Why Mozilla believes Firefox on Windows RT is a bust

2012-May-11 | Tags: analysiscompatibilitymetro

Windows on ARMMozilla could bring Firefox to Windows Metro. But without access to system services that IE10 gets, it would be hobbled, and Mozilla would be shut out of a new PC segment. Technically, Microsoft hasn't banned non-IE browsers in Windows RT, the forthcoming Windows 8 version for machines with ARM processors. But as Mozilla sees it, Microsoft may as well have.

Why? Because Microsoft permits only its own software to use a restricted set of Windows interfaces. This means Firefox and other browsers don't get access to the same application programming interfaces (APIs), which in turn means they don't get the same abilities and will effectively be crippled, said Mozilla spokesman and longtime participant Asa Dotzler.

"Without these APIs, it is not possible to build a modern Web browser," Dotzler told CNET. For example, he said, there is no way to run Web pages' JavaScript fast.

The issue came to a head this week when Mozilla began a publicity campaign intended to persuade Microsoft to accommodate other browsers on Windows RT. Mozilla isn't alone: Google shares its concerns and is a potentially powerful ally.

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Windows on ARM - Windows RT