Mozilla increases its focus on mobile, a message for everybody?

My email client is  Mozilla Thunderbird. I have been using it pretty much from its launch about 8 years ago (launched on Dec 7, 2004). I have used various mail clients – Unix based Mail, mush and the first UI based client  Eudora (as early as 1993).

Eudora Email Client

Steve Dorner developed the “wonderful” Eudora, even during those days it worked on Windows and Mac.

Eudora had a free and paid version. In 1991 Qualcomm acquired Eudora (never understood how it was a fit) and the development of Eudora stopped in 2006. That forced me to look for a new email client as some features of Eudora was limiting me from doing few things. Can’t remember exactly what was missing in Eudora but I think while responding to emails rich text (tables etc) were not retained properly.

I always like to use the latest and greatest version of software. My colleague in US almost never upgraded his Eudora. He told me “BG – it works fine. I get an attachment, I open it, save it. I can compose an email, respond to an email, delete an email”. That showed how well Steve Dorner had planned his product. Kudos.

Eudora went opensource and Mozilla was going to develop it further. I selected Thunderbird thinking I could one day (or some year) come back to Eudora. I migrated all my Eudora email boxes into Thunderbird. And now we read Thunderbird development is going to stop!

Reasons for Thunderbird Development Coming to a Halt

From various blogs and mozilla’s releases it appears ‘mobile focus’ is the reason for stopping further active development of Thunderbird. They will have security releases but we can’t expect any major new features. I visited in my Firefox browser, I have included part of the screenshot of the main page,

Mozilla main page

If you observe carefully the ‘mobile tab’ is selected by default. Clearly Mozilla plans to focus a lot more on the mobile instead of the desktop platform. We keep reading about the exploding mobile user base across the world – this is one real example.

Mozilla is working on their new mobile operating system (Firefox OS) for low end smartphone devices of $50-$100. Would be interesting to see if they can compete with Android.

Alternatives to Thunderbird

What we have to see is if addon developers will continue developing for Thunderbird. After all these addons make tools like Firefox, Chrome and Thunderbird more useful.

I wouldn’t dump the Thunderbird ship so soon. I wouldn’t bank on new versions being released based on what happened to Eudora OSE – it never went past v1.0.

I would not want to go with Microsoft Outlook – it doesn’t even support the latest HTML tags that well. But if I have to migrate from Thunderbird I would look at Zimbra.


Looks like the development of any email client I use will stop some day. Don’t blame me later, I have forewarned you.

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