Mozilla Blames Microsoft, Says They Block Other Browsers

By | May 10, 2012

Mozilla Blames Microsoft, Says They Block Other Browsers

Forgets about the iPad.

Here is some drama for a Thursday night. In the tablet market where Apple pretty much dominates it with a healthy 90% market share mark (in terms of shipments), Mozilla decided to complain about no other than Microsoft, which, according to them, will not allow other browsers than IE to run in the Windows Classic mode on an ARM based, Windows RT OS.

However, what they fail to remember is the fact that Apple is the one who has monopoly now, yet, they don’t allow you to change the default web browser (aka) set it to anything but Safari.

Now, the software giant will obviously allow consumers to run the Firefox Metro, Chrome Metro or any other browser on the ARM tablet and this limitation is for the Windows Classic UI only, which, according to Microsoft’s attorney, David Heiner, is justified as “ARM processors, which power virtually all iOS, Android, and Windows Phone smartphones and tablets today, are different from the x86 chips that power PCs. The chips have new requirements for security and power management, and Microsoft is the only one who can meet those needs”.

Also, he pointed out that Windows RT is not Windows anymore and hey, it has exactly 0% of the market share. Still, Mozilla is said to be taking further action if issue is not addressed in the future.

Microsoft has also stated that you can’t install any traditional applications on Windows RT with the exception being Office 15 as developers are urged to use the new APIs and aim for a “modern” user experience. However, Windows 8 (x86) tablets will not have any of those restrictions.

What do you think?


Google, a company that does not allow anyone to install other browsers on their Chromebook, joins the party.

We share the concerns Mozilla has raised regarding the Windows 8 environment restricting user choice and innovation. We’ve always welcomed innovation in the browser space across all platforms and strongly believe that having great competitors makes us all work harder. In the end, consumers and developers benefit the most from robust competition.

Update 2:

Steven Sinofsky, the President of the Windows Division at Microsoft, also had some interesting things to say.

If we enabled the broad porting of existing code we would fail to deliver on our commitment to longer battery life, predictable performance, and especially a reliable experience over time. The conventions used by today’s Windows apps do not necessarily provide this, whether it is background processes, polling loops, timers, system hooks, startup programs, registry changes, kernel mode code, admin rights, unsigned drivers, add-ins, or a host of other common techniques.

[Via: TheVerge, Mozilla]

[Thanks, Ichann]

About (Author Profile)

Vygantas is a former web designer whose projects are used by companies such as AMD, NVIDIA and departed Westood Studios. Being passionate about software, Vygantas began his journalism career back in 2007 when he founded Having said that, he is also an adrenaline junkie who enjoys good books, fitness activities and Forex trading.

Comments (31)

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  1. Hiram says:

    Microsoft doesn’t even let you use a different web browser on the desktop environment of Windows RT. Apply simply doesn’t allow you to change the default browser – There’s a big difference here.

    • Windows RT is mostly designed for the Metro use, where MS allows you to use any browser you like.

      • Hiram says:

        I know that, the keyword here however is “mostly”, as some applications such as the built-in office suite can only be used in the desktop environment. Regardless of even that, I just don’t see as to why they would put in place this limitation, as I very much doubt that this would be as big a compromise as Microsoft claims it to be.

        • Updated the article with Sinofsky’s response.

          Also, Google does not allow any other browser on their Chromebook, everyone is mad at Microsoft but ignore other companies or that’s how it looks from my point of view :)

  2. Tiago Sá says:

    This is one of the big reasons Windows Phone is a total fail today.

    Mozilla spoke about this two years ago already. I’m surprised they’re acting so butthurt, to be honest.

    • Hiram says:

      They are probably “butthurt” because Windows RT can potentially become the most used tablet OS out there and they just aren’t willing to stand idly by and watch a potential market segment opportunity die before their very eyes.

    • Are you saying that WP did not gain much market share yet
      because they don’t allow alternative browsers? I disagree; the majority of
      consumers don’t even know what a web browser is.

      If you are talking about the overall experience, IE on WP7
      is much smoother and snappier than any other web browser on Android, it’s not that
      those browsers are bad, it’s just that Android is fundamentally flawed.

      See this for more details

      “The “root cause,” says Munn, is that “on iOS all UI rendering occurs in a dedicated UI thread with real-time priority.” In other words, when you touch an iPhone or iPad, all other processing cedes to your fingers’ whims. “On the other hand,” says Munn, “Android follows the traditional PC model of rendering occurring on the main thread with normal priority.”

      “In terms of system responsiveness, it is good, but not
      “groundbreaking” when compared to other fast Android handsets. I think that
      this is mainly an Android “thing”, so there’s not much that Samsung can do
      about this. Android 4.0 improved the UI responsiveness by quite a bit, but in
      my opinion, iOS and Windows Phone are still more responsive to user input.”

      This is why a 3 year old, single core cpu on WP7 feels
      faster than the quad core Samsung Galaxy S3 on Android, and the only way to fix
      this mess is to overwrite 500,000 of the apps in the Android market.

      • Mancho says:

        Wait.  Did you just try to demonstrate that IE on WP7 is “smoother and snappier” because iOS uses a dedicated UI thread and Android doesn’t?

        • Both WP and iOS do not suffer from this issue, which, at least for me, makes the overall experience unpleasant. I am not sure about 4S but after playing with 3G, it is not as smooth as WP7.5.

          So what I am trying to say is that browser itself have little to do with the global market share :)

  3. jayjam says:

    Apple was convicted of abusing monopoly powers? Source?

    • Where did you read that?

      • jayjam says:

        Comments like this:

        “Forgets about the iPad.”

        Microsoft was convicted of abusing monopoly power, so comparing it to Apple is silly. Apple doesn’t even have a monopoly.

          • jayjam says:

            Do they? And how big is the tablet market, and is Apple abusing its alleged monopoly there like Microsoft did with Windows?

          • There are probably more tablets than there were computers in 1994, when IE antritrust mess started.

            Yes, they do, they don’t allow anyone but webkit skins, unless you render outsite the ipad like opera mini

          • aThingOrTwo says:


            It’s not the number of tablets sold which matter. 
            It is the percentage of the market you control which is key.

            Even having a monopoly on a particular market is not illegal either, it still has to be proved you acted unlawfully to stifle or harm competition.

            Also Apple’s share of the tablet market is a shade under 70% and all forecasts indicate it will decrease. Microsoft controlled over 90% of the PC market, regardless of units shipped.

        • Przemysław Lib says:

           Yes Apple DO have monopoly.

          How many web browsers there are in Apple Store?


          (other must do different things then browsing net to get into it!)

        • Ichann says:

          i thought apple was the largest tech company now.

          They must have a monopoly somewhere right?

  4. Przemysław Lib says:

    Since article is almost one sided I will try add some more info and present what second side mean:

    1) WinRT (api that replace Win32API) DO NOT allow JIT compilators. So no fast JS on WinRT what-so-ever NOT from Mozilla NOT from Google
    2) JIT is used in Java, PyPy, JRuby, LuaJIT, etc. So NOT apps that are written in those technologies on WinRT! NO apps that embed those tech!
    3) Did I told that there will not be any fast JS engine on WinRT? Oh. Sorry there will be!
    MS will in goodnes of their heart provide one! Just for IE10….
    (And it will be faster than anything Mozilla or Google, or Opera, or Maxton can produce!!! Good bye Innovation! Good bye Competition!)

    Oh, and METRO apps from Marketplace have the same limitation. (And again MS apps from Marketplace will not have such limitations).

    • Ichann says:


      They have a valid point for doing this. They want stuff to run as smooth as possible.

      They gave third parties too much leeway in customizing windows. Look where that got them.

      There zune devices were great. Especially the HD; Perfect mix of HW &SW

      • Hiram says:


        • Ichann says:

          What do you need clarification on, bud?

          • Hiram says:

            1. “They have a valid point for doing this. They want stuff to run as smooth as possible.”
            2. “They gave third parties too much leeway in customizing windows. Look where that got them.”

          • Ichann says:

            Sorry I forgot abou this

            Point 1: having third party program’s which are not control of the oem opens problems for a midrange of problems. You cannot trust what bugs, software testing methodology, malicious intentions the piece of the software might exhibit. It is better to simply build a system that is semi open and semi closed. This being metro and the traditional desktop. The metro aspect of the browsing space is willing to go to ms with ie. they simply want an easy consistent experience that users will enjoy with minimum problems. They are also doing so to sidestep anti competitive practices and erring fines by the eu (again) how? By limitation metro browsers for consistenay but allowing those browsers to be used in the traditional desktop.

          • Ichann says:


            Microsoft has allowed third parties to customise windows by feeling it with crap slowing down the system. It is ridiculous seeing all these processes running and bogging down the os. Microsoft choosing to limit such support is on beneficiary to the users and not he corporations that have partnerships with the likes of Symantec and other companies for royalties.

            Metro is a no go ine for these companies. They are finally stepping down in the desktop space/ tablet space (metro) by not allowing significant changes while allowing the the freedom to screw the customer over with the traditional desktop

  5. Hiram says:

    To Ichann: Yeah, I’ve seen the Aura window manager a while ago. The original idea however remains the same as they had a window manager before and this is one is simply different. “In preliminary design documents for the Chromium OS open source project, Google described a three-tier architecture: firmware, browser and window manager, and system-level software and userland services.”

  6. Hiram says:

    To Ichann:
    I’m sorry, but you’re a god damn idiot. Probably the primary reason why Windows is still as widely used as it is, is because of the vast plethora of third party applications available. So allowing developers access to a powerful API is/was hardly the downfall of Windows. And you don’t seem to understand that only the ARM version of Windows, that is Windows RT is going to have these Win32 API access limitations. Everybody that is going to use a x86 Desktop,Notebook or Tablet with Windows 8 are not going to have these deal with these limitations, only users of the ARM version will. Also, most people don’t actually use any third party applications to customize their user experience. And how exactly is imposing arbitrary API limitations on a specific CPU architecture beneficial to users? PS, you’re borderline fucking illiterate.