Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Free Article Join Over 1 Million Premium Members And Get More In-Depth Stock Guidance and Research

Firefox Is Dead to Me

By Tim Beyers - Updated Apr 6, 2017 at 1:53PM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

The old browser was good while it lasted, but no longer.

The browser wars matter, tech investors.

They matter because the browser is the gateway to cloud computing; it's where an increasing amount of applications processing is taking place through technologies like JavaScript. Firefox used to be good at this, but lately, old red has been showing its age.

A surprising switch
Yesterday, the Mozilla Foundation, which governs the development and upkeep of Firefox, patched five known flaws in older versions of its browser. Three of the flaws were deemed critical, Computerworld reports. The newest edition of Firefox, 3.6, didn't suffer from these issues.

And yet I didn't upgrade. Plug-ins I had come to depend on weren't ready for Firefox 3.6 when I first thought about moving to the new browser edition earlier this month. Around the same time, Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) unveiled an upgraded beta version of its Chrome browser for Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL) Mac OS X.

Two hours of testing later, I switched to Chrome as my default browser, and I'm not going back.

This wasn't planned. Not entirely, anyway. I'd been holding onto Firefox because I've found it to be more stable than the youthful Chrome and fast enough to perform most Web duties satisfactorily. No longer.

The new edition of Chrome for the Mac is not only faster than my edition of Firefox, but it needed no plug-ins to handle my tricked-out versions of Gmail and Google Calendar.

Grinding gears
More broadly, Firefox's advantage is also its issue. Developers have been happy to treat the browser as its own platform, where plug-ins had become like software applications.

Now, much of this same functionality -- software and services that have allowed Firefox to gradually steal market share from Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT) Internet Explorer -- is making its way into the new HTML5 Web standard, which is designed to make Web-accessible software as feature-rich as any desktop equivalent. Chrome is adopting HTML5 natively.

That has ramifications. Last week, Google said in a blog post that would it stop development on a key plug-in called Gears, which is functionally similar to Adobe's (Nasdaq: ADBE) AIR in that it allows me to work with some Web-driven applications while disconnected. Why the change? HTML5.

A stiff-arm from Mr. Softy
If Microsoft has been slow to adopt HTML5, it's because the standard makes a browser more like an OS. That's good for Google, which plans an OS based on the Chrome browser, and bad for Mr. Softy, which only now is getting its mojo back with Windows 7.

Firefox is stuck in between. On the one hand, it's been the platform, the browser that demonstrated just how powerful Web-based computing could be. On the other, it's now the old boy. A standard-bearer giving away to a technical standard.

This isn't the end for Firefox, of course. If anything, the cloud-computing era means more, not less, opportunity for creative, functional browsers such as Firefox. But HTML5 support is likely to be the key. With Chrome, Google is moving faster than most.

Is cloud computing technology factoring into your investing decisions? Discuss using the comment box below.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis – even one of our own – helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

Alphabet Inc. Stock Quote
Alphabet Inc.
GOOGL
$2,840.03 (-0.68%) $-19.29
Microsoft Corporation Stock Quote
Microsoft Corporation
MSFT
$323.01 (-1.97%) $-6.48
Apple Inc. Stock Quote
Apple Inc.
AAPL
$161.84 (-1.17%) $-1.92
Adobe Inc. Stock Quote
Adobe Inc.
ADBE
$616.53 (-8.24%) $-55.35

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning service.

Stock Advisor Returns
640%
 
S&P 500 Returns
139%

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 12/03/2021.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Our Most Popular Articles

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with the Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from the Motley Fool's premium services.