I feel bad for Mozilla, I really do. Competitors and the march of time are closing in quicker than it can raise its defenses. Her crown jewel,Firefox, is feeling the squeeze asChrome encroaches on its hard-won territory and mobile offensives have proven largely fruitless. This leaves Mozilla in an awkward position: that of out-of-touch industry stalwart. Being late to the mobile game and Apple's reluctance to open up iOS to third-party browsers has left the company boxed in. (Developers can create browsers for iOS so long as they use thesame rendering engine as Safari -- a deal breaker for the Gecko-based Firefox.)
Mozilla has responded by borrowing a page from the Google (Chrome)book: build an operating system that is essentially nothing more than a browser. Firefox OS is yet another mobile platform built entirely on HTML5 that treats websites as apps. In fact, websites are the "apps" -- there is no such thing as native code. And while there are legitimate arguments for such a model, I've yet to see it convincingly executed. We've caught glimpses of Mozilla's smartphone offspring before, but Mobile World Congress 2013 was really the proper coming out party. Finally we've been given a chance to touch it, see it action and peek at the hardware it'll be running on. Unfortunately, at this cotillion, Mozilla failed to make a good case for anyone to court its debutante.