Mozilla product director says Firefox on Window RT 'probably not worth it'

'No sane user' will want to use IE10 rivals if Microsoft doesn't open APIs on Windows for ARM devices

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At that time, Microsoft issued some basic documentation that put browsers in a special category on Windows 8, and showed how developers could access the Win32 APIs from Metro versions of their applications.

Mozilla and Google, which makes Chrome, have both said they will create a browser that runs in the Metro environment on Windows 8; those Metro-app versions will call the Win32 APIs from the traditional desktop side of the OS.

Dotzler argued that Microsoft should do the same in Windows RT.

"Microsoft can solve this problem for Windows on ARM the exact same way they solved it for Windows on Intel. They can give third-party browsers the same access they give Internet Explorer," said Dotzler.

Microsoft has repeatedly declined to comment on Mozilla's allegations concerning API access in Windows RT. Google has said it stands with Mozilla on the issue.

European Union antitrust regulator have made it clear that Windows 8 must abide by a 2009 deal that requires the operating system to offer users a choice of browsers other than IE. Those regulators, however, but have not made the same assertion for Windows RT.

By the language of the landmark settlement Microsoft reached in 2002 with the U.S. Department of Justice, Microsoft may be free to ban access to Win32 APIs in Windows RT, as the settlement repeatedly limited the deal to "Intel-compatible PCs."

Microsoft stepped out from under most U.S. government scrutiny related to the case in 2007.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at  @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His email address is gkeizer@computerworld.com.

See more by Gregg Keizer on Computerworld.com.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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