Mozilla's Firefox browser just achieved a milestone today: It became the first "major" web browser to make its way to the Microsoft Store for both the Windows 10 and Windows 11 operating systems. Mozilla has played a sort of cat and mouse game with Microsoft in the past, particularly when it comes to default browser shenanigans in Windows 11. However, the two companies seem to have buried the hatchet with this latest move.
"Previously, if you were on Windows and wanted to use Firefox, you had to download it from the internet and go through a clunky process from Microsoft," said Mozilla in a statement. In addition, before July 2021, Microsoft prevented browsers using an independent engine from appearing in the Microsoft Store. With the July policy update, both Chromium and Gecko (Firefox's browser engine) are permitted within the Microsoft Store. Interestingly, Chromium also underpins the dominant Chrome browser, but Google has yet to bring its browser to the Microsoft Store.
"Now that Microsoft has changed its Store policies, choosing Firefox as your desktop browser is even more seamless — and it comes with all the latest Firefox features," Mozilla continued. "People deserve choice and we're glad there is an easier option to download Firefox on Windows."
Mozilla says that Windows users will now be able to easily see the benefits of Firefox and take advantage of the following features:
- Strong privacy protections with Total Cookie Protection, Enhanced Tracking Protection, and DNS over HTTPS
- Lightning fast site loading and display using WebRender and Quantum CSS
- Discovering more of the web quicker and smarter with Firefox Suggest
- Taking control of your entertainment with Multi Picture-in-Picture
- Personalizing your experience with seasonal Colorways.
Firefox's new home in the Microsoft Store comes almost two months after Mozilla reverse-engineered Microsoft's "one-click" method for setting the default browser in Windows 11. Microsoft previously only gave its homegrown Edge browser the ability to take on default status with a single click. For users with third-party browsers, it was a more cumbersome process involving navigating to Settings and changing individual file associations (i.e., HTM, HTML, PDF, SHTML, SVG, WEBP, XHT, XHTML, FTP, HTTP, and HTTPS).
"People should have the ability to simply and easily set defaults, but they don't. All operating systems should offer official developer support for default status so people can easily set their apps as default," a Mozilla spokesperson told The Verge back in September. "Since that hasn't happened on Windows 10 and 11, Firefox relies on other aspects of the Windows environment to give people an experience similar to what Windows provides to Edge when users choose Firefox to be their default browser."
You can download Firefox for Windows 10 or Windows 11 by directly visiting the Microsoft Store.