Mozilla today announced that it will shutter two products: Firefox Send, the free file transfer service it already put on hiatus in July, and Firefox Notes, its note-taking extension and mobile app.
Firefox Send launched in March 2019. At the time, Mozilla described it as a file-sharing tool with a focus on privacy. That privacy is also what is now doing it in. When it paused the service earlier this year, the company said it was investigating reports of abuse, especially from malware groups. At the time, Mozilla said it was looking into how it could improve its abuse reporting capabilities and that it would add a requirement that users have a Firefox Account.
But instead of relaunching it, the organization decided to shutter the service instead.
“Firefox Send was a promising tool for encrypted file sharing,” the organization writes in today’s update. “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. This summer we took Firefox Send offline to address this challenge. In the intervening period, as we weighed the cost of our overall portfolio and strategic focus, we made the decision not to relaunch the service.”
Mozilla says that Firefox Notes was initially meant to be an experiment for testing new ways to sync encrypted data. “Having served that purpose, we kept the product as a little utility tool for Firefox and Android users,” Mozilla says, but it is now decommissioning it and shutting it down completely in early November.
It’s hard not to look at today’s announcement in the context of the overall challenges that Mozilla is going through. If the organization were in a better financial position — and hadn’t laid off around 25% of its staff this year — it may have kept Notes alive and maybe tried to rework Send. Now, however, it has fewer options to experiment, especially with free services, as it tries to refocus on Firefox and a few other core projects.