Almost exactly one year ago, Mozilla announced it was ending its work on a Firefox smartphone OS to focus on Internet of Things (IoT) related projects. Yesterday, Mozilla laid off the reported 50 remaining employees on its Connected Devices team once responsible for that operating system.
Mozilla confirmed the layoffs, though not the specific number, in a statement to CNET, and said:
“We have shifted our internal approach to the internet-of-things opportunity to step back from a focus on launching and scaling commercial products to one focused on research and advanced development, dissolving our connected devices initiative and incorporating our internet-of-things explorations into an increased focus on emerging technologies.”
Mozilla has been losing market share to Google’s Chrome web browser in recent years and has been making move to try and maintain relevancy when users are increasingly searching on mobile — an area where Google is far stronger. Mozilla is said to now be venturing into the AR and VR space, as well as investing in IoT projects, but is also focusing on its next generation web engine venture: Project Quantum.
With Project Quantum, Mozilla is aiming to deliver a “quantum leap” in browser performance. “The resulting engine will power a fast and smooth user experience on both mobile and desktop operating systems,” wrote David Bryant, Head of Platform Engineering at Mozilla in a post on Medium. “We are striving for performance gains from Quantum that will be so noticeable that your entire web experience will feel different. Pages will load faster, and scrolling will be silky smooth.”
Mozilla says the results of Project Quantum will start arriving to users by the end of 2017.
I would have liked to have seen Firefox create some serious competition on mobile and I’m disappointed with how the situation panned out. That said, I’m excited by the prospect of Mozilla rejuvenating its Firefox browser and putting some pressure on Google to up its Chrome game.
What are your thoughts on Mozilla’s layoffs and future prospects? Let us know in the comments.