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Mozilla Attacks Microsoft Browser Strategy on ARM

Mozilla says that Microsoft will only allow IE to run in Windows RT, the version of Windows that will run on ARM computers. The scenario is reminiscent to a time when Microsoft tightly integrated IE into Windows 95/98, which eventually led to an antitrust lawsuit against the company that almost resulted in the breakup of the company.

Only the "Classic" environment of Windows RT is apparently affected, but Mozilla cries foul and says that Windows on ARM, "as currently designed", does not allow user choice, "reduces competition and chills innovation." Mozilla's General Counsel Harvey Anderson noted in a blog post:

"Windows on ARM prohibits any browser except for Internet Explorer from running in the privileged Windows Classic environment. In practice, this means that only Internet Explorer will be able to perform many of the advanced computing functions vital to modern browsers in terms of speed, stability, and security to which users have grown accustomed. Given that IE can run in Windows on ARM, there is no technical reason to conclude other browsers can’t do the same."

Windows RT Classic is believed to be a heavily restricted mode, in which only Microsoft code can be executed. Given the target market of Windows RT and especially entry-level notebooks that may not include touch screen support that can run the Metro interface, software vendors such as Mozilla may, in fact, be locked out of a substantial market. Firefox product manager Asa Dotzler explained that a Metro browser "does not have the APIs necessary to compete with IE or any other modern browser. On x86, Microsoft has given browser vendors the same privileges and APIs that IE uses. They have not done this on ARM."

Mozilla's only opportunity to offer Firefox is as a Metro app in a sandbox and cannot access Win32 APIs. Only Microsoft will be able to access both Metro and Classic features on ARM, Mozilla said. As the entry-level notebook market is shifting, this could turn into a tremendous problem for Mozilla, especially if Google is gaining traction with Chrome OS and locks out Mozilla from running Firefox on top of Chrome as well.

Anderson said that Mozilla encourages "Microsoft to remain firm on its user choice principles. Excluding 3rd party browsers contradicts Microsoft’s own published principles that users and developers have relied upon for years. These principles represented a Microsoft market approach that was both notable and went above and beyond their DOJ antitrust settlement obligations."

  • mayne92
    I never planned to upgrade to Windows 8 full time anyways. Wouldn't surprise me M$ do this anyways but hey, whatever. If I didn't have to I wouldn't be working in Windoze anyways.
    Reply
  • stephenkendrick
    Anyone who actually buys into Windows 8 is unlikely to have an awareness of alternative browsers, let alone a will or even the ability to download and install one, whether on ARM or Intel. I wouldn't lose sleep over it, Mozilla...
    Reply
  • Zingam_Duo
    Hahaha Microsoft fanboys!
    Reply
  • damianrobertjones
    So... what browsers can you use on the iPad?
    Reply
  • damianrobertjones
    "Mozilla's only opportunity to offer Firefox is as a Metro app in a sandbox and cannot access Win32 APIs."

    Well... all i can say is, "It's about bloody time that something like this happened!" I'm sick to death of companies making software that doesn't follow the rules or leaves behind services after you un-install (I'm looking at YOU Chrome!).

    Either way Firefox will still probably be available in a safe format and I've zero issue with this.


    However... stuff like this makes for great articles that create spin
    Reply
  • Hatecrime69
    stephenkendrickAnyone who actually buys into Windows 8 is unlikely to have an awareness of alternative browsers, let alone a will or even the ability to download and install one, whether on ARM or Intel. I wouldn't lose sleep over it, Mozilla... it's not the point that the user is too dumb not to use ie, it's the fact there will be no choice at all, they have a very good reason to be worried
    Reply
  • damianrobertjones
    They will have choice.... Firefox will be available like ANY OTHER app via the metro interface. They must play by the rules and Windows RT is NOT WIndows 8... what does Mozilla expect?
    Reply
  • AMD X6850
    Tom's seems to have left out that Google is also "attacking" Microsoft's browser strategy.

    "Extent of ban is unclear, but Google and Mozilla are outraged, say Microsoft is promoting a monopoly"
    http://www.dailytech.com/article.aspx?newsid=24661
    Reply
  • Miharu
    I don't agree on the point "user having choice".
    It's merly based on the point that you have an OS "allow competition" or "it's closed system".

    Apple introduced an "closed system" and didn't be beat to the death by lawsuit.
    He also block application doing the same thing that his OS do.
    Basicly any applications can be block because Apple decide to add a similar feature to his OS new version.
    (It's why I hate so much Apple, that doesn't make sense to me.)

    So did Microsoft can make a step behind and "closed a little bit more his OS" ? Surely.
    DOJ can't do nothing in that, DOJ have to completely destroy the Apple model before doing something with this.

    It's just bad that Mozilla get cut because Apple closed system and succes.
    Reply
  • I just run Linux. In a world without boundaries, who needs windows and gates.... Or walled i-Gardens :-D
    Reply