Mozilla has announced that it will stop the development of the Thunderbird email client: the announcement notes that stability, not innovation is the most important factor for the team and the users.
Thunderbird will therefor be provided with security releases in the Extended Support Release process, but no new features will be developed for the email client by the Mozilla team: that innovation part is left to the user community itself.
Some users are saddened by this news, as they don’t trust the cloud based email services that companies like Google (with Gmail) and Microsoft (with Windows Live Hotmail) offer. The email client has about 20 million users: quite a bit smaller than the current biggest web client, Gmail with 425 million. Nevertheless, 20 million is a big number when it comes to an open source, non-promoted piece of software.
The Mozilla development team will be putting their focus on innovation in other products: one of those is the highly anticipated Firefox OS, coming to smartphones early 2013.