaced it fully.

    1. StrangerHereMyself Bronze badge

      As long as competition authorities allow this there's really very little anyone can do.

      If customers keep drinking the Apple Kool-Aid it has its platform all to itself and can milk it like Aphrodite's tit.

  20. sansva

    Ok Mozilla, sounds like it's overdue for you guys to release your own OS. Why not put out your own Linux distro on your own custom hardware (phone, desktop, laptop, tablet) which is also capable of running on generic hardware? You guys could make a killing. The real issue is you're lacking vision and ambition.

    1. Geoffrey W

      Ooooh yeah! Another Linux variant to add to the pile! Thing is, I can't actually tell if you're being sarcastic or not. Instinct tells me sarcastic but I can easily imagine your words being uttered in all earnestness by some wide eyed FOSS nerd. The digital world is a tricksy place to be

      1. VoiceOfTruth

        I agree, Geoffrey. Not sure if this is sarcasm. Cos there was a Firefox OS. It did not last long. It did take valuable developer resources away from the browser though.

  21. steviebuk Silver badge

    Been saying for a few years

    why has Microsoft not been hit with an anti trust case again just like in late 90s. Because its exactly the same issue. Search for any other broswer on Windows 10 or 11 and Microsoft intercept the search to put in the advert for their own Edge browser. And from the way its worded any one not into IT will read the message and choose Edge instead.

  22. adam payne

    ...and on mobile, it barely registers, according to StatCounter.

    I'm glad I can help them get there mobile offering to barely register.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Five Walled Gardens: Why

    can't we have Six?!

  24. Jamesit

    The any browser campaign is still active. https://anybrowser.org/campaign/

  25. TechW

    How Google gets you to install Chrome

    You ask how does Chrome get installed on so many Windows computers. Well, to a large degree people use Google for search. When you go to the Google webpage it asks if you want to install Chrome. Only Edge has this advantage on Windows. You're never asked if you want to switch your browser to Firefox, Brave, Opera, DuckDuckGo or any other so Edge and Chrome have a big advantage.

    I recommend Firefox as your primary browser with a few privacy add-ons and Edge with add-ons as a secondary browser to use at the infrequent times Firefox doesn't work on a Website. (I like DuckDuckGo and Brave for privacy as well)

  26. Arthur Kater :-D ☺

    "Google, Apple, and Mozilla are the only major browser engine makers left" is incorrect.

    "Google, Apple, and Mozilla are the only major browser engine makers left" is incorrect.

    Chromium, which is the browser engine used by Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and several others is not "made" or owned by Google. It's an open source project started by Google and contributed on by Google and many others (including a large contribution by Microsoft).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Google, Apple, and Mozilla are the only major browser engine makers left" is incorrect.

      it is fully driven by Google requirements about advertisement, like removing the ability of add-ons to block unwanted ads...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "Google, Apple, and Mozilla are the only major browser engine makers left" is incorrect.

        Erm... I've got ad blockers installed for FF and Edge...

  27. StrangerHereMyself Bronze badge

    Build your own

    So what did Mozilla do in response? They attempted to build their (mobile) operating system called FirefoxOS. Which got them burned and wasted hundreds of millions of dollars which might have been better spent improving Firefox.

    Mozilla should spent every dime they earn on rewriting the core of Firefox, whose age is nearing three decades. If one man can write a complete web browser from scratch (SerenityOS LadyBird Browser) why can't Mozilla? Preferably in Rust to increase development speed and reduce vulnerabilities.

    1. Dave Burton / sealevel info

      Re: Build your own

      Good points, but did Mozilla really spend "hundreds of millions of dollars" on that project?

  28. Dave Burton / sealevel info

    I'd love to switch to Firefox, if only...

    Like every red-blooded, patriotic American, I detest Google/Alphabet. Yet I still use Chrome as my primary browser. The reason is simply that there are some things which Chrome does better than Firefox.

    The most important is "text fragment links." They let you "deep link" directly to almost any snippet of text on a web page. It is an extremely useful feature, and Chrome has supported it for over 33 months, but Firefox STILL doesn't support it.

    I don't hate Firefox. In addition to Chrome, I also have Opera, Firefox, Vivaldi & a few others installed, and I use them occasionally (e.g., when accessing a social media site under an alternate ID). But Chrome remains my primary web browser.

    I would love to switch from Chrome to Firefox as my primary browser... if Firefox were as good as Chrome. Unfortunately, Firefox is not as good, and the Mozilla team seems uninterested in making a serious effort to solve that problem. They've had more than 33 months to implement text fragment links, and they still haven't bothered to do so.

    1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: I'd love to switch to Firefox, if only...

      Text fragments

      "This specification was published by the Web Platform Incubator Community Group. It is not a W3C Standard nor is it on the W3C Standards Track."

      So you are telling us that you want to be kept in Google walled garden forever...

      Like people keep saying: Google Chrome is the new IE 6.

      1. Dave Burton / sealevel info

        Re: I'd love to switch to Firefox, if only...

        Sometimes the W3C Standards folks get it wrong. Mozilla knows that, as proven by the fact that they still support useful but "non-standard" tags like NOBR and CENTER.

        Hmmm... testing:

        <center>Is this centered?</center>

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: I'd love to switch to Firefox, if only...

      "The most important is "text fragment links." They let you "deep link" directly to almost any snippet of text on a web page. It is an extremely useful feature, and Chrome has supported it for over 33 months, but Firefox STILL doesn't support it."

      This why some sites pop up messages telling you your latest release version $browser is not up to date. Because Chrome invents new "features" some good, some bad, which are not standards because they are big enough to not care about proposing new features. So we go back to "best viewed in Internet Exporer V6" because lazy web devs want the new shiny and can't be arsed to test on other browsers and take them into account.

  29. Norman Nescio Silver badge

    Drags?

    Maybe it's the new house style, or I have a glaring lacuna in my reading comprehension, but I have no idea what the story headline means.

    "Mozilla drags Microsoft, Google, Apple for obliterating any form of browser choice"

    What does drags mean in this context? A quick look through the definitions in Wiktionary:drags doesn't give me anything that seems appropriate.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Drags?

      Maybe it wants them to dress in womens loud clothes and tell raunchy jokes?

  30. Lis

    Dear Mozilla.

    I have 2 browsers on both my works machines and my personal machines. One of them being Firefox. Every time a new version comes out it is installed and I try it out for a few days. My employees sometimes do, but as they say they haven't time to prat around with it. (oddly they always have time to prat around on the games machines in the smoke room!)

    So if Firefox is so good, how come I always go back to my default browser, Safari? In fact why do I even bother anymore? And, whilst I am at it, where is the 3 click "clear history and all data caches installed by websites" routine I use on Safari?

    Whilst I could not in all honesty say Firefox is crap, I can say it maybe just isn't as good as other browsers. Face it, if it was everyone on this site at least would be using it.

    I rest my case.

    1. ThatOne Silver badge

      Re: Dear Mozilla.

      > where is the 3 click "clear history and all data caches installed by websites" routine I use on Safari?

      There is an extension for that (probably even more than one).

      The huge advantage of Firefox is in the extensions, which can do about anything anybody might need to do. Like inserting El Reg comment formatting tags for those too lazy to type code - can Safari do that?... :-D

      1. Lis

        Re: Dear Mozilla.

        @ThatOne

        I take your point, about extensions, but the "3 click thing" is built into safari. Apart from which, the only extension I need is an adblocker. I don't need anything else thank you.

        As for your "can Safari do that?" comment. I haven't the vaguest idea. Never having had the need to insert a formatting tag.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Dear Mozilla.

      "where is the 3 click "clear history and all data caches installed by websites" routine I use on Safari?"

      Shift-Ctrl-Del

  31. docmechanic

    Would you believe that someone on Hacker News flagged this this article when I shared it? Guesses as to whether it was a Google or Apple employee?

  32. Moochie

    Old Firefox fan

    From time to time I've checked out various browsers and have not found one that would improve my interactions with the web beyond what Firefox gives me. I've been using it for decades and reckon it's a good browser for people who want to retain some autonomy. Oh, a quick shout-out to DuckDuckGo - another great tool for browsing the web your way :)

  33. osmosis

    I use multiple browers. LibreWolf is a great alternative to Firefox. You can't beat the plugins you can find for Firefox frankly. For Chrome, use Brave to avoid Google as much as possible.

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