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Microsoft Blocks 3d-Party Browsers In Windows RT, Says Mozilla Counsel 329

nk497 writes "Mozilla has accused Microsoft of trying to go back to the 'digital dark ages' by limiting rival browsers in the ARM version of Windows 8. Third-party browsers won't work in the desktop mode, and Metro style browsers will be limited in what APIs they can use, said Mozilla general counsel Harvey Anderson, forcing users to move to IE instead. Mozilla said it was the first step toward a new platform lock-in that 'restricts user choice, reduces competition and chills innovation,' and pointed out that such browser control was exactly what upset EU and U.S. regulators about IE in the first place. Anderson called on Microsoft to 'reject the temptation to pursue a closed path,' adding 'the world doesn't need another closed proprietary environment.'"
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Microsoft Blocks 3d-Party Browsers In Windows RT, Says Mozilla Counsel

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 10, 2012 @08:53AM (#39952729)

    translation: "it's not your computer, it's Microsoft's, and they should decide what you run on it."

  • Double standards (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 10, 2012 @08:54AM (#39952739)

    Can I install a different browser on a Chromebook? Can I install a different browser in iOS? Heck, Apple bans ANY app that duplicates functionality that Apple provides.

    Why is MS always being held to a double-standard that others aren't?

    People will beat MS up over bundling... but I don't see anybody on Slashdot going "Apple stifles competition! Google bundles Maps inside Search and there's no way to uninstall it or integrate a different mapping service into it!"

    But hey... this is Slashdot. They'll use show a picture of the world's biggest philanthropist as a borg... and then they'll whine about how one single post that is vaguely defending MS is PROOF that Slashdot is overrun with MS shills.

    Whatever bro.

  • by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @08:57AM (#39952769)

    Android devices are not infested with malware, and they do in fact run alternate browsers. Windows programs do not run on them for technical reasons not as a method to lockdown the platform.

    Firefox actually already has a version for android on arm called Fennec and it is lighter than the desktop version. I am sure IE will not be limited to some crippled set of APIs, and you know that.

    You are wrong on many facts and in general appear to be a shill.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 10, 2012 @09:01AM (#39952813)

    The world collectively pissed itself in delight over Apple's closed proprietary environment. The clueless twits who threw their freedom away in exchange for "cool" have made similar environments acceptible in the minds of the clueless majority. You can't expect Microsoft to not take advantage of this. If anyone complains, they can just point at Apple and say "they started it!"

  • by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @09:03AM (#39952845)

    Apple no longer has that restriction other than on browsers and you should be able to do that to a chromebook.

    The reason MS is held to a different standard is that they are a convicted monopolist. This is much like not letting child molesters live near schools and parks. Giving away ill gotten gains, and using strings attached to that giving to prevent competition with your investments is not very philanthropic.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 10, 2012 @09:09AM (#39952901)

    Why doesn't Mozilla stop complaining and write their own operating system?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 10, 2012 @09:10AM (#39952909)

    Employee of a PR company that monitors new submissions (e.g. Firehose) to put a positive spin on potentially negative articles as soon as possible?

  • by TheNinjaroach ( 878876 ) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @09:12AM (#39952939)

    Microsoft isn't banning browser per se, it is limiting access to APIs that might be insecure and could be used for hacking the system.

    Limiting access to APIs that Microsoft is using for themselves for their own browser is downright shady.

    It has different APIs from standard Windows APIs and is much more secured.

    How do we know it's secure at all? I trust Firefox and Google to provide far better security to me than some black box dumped by Microsoft and pumped by you shills.

  • by Chrisq ( 894406 ) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @09:13AM (#39952963)

    I don't find this lock-in too much of a hassle since it only affects the ARM version. I can easily opt to use the Intel version and nothing of value would be lost, in my opinion.

    Until they "unify" their platform on the basis that "its been like that on the ARM for years"

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 10, 2012 @09:15AM (#39952997)

    this is mobile/tablet/arm version only, same one where windows is less than 5% and both apple and google have almost 50% so microsoft is underdog here and apple should be one forced to allow firefox and internet explorer on its IOS devices

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @09:17AM (#39953037) Journal

    Can I install a different browser on a Chromebook? Can I install a different browser in iOS? Heck, Apple bans ANY app that duplicates functionality that Apple provides.

    Why is MS always being held to a double-standard that others aren't?

    And has Slashdot ever been happy about Apple's little cryptographic lockdown party, Android devices with locked bootloaders, or particularly enthusiastic about paying more for a googlepliance than for the netbook of equivalent spec?

    Each time those subjects come up, they generally catch flack from everyone except a few die-hard apologists(and half the apologies seem to be of the form 'but the chains are breakable, so it's ok!'). Now that Microsoft is stepping up and making it clear that 'Windows RT' is essentially the NT kernel/MS development tools equivalent of iOS, rather than a Windows port to ARM(in the sense that WinNT was about as similar as technology allowed across its supported architectures). Why wouldn't it be totally normal for them to get the same criticism for doing the same things?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 10, 2012 @09:20AM (#39953087)

    Illogical argument?

    Look, the purchaser owns the computer, not Microsoft. This doesn't change just because the computer fits in your pocket.

  • by oldlurker ( 2502506 ) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @09:22AM (#39953105)

    I actually RTFA because I thought it was odd and I was curious on how Windows could block browsers from a technical standpoint.

    The article leads to a Mozilla blog from which in turns links to another blog on from Microsoft which in no ways mention limiting browsers on Windows for Arm. So this quite strong claim has no actual source.

    They are not blocking the browser as such, but any apps for Windows RT on ARM can only use the new WinRT ("Metro") API (as has been communicated on the MS dev blogs for quite some time), and this would make it difficult to implement a competitive browser (especially the Javascript engine as I understand). This is the same for iOS on iPad, the only third party browsers on iPad are either using the built in WebKit renderer or doing server based rendering (Opera Mini).

    The official reason for only Apple and Microsoft software having low level system access on these tablets is to protect the tablet user experience in terms of responsiveness, battery life, security, etc. We can debate if these are the only reasons.., but as the iPad has shown there is clearly something to this. Pros and cons. And if not happy about it buy an Android, competition is good :)

    It is btw. strange FireFox is not more upset by the same iPad limitations, surely the don't expect Windows 8 ARM tablets to overtake the iPad market share any time soon..

  • Re:Ipad (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Bigbutt ( 65939 ) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @09:29AM (#39953197) Homepage Journal

    Well, I do have a second browser (Maven) on my iPad however I don't know if it's using safari as an engine or if it's its own codebase.


  • by truthsearch ( 249536 ) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @09:52AM (#39953503) Homepage Journal

    Stop trolling. The Apple desktop is a completely open Unix OS. I develop on it all day long and never run into any restrictions like this.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 10, 2012 @10:04AM (#39953679)

    ...and in the 90s you could always install a different OS on a PC instead of Windows. MS was still held accountable for making the browser uninstallable.

    Furthermore, your argument that Google doesn't have monopoly leverage is laughable. Google came into the mapping game LATE, and yet now they are the largest map provider BY FAR. How is that? Perhaps it's because they bundled Maps right into their search engine. For certain queries you'll get a little map in your results that'll take you to Maps. No other mapping service can get this prime real estate - it's Google only and it's not "uninstallable".

    How is that different that bundling a browser?

  • by thoth ( 7907 ) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @10:26AM (#39953947) Journal

    This is one of those free-market conflict moments... what do you do when the MARKET (you know, what some people blindly worship, what some describe as the solution to just about every problem) itself decides it wants a "closed proprietary environment"? By definition, is the MARKET ever wrong about goods freely chosen in a competitive environment without criminal coercive tactics (e.g. what Microsoft did)?? Is Apple to be punished for delivering hundreds of millions of products over 10+ years?

    You can't have it both ways - exalting the free market, and then getting pissed when it doesn't choose they way YOU expected.

    If you have a problem with the way things are headed, you have to OUT COMPETE, not insult the customer base by calling them clueless.

  • by Tharsman ( 1364603 ) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @10:41AM (#39954169)

    Article is talking WinRT, which is the equivalent of iOS.

    iOS IS restrictive, and Microsoft is aiming exactly for that. Actually... not exactly. From what I read, Microsoft will allow third party browsers, with third party HTML and JavaScript engines (something Apple does not allow.) The issue is in restricting some APIs required for JIT, and that will give third party browsers a heavy performance penalty.

    So as much as I tend to be on Apple's side, this is nowhere near as restrictive as Apple's stance.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 10, 2012 @02:15PM (#39957541)

    Considering that the store is the only way to install any software in iOS

    More lies. This is why I usually avoid these conversations online. The store is NOT the only way to install software. I can create anything on my desktop and upload it to my phone. I can take any app a friend makes and upload it to my phone. Apple is not involved in any way and it is not jailbroken. Please stop with the ridiculous misinformation.

    And how would FireFox go about doing that to be available on iOS?

  • by R3d M3rcury ( 871886 ) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @03:38PM (#39958511) Journal

    Apple should not have such a requirement, because they did not have an anti-trust suit lost.

    But that was for something else.

    See, it was determined that Microsoft had a monopoly on operating systems for Intel-based computers. They then took advantage of that monopoly to unfairly compete against Netscape through various means, both technical and non-technical. That's the illegal part--you can't leverage one monopoly to compete in another market. Remember, having a monopoly is not illegal. Using that monopoly the make another one is illegal.

    (As an aside, I still think iTunes monopoly hold of the downloadable music market is eventually going to bite Apple in the bum, but that's another story.)

    Where is Microsoft's monopoly that they are abusing?

    Is it tacky? Heck yeah. Illegal? Nope.

Did you hear that two rabbits escaped from the zoo and so far they have only recaptured 116 of them?