Ever since the launch of Apple’s iPhone, there has been a noteworthy omission of a certain browser in the App Store. It’s none other than Mozilla Firefox. The company Mozilla had refrained from launching an iOS version of its browser due to Apple’s strict rules. However, sinking market share in recent years has forced it to reconsider its stance. Mozilla on Thursday launched Firefox for iOS. The company aims to crack the mobile market with this launch.
Last year, Lukas Blakk, the then release manager for Firefox had tweeted “We need to be where our users are so we’re going to get Firefox on iOS.”
“Firefox for iOS lets you take your favorite browser with you wherever you go with the Firefox features you already love,” said Nick Nguyen, vice president of Firefox, in a post to a company blog.
Engineers at Mozilla were working on the iOS version of the browser since last December. Mozilla had launched the Android version of the browser in 2011 and it has gained limited traction. The user share of Firefox in the mobile browser market was less than 1%. Safari and Chrome rule the browser segment with 41% and 37% market share respectively.
The Firefox browser for personal computers is Mozilla’s primary revenue generator and accounts for over 90% of its revenue. Firefox on personal computers shed 6.4 percentage points of user share in 2014, losing 35% of its user share during those 12 months. So far in 2015, the browser has lost another six-tenths of a percentage point, ending October at 11.3%, the lowest mark since August 2006.
There will be no performance advantage over the default Safari browser for Firefox on iOS because of Apple’s rules, but Mozilla hopes that fans of its desktop browser will use the iOS version to synchronize bookmarks, tabs and site passwords between there and an iPhone or iPad.
Firefox for iOS is available for download from the App Store.