Mozilla hates Microsoft for limits in Windows RT (Win 8 on ARM)

Mozilla is criticizing Microsoft because of the API restrictions it's imposed in Windows RT. Windows 8 on ARM won't allow Firefox and other non-IE browsers to run on the desktop. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers wonder if this is an anti-trust violation.

[Update: Or perhaps it's OK, because 'Windows RT' isn't actually 'Windows'?]

By Richi Jennings: Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment. Not to mention: Incredibox...

    Gregg Keizer reports:

Mozilla's...beef stems from Microsoft's decision to deny other browser makers...access to APIs...necessary to run a browser on Windows RT's conventional desktop. ... [It] will offer a Metro mode that features touch-based apps. ... But it also includes a heavily-restricted "desktop" mode that will run only Microsoft code...[such as] Word, Excel, PowerPoint...[and] Internet Explorer.


Steven Sinofsky, Microsoft's top Windows executive, earlier this year...[seemed to say] that the RT desktop mode was off limits to other vendors' code. ... Mozilla sees Microsoft hindering browser rivals.   

     Ian Paul adds:

That means IE will be able to ways that competing browsers can't, giving...IE a leg up in terms of speed, stability and security, [said] Mozilla...echoing issues that sparked the...antitrust battle with the U.S. government more than a decade ago.


Microsoft has not responded. ... [If] accurate [this] could give the company an unfair advantage.   

Mozilla's Asa Dotzler rants and raves:

Microsoft is trying to lock out competing browsers...on ARM chips. IE is allowed there but not Firefox...or any other competitive browser.


Microsoft gives IE access to special [private] APIs absolutely necessary for building a modern there's no way another browser can possibly compete. ... This is in direct violation of the promises they made to developers, users, and documents which mysteriously disappeared from Microsoft's site -- remember this? I sure do..   

But Preston Gralla gets grumpy:

Mozilla and Google are crying "foul." Do the restrictions really matter?


Microsoft claims that it needs to restrict access...for security and performance reasons [so] only a few apps get access. ... I don't completely buy Microsoft's reasoning -- after all, on Windows 8...other apps are allowed to run on the desktop.


However, I also don't think that banning...other browsers from the RT desktop will make a difference to browser market share. ... [Of] the people who do use Windows tablets, only a very small percentage would...switch their default browser.   

  However, Woody Leonhard says it's not as simple as that:

[I'm] struck by two facts. First, Microsoft told us back in February that third-party browsers won't be allowed [on the desktop]'s really old news. Second, until we know exactly which APIs Microsoft...blocks with other browsers, we don't really know the extent of the damage. ... At this point the whole episode's just sound and fury.


[Supposedly] Microsoft Deputy General Counsel David Heiner told Mozilla that "Windows RT... isn't Windows anymore." ... I agree with him 100 percent. ... Windows RT isn't Windows. ... No more than, say, Apple's OS X is Unix.


"Windows" -- as Microsoft uses the term now -- is just a brand...(Shall I recall the extended Windows Live debacles?)   


And Finally...
[hat tip: Veronica Belmont]

Don't miss out on IT Blogwatch:

Richi Jennings, your humble blogwatcher

Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. He's the creator and main author of Computerworld's IT Blogwatch, for which he has won ASBPE and Neal awards. He also writes The Long View for IDG Enterprise. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can read Richi's full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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