Firefox Mobile Is Doomed to Failure: 10 Reasons Why

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2013-07-04 Print this article Print

At long last, Mozilla’s Firefox mobile operating system is ready for show time. Mozilla announced on Jul. 1 that its partners, including Alcatel and ZTE, are ready to launch the first devices running the Web-based operating system. The company also promised that other mobile device makers would introduce products soon and that Firefox OS-based devices will appear on store shelves within the next several weeks. Still, the announcement failed to raise much enthusiasm. Save a few tech blogs here and there, most media outlets gave Mozilla’s announcement scant attention. What’s worse, the devices that don’t seem to be generating excitement among smartphone fans who have long become jaded by constant announcements about new handset models. At this stage Mozilla is simply another company arriving late to a mobile market that is currently dominated by Google Android and Apple’s iOS. And by the look of things, Mozilla’s efforts—like all the others—will fall short. The market isn’t looking for yet another mobile platform. Mozilla isn’t ready to fight a long and costly battle to win significant market share for Firefox OS. And Android and iOS are too powerful to be beaten any way. The slide show shows why Firefox OS is doomed to failure.

  • Firefox Mobile Is Doomed to Failure: 10 Reasons Why

    by Don Reisinger
    1 - Firefox Mobile Is Doomed to Failure: 10 Reasons Why
  • Current Smartphone Owners Won’t Be Impressed

    In order for Firefox OS to make an impact in the smartphone market, current owners of devices like Apple’s iPhone and the Samsung Galaxy S 4 must be impressed. However, the operating system is less powerful than Android or iOS and the device designs lack high-end specifications already available in other mobile platforms. So, customers won’t be impressed at all.
    2 - Current Smartphone Owners Won’t Be Impressed
  • Is More Open Source Really So Much Better?

    Mozilla is basing its sales pitch on the idea that customers will want an operating system that’s more open source than Android. Google’s operating system might be open source, says Mozilla that unlike Firefox OS, the Android code is not freely available. As true as that might be, who really cares other than a handful of smartphone makers and developers?
    3 - Is <i>More</i> Open Source Really So Much Better?
  • A Web-Based OS Is A Big Question Mark

    Mozilla's Firefox OS is based on the principle that people are increasingly using the Web for all of their computing needs, and therefore, an operating system should be offered that appeals to those needs. What the company forgets, however, is that an always-on Web connection isn't necessarily available in some parts around the world. The Internet might be ubiquitous in some countries, but in emerging markets where Firefox OS might have the best chance of succeeding, the Web-based functionality could prove to be an issue.
    4 - A Web-Based OS Is A Big Question Mark
  • The Devices Aren't Exactly iPhone Competitors

    The ZTE Open and the Alcatel One Touch have nothing on the iPhone 5. In fact, the devices, which boast markedly obsolete specifications and relatively ugly designs, cannot hold a candle to even the less-popular Android-based smartphones on the market, let alone the high-end Galaxy S 4 or Apple's iPhone. Until Firefox OS can accommodate high-end products, it'll have a hard time grabbing consumer attention.
    5 - The Devices Aren't Exactly iPhone Competitors
  • Better Vendors Need to Get Into the Mix

    Although Alcatel and ZTE are fairly important players in some regions around round the world, they don't have a big presence in North America. For Firefox OS to become a serious mobile market contender, Mozilla needs to sign up makes such as Samsung or even HTC. Those are the brands that the largest number of people respect, which would help sell Firefox OS devices.
    6 - Better Vendors Need to Get Into the Mix
  • The App Catch-Up Game Will Be A Problem

    Mozilla has done a nice job promoting the applications that will be available with Firefox OS, including popular games and Facebook and Twitter, but the company's application marketplace will be light years behind the App Store and the Google Play marketplace in terms of the quantity of apps. That's a huge issue for Firefox OS, and something that Mozilla must address if it wants to even come close to matching its competitors.
    7 - The App Catch-Up Game Will Be A Problem
  • Consumer Awareness Is Lacking

    Ask a typical consumer what they know about Firefox OS, and chances are, they won't even know what you're talking about. Mozilla has done an extremely poor job of educating the consumer base about the development of Firefox OS. Education is central to a platform's success. Yet, Mozilla missed the boat on that key factor. It's a shame.
    8 - Consumer Awareness Is Lacking
  • Enterprise Adoption Will Likely Never Happen

    The enterprise is one of the main reasons Android and iOS continue to gain ground in the mobile space. The Bring Your Own Device craze is taking off around the world, and IT decision-makers are realizing that allowing these mobile platforms into the office isn't such a bad idea. But Firefox OS is less powerful, designed for consumers and has hardly any enterprise-friendly features. That it will never appeal to the corporate world is a huge issue for the platform.
    9 - Enterprise Adoption Will Likely Never Happen
  • There's Nothing Special Enough

    Nothing nowadays is unique in the mobile space. It seems as if every single feature in every device is based on something available elsewhere. Still, some companies, like Samsung and Apple, are able to deliver some enhancements and features that make their products special. Looking at Firefox OS, it doesn't have that special something to attract customers. It will fail without that special quality.
    10 - There's Nothing Special Enough
  • It's Not Trying to Slay the Dragons

    Mozilla itself has said that it's not trying to be the next Android or iOS, but to offer an alternative to customers that don't want those platforms. That mentality is all wrong. Android should be squarely in Mozilla's sights. The operating system appeals to customers in developed countries as well as those in emerging markets. Plus, it runs on many types of devices and is very popular with devices makers as well as their customers. If Mozilla wants to win any significant market share of its own it has to try to chip away at Android, the other open source mobile OS.
    11 - It's Not Trying to Slay the Dragons

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