Mozilla shutters Firefox Send, Notes due to malware abuse

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Did Google destroy Firefox?

Even the world’s largest companies struggle to get some of their products off the ground. Other times, those products are mired by issues that aren’t the company’s fault. Mozilla is currently experiencing the latter.

The web giant announced on Thursday that it is shutting down two products—Firefox Send and Firefox Notes. Although neither one is that popular, it’s a noteworthy development because of why the services are getting shuttered.

Mozilla says that the change is due to a refocusing of priorities. However, Firefox Send was originally shut down last March due to the fact that it was constantly abused by malware groups.

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A spokesperson told ZDNet, “Both services are being decommissioned and will no longer be a part of our product family.”

End of an Era

Of the two products being discontinued, Firefox Send was definitely more popular. The free file-sharing service let users send and receive encrypted files.

Unfortunately, malware groups ruined the service for everyone. When Mozilla shut down Send last March, it promised that it would be temporary and that a fix was in the works. Just a few weeks later, the company laid off more than 250 employees in an effort to refocus on its commercial business.

Obviously, a fix never arrived for Firefox Send. That’s because the staff that was meant to work on the tool was either let go or re-tasked to another division inside the company.

In a statement, Mozilla says, “Firefox Send was a promising tool for encrypted file sharing. Send garnered good reach, a loyal audience and real signs of value throughout its life. Unfortunately, some abusive users were beginning to use Send to distribute malware and as part of spear phishing attacks… as we weighed the cost of our overall portfolio and strategic focus, we made the decision not to relaunch the service.”

No More Notes

Firefox Notes is a slightly different story. It was originally launched as a tool for users wanting to save and sync encrypted notes between their desktop and mobile Firefox browsers. For the same reasons mentioned above—minus the malware abuse—Notes is going away.

Mozilla will decommission the service in late October or early November. However, current users aren’t totally out of luck. The company’s statement reads, “The Firefox Notes desktop browser extension will remain available for existing installs and we will include an option to export all notes, however it will no longer be maintained by Mozilla and will no longer be installable.”

Though Thursday’s decisions aren’t popular, they do reflect Mozilla’s current landscape. The company is facing many challenges in an era where its web browsing tools are falling behind the likes of Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge. If it hadn’t laid off so many employees last year, Notes might still be alive. Likewise, it probably would have found a fix for Firefox Send.

Sadly, that isn’t the case. Mozilla now has an opportunity to refocus its efforts on Firefox and some of its other core products. With its back against the wall, it will be interesting to see how the company responds.

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