Mozilla scraps Firefox for Windows 8's Modern UI interface

Wow. So, remember how, after almost two years of development, Firefox for Windows 8's Modern UI interface reached beta status last month? Well, don't expect a 1.0 release. Mozilla has scrapped development and decided to focus on the desktop version of Firefox, instead.

According to Firefox VP Johnathan Nightingale, Mozilla began developing the Modern UI version out of fear of getting "locked out" of the "next battleground for the Web." The organization, it seems, expected Microsoft to push Windows 8's new interface aggressively—much more aggressively than it wound up doing.

"In the months since," writes Nightingale, "as the team built and tested and refined the product, we've been watching Metro's adoption. From what we can see, it's pretty flat. On any given day we have, for instance, millions of people testing pre-release versions of Firefox desktop, but we've never seen more than 1000 active daily users in the Metro environment."

In the end, Nightingale says it makes more sense to refocus development on the desktop version of Firefox than to push ahead with Modern UI. For one thing, user testing hasn't been sufficient to guarantee a reasonably bug-free 1.0 release. Also, Nightingale says he wants his team to concentrate "in places where we can reach more people."

Yeah, I won't argue with that. It's still kind of sad, though—and not just for Firefox, but also for the Modern UI interface itself. It's not everyday you see developers abandon such a new and high-profile platform out of sheer lack of interest.

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