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Mozilla fights to keep users with new Firefox for Windows 10

Gregg Keizer | Aug. 12, 2015
Mozilla today released a Windows 10 version of Firefox, making good on a pledge last month to get something in users' hands as soon as possible after the debut of the new OS.

Those instructions consisted of several steps, one of CEO Beard's complaints, that required the user to confirm they wanted Firefox as the default when it was first launched, then to make the unintuitive move to click on "Microsoft Edge" in the ensuing Settings pane to open a list of rivals before explicitly selecting Firefox.

A side effect of fixing Firefox as the default browser is that the search bar embedded in Windows 10's taskbar is also switched to Mozilla's pick for that market. In the U.S., for example, tapping Firefox as the default also changes the taskbar search from Microsoft's Bing default to Yahoo, Mozilla's domestic search provider partner since late last year.

Other changes in Firefox not limited to the Windows 10 version ranged from better detection of potentially malicious downloads, to the beginnings of an effort to crack down on dodgy add-ons. On the former, Mozilla continued to rely on Google's Safe Browsing API (application programming interface) to power its malware sniffer; the add-on campaign, just underway, will ultimately disable any add-on not certified and digitally signed by Mozilla.

Mozilla has to do whatever it can to hold onto its current user base, which has shrunk significantly in the last two years. As of the end of July, Firefox accounted for about 12 percent of the browsers used that month worldwide. A year prior, Firefox's user share stood at 15.5 percent; in mid-2013 it was 18.3 percent.


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