Microsoft will cripple Chrome and Firefox on Windows 8-based ARM tablets. Does it matter?

2012-May-10 | Tags: appscompatibility

Windows on ARMWhen ARM tablets running Windows 8 ship, Chrome, Firefox, and other browsers will be at a disadvantage, because Internet Explorer will be the only browser allowed to take advantage of certain features of the operating system. Mozilla and Google are crying "foul." Do the restrictions really matter?

To understand the controversy, you need a little bit of background about how Windows 8 on ARM tablets will work. (Windows 8 for ARM tablets, once called WOA, is now formally called Windows RT.)

Windows RT, like Windows 8, will include a Metro interface and a desktop interface, and some people call the desktop interface "Windows Classic." It's likely that most people won't run the desktop interface that often, because Metro is far better suited for touchscreen tablets.

Metro is a much more restricted environment than Windows Classic, and a variety of browser technologies and add-ins won't run in it. That's true in the traditional version of Windows 8 as well as the tablet version of Windows 8, Windows RT. In the traditional version of Windows 8, though, any browser will be able to also run in the desktop, taking advantage of certain features.

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Windows on ARM - Windows RT