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Firefox Banned from ARM-based Windows
Microsoft Rekindles Browser Wars

 6:33 am on May 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

Today, Mozilla's top lawyer warned that Microsoft's behavior threatens a repeat of history, because it's telling Mozilla that it's barring Firefox from forthcoming Windows 8 machines that use ARM processors.

Overall, it looks like Microsoft is taking pages from the Apple playbook. On iOS, Apple permits only its WebKit browser engine to be used for Web apps and Web pages. That can simplify life for Web developers racing to adapt to mobile browsing -- but other browsers suffer.

I think Firefox misses the point that phones are mostly turnkey appliances and there's an issue with battery life. But the flip side is if someone decides to install an aftermarket browser that compromises the battery life, why should MS really care?

I don't think the real battle will be over browsers specifically, but it will be how much total control users are going to get over their mobile devices. This will be kind of like how Nook tries to stop you from using anything outside of their Nook marketplace and the war B&N is currently waging with customers that root the device.

Then again, once MS starts clamping down on browsers on mobile devices, what's to stop them from attempting to do the same nonsense on the desktop?

Give them an inch...



 8:40 am on May 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

To use your example, Apple limited access to 3rd party browsers on iOS for a while, but they haven't made moves to do the same on the Mac OS... ;P

Limiting the browsers that Windows RT will support from the outset may help developers. If there's enough groundswell I'm sure MS will allow other browsers eventually, but it will probably only complicate the app development process.


 7:56 pm on May 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

I think both MS and Apple will clamp down on many applications on the desktop. They are both pushing locked downapp stores for desktop. Apple continue to ban anything that competes with them on iOS, so I do not believe it has anything to do with battery life - in any case does the mobile version of FF use more power than IE?

Also, its not just phones, this OS is for tablets, and maybe low end netbooks, and those are not just turnkey appliances (and I think even phones are becoming less so).

Good news for Apple and MS, as their control on the software market on the platforms increases and it becomes accepted as the new norm, bad news for other software vendors and customers.


 8:11 pm on May 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

People want Firefox as an option so MS better deal with it or the net will be plastered with unlock guides, again.

[edited by: Sgt_Kickaxe at 8:22 pm (utc) on May 10, 2012]


 8:19 pm on May 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

What about anti-trust issues? Microsoft has faced them many times with IE in the past and they dominate the browser market more so than Safari. If anything, it would prevent them from doing the same for the Desktop, but they may be able to get away with it for the mobile version.


 8:23 pm on May 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

Pshaw, Anderson said. "I trust Firefox before I trust IE. That's one of the key reasons Firefox took off."


 2:27 am on May 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

Windows RT is not the same as regular desktop Windows. This is a specific version of the OS that works on tablets, where MS is far from the market leader. The calls for anti-trust don't apply here. I don't see any calls for anti-trust as market leader Apple doesn't have Firefox on iOS, nor do I see it on the Chrome OS.

Taking a page from the Apple and Google playbooks in the tablet market, they're going to be using a centralized app store. That seems to be the model everyone uses for the tablet market. Hopefully, like Apple, they will eventually allow a way that 3rd party apps like Firefox will be ported over.


 1:42 pm on May 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

App stores are finding their way to the desktop.

OSX now has an App store. Windows 8 will have an App Store. Linux has had them for a while.

MS may face anti-trust issues, on the desktop, but not on the tablet. Once Apple etc. establish a precedent, and everyone is used to Windows App store, it will become the new norm and MS may be able to argue that most consumers will not benefit from being able to install software in other ways.


 5:12 pm on May 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

MS is being investigated by the EU over this:

[theverge.com ]


 7:19 pm on Jun 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

Somewhat old (in Internet Time) and I don't know if there's been a reponse to it, but: Mozilla's hypocrisy: It's OK for Apple to block Firefox, but wrong when Microsoft does it [blogs.computerworld.com]

How's this for hypocrisy: Mozilla says that Apple banning Firefox from iPads and iPhones is no problem, but Microsoft restricting the browser from using some features on some Windows 8 tablets may be illegal.

Apple bans Firefox completely from iOS, while in the upcoming Windows 8, Firefox won't be allowed to access certain features of some Windows tablets, those that run on ARM chips. Firefox will be allowed full access to the PC version of Windows 8, and to Windows 8 tablets running Intel chips.



 10:55 am on Jun 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

Not hypocritical: Apple and MS are doing different things for different reasons. I do not think either should do this, but there are legal and practical differences.

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