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Mozilla Says Microsoft is Trying to Lock out Competition with Windows RT

by on10 May 2012 2066 times

win8logoredesignedWhen Microsoft first announced that only Microsoft based products would have access to the “desktop” mode in Windows on ARM (Windows RT) we began to wonder just how long it would take for Mozilla, Google, Opera and others to chime in about how wrong this is. We now have heard from Mozilla who seems to feel that this lock out from the desktop is nothing more than Microsoft being unfair to the competition and, according to Mozilla, is in violate of the promises Microsoft made to both the EU and the US DoJ.

The problems all center on Microsoft’s push for Metro and the use of the cloud in Windows 8. For desktop systems or those not running Windows RT there is no issue. A developer can write code for Metro, the Desktop Mode and for a mode called Metro-Style Enabled Desktop Browsers (MEDB). If you code for Metro only then that is where your application will operate. This is also true for the Desktop mode. The last allows for operation in both Metro and the Desktop. Mozilla is working on a version of Firefox for this mode, but only for the standard version of Windows 8 for x86/64.

In Windows RT they can only code for Metro, the desktop mode is locked out for all other developers. This means that there will be no browsers capable of running there except for Microsoft’s IE10. Another important thing to note here is that in Windows RT there would be no way to set anything other than IE10 as a default browser as that setting is reserved for MEDBs only. So while you could set Firefox as a default on a Windows 8 x86/64 laptop or desktop there will be no way to do that on a Tablet running Windows RT since Windows RT does not use the MEDB mode (or class of application).

Now Microsoft does have something of an ally if Mozilla does go forward with their plans to complain (right now it is all saber rattling). Both Apple with iOS and Google with Android do the same thing. As of this writing you cannot change the default browser in either of these two operating systems. So you while you can install a new browser, if you open a link in an email it will open Chrome on Android and Safari on iOS. This is most likely that Microsoft will stand behind if there are issues here. After all at the time of the last law suit there was no such thing as Windows RT and it could be argued that Windows RT is not covered by those judgments. After all, Microsoft is allowing MEDBs on Windows 8 for x86/64… Still we have to say that it would be nice to see that in Windows RT as well. After all if Microsoft was paying attention that is what people looking for a Microsoft tablet were interested in; having the same experience on their tablets as the desktop (by the way that did not mean trying to force a tablet OS onto the desktop).

 

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Last modified on 10 May 2012
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