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Microsoft limits third-party browsers in Windows on ARM, Mozilla cries foul

By Jos ยท 45 replies
May 10, 2012
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  1. Mozilla and Google's plans to develop a Metro-style version of their browsers for Windows 8 were dealt a major blow this week after it was revealed that Microsoft will restrict...

    Read the whole story
  2. Chazz

    Chazz TS Evangelist Posts: 679   +74

    People want a secure OS, MS plans to give them one. Cry foul guys!

    BTW as a Gmail, Google search and google voice user I get no support from Google on my windows phone. They simply refuse to acknowledge it and won't offer their services.

    If google can refuse to support their competitors and no one cries foul then Microsoft should be able to do the same. Mozillia and opera are the only companies that have a right to complain.
  3. stewi0001

    stewi0001 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,513   +900

    I guess Microsoft is learning from Apple
  4. treeski

    treeski TS Evangelist Posts: 985   +229

    Well said, Chazz.

    Has anyone been able to point out exactly what APIs Mozilla feels it needs to compete in the Windows RT environment?

    Isn't a huge part of Metro centered around make apps perform BETTER? What features won't it be able to compete with?
  5. mario

    mario Ex-TS Developer Posts: 399   +17

    Dotzler hasn't listed the APIs they need that will not enable Firefox to run on ARM. But modern browsers are now big beasts and they now include pretty complex javascript interpreters with JIT compilers and they also use HW acceleration for canvas and WebGL rendering, among other things.

    I don't believe MS is doing this to block the competition, it might be a technical limitation for now and I won't criticize them for limiting API access in Windows on ARM they have the right to do so and I we should wait for an official explanation.

    Dotzler is a Mozilla evangelist and it is his job to make this kind of claims public, it is not the first time he makes such criticism and it won't be the last.
  6. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,505   +2,298

    Once again, a large corporation engages business practices that stifle competition. And you just nod your head and say something to the effect of, "it's for our own good".

    The thing Windows had going for it was the fact it was open to developers. Why does a developer suddenly decide a more closed OS is a good idea? I'm going to say it's because you've been indoctrinated with "Applethink". Then, you're going to tell me I'm trolling. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

    And you're right modern browsers are big beasts. Look at the ponderous affair that is IE-9.
  7. hahahanoobs

    hahahanoobs TS Evangelist Posts: 1,907   +592

  8. mario

    mario Ex-TS Developer Posts: 399   +17

    I'm just pointing out that there's no official response from MS, we do not know their reasons, and yes sometimes saying no is better for an app ecosystem. iOS benefited a lot by banning browser plugins and it's a very secure OS because it doesn't allow any app to run, limits its access to resources and prohibits custom language interpreters. Android has a lot of malware and most of it has even been available in Google's app store.

    I don't know if MS limitations are for "our own good" if they are and they have a very good reason for limiting their API access, I might have no problem with it. If I do have a problem I'm free to use any other OS available.

    I don't use IE regularly I've heard it's getting better with every release though, I do know that IE6-7 sucked big time and as a web developer I despised them.
  9. OneSpeed

    OneSpeed TS Addict Posts: 280   +89

    I don't see anything wrong with what MS is doing; afterall they have a business to run. I'm a Google user, MS user, and I buy more Apple gear than anyone I know. The actions of any of these companies will either push you away or make you embrace them. You'd be fooling yourselves to think ANY of those large companies would be serving your best interest. IMHO.
  10. fwilliams

    fwilliams TS Rookie Posts: 99

    Leave it to Microsoft to muck up the meaning of RT. To the rest of the computing world it means Real Time.

    But, on the browser side of things, Microsoft needs to be the only browser that people can access. If they allowed other browsers people would see how lame the Microsoft browser actually is!
  11. nazartp

    nazartp TS Enthusiast Posts: 178   +12

    Just out of curiosity: what can be so limiting if the "ponderous affair IE-9" survives in the environment and none of other browsers can? Opera exists for iOS, I would presume it will exist for W8RT. Just looking for some education.
  12. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,505   +2,298

    And yet Firefox simply edits and evaluates its permissions for extensions, and is possibly the safest browser out there because of them. ( for example: "NoScript", "AdBlockPlus"). Then there's "MafiaFire" which disables censorship of blocked sites. So, in the eternal struggle between good and evil, prudent management allows open access, yet slams the door in the face of "ne'er do wells".

    You suffer a massive disconnect between understanding the motivations and machinations of a large corporate entity, and the purely technical aspects of a product. I'm not judging, merely observing. It does create problems for you when you're asked to think outside the "engineering box.". I would have a great deal of difficulty if asked to think inside that same parameters.

    As to Google's allowing malware to enter the Android app store, why would you think they wouldn't? That's not a tech issue. It's a social issue. Google's arrogance and disdain toward the customer is legend. The consumer's stupidity is documented fact. So, when you mix a company that doesn't care, with a customer that doesn't know, what would expect the result would be, greater general understanding of Einstein's general theory of relativity?

    Just pray Google doesn't start ordering mass quantities of endoscopes for their "Street View" crews. We'll all be getting that free colonoscopy we've all "secretly wanted, but couldn't afford"....!

    OK, that fact that IE-6 sucks is a slam dunk. I learned that during the first 30 days of my first Windows computer ownership. You can't dazzle me with that revelation.... (Sorry).
  13. Chazz

    Chazz TS Evangelist Posts: 679   +74

    Runtime is actually pretty popular in the computer world as well. As well, IE9 is a pretty competent browser. This is coming from someone who only used IE(6,7,8) as a method to download a better browser and never touched it again. Keep up with the times!
  14. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,505   +2,298

    If Mozilla or Opera were forced out of the market because of it, that would be very limiting, don't you think?

    There is a difference between death of natural causes, and premeditated murder, wouldn't you say?

    We have social machinery in force to prevent, or at least punish murder,.We have no such industrial sanctions in place. Unless you'd like to believe anti-trust actions do anything more than make governments money
  15. Vrmithrax

    Vrmithrax TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,333   +280

    I think there's a little disconnect in logic there. The Captain was just backing up a statement about current browsers being large through the IE-9 example. But, IE-9 is not "surviving in the environment" we are talking about. WindowsRT will be utilizing IE10, and it is a specifically optimized desktop version, with access to features that other browsers are not being allowed to utilize. That's the limitation being discussed.
  16. Yea but who says it will stay this way? And if they are right in saying add-ons and extenstions could hog resources, what good is the platform if it doesn't work because of it? My guess is, is WOA is new and MS doesn't want to rush into cramming it with everything its x86 brethren is capable of right away. Technology if forever evolving, and eventually, the people get what they want.

    BTW, Google Chrome is more secure (think back to the Pwn2) out of the box than Firefox with add-ons and extensions non techies know nothing about. Also, we still don't have Google Chrome browser on Android phones running Gingerbread... at all. Is Google losing sales because of it? Doesn't look that way considering their market share. Is Apple failing even though they don't allow certain browsers at all? Not even close.

    Bottom line is, coming to conclusions this early, especially before it's even released, is silly.
  17. nazartp

    nazartp TS Enthusiast Posts: 178   +12

    Captain, I was looking for a technical answer, not a discussion of monopolistic behavior. Guess I did not state it clearly.

    From a technical perspective, one would cry foul if and only if IE for ARM is afforded the level of system resources that is different from that of other browsers. And I'm not sure the article gives enough information to make that statement.
  18. There are some potential advantages to this approach. In a Building Windows 8 post from February, Microsoft explained that the requirement for Metro-only apps on Windows RT eliminates many of the programming tricks used by Win32 app developers, including background processes, registry changes, admin rights, add-ins, and a host of other common techniques that could result in unreliable, memory-hogging apps.

    When I read this I thought about what Windows Vista was, and how did that play out?
  19. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,505   +2,298

    Aw, c'mon: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/hardware/gg487317
    Our belief system suffers a bit of divergence. I think the people will get what they've been told they want, or they've been made to believe they're "entitled to".

    Is installing, managing, and running "NoScript", a major intellectual hurdle? Maybe if your IQ is 80, it is.
    Just on purely philosophical principles, I could live easily in a world without either Andriod phones, or Google "Chrome". I'm certain Google would find another methodology to ram ads down my throat.

    Perhaps, but then this thread would have been still borne, and we wouldn't be having all this fun, now would we?

    Oh gosh, I'm a Luddite when it comes to advanced tech. That said, I don't believe you can separate technological existence, from the psychology, propaganda, and institutions, that power its distribution. I know most of the people at tech sites such as this are victims of them. That's because we're always the first in line to be ripped off for whatever is the newest trinket coming down the technopike.

    It's called "bandwagon" propaganda. "Be the first kid on your block to own of of these"! Or maybe, "Everybody else has an iPhone, don't get left out". Which gradually morphs in an individual sensibility such as this, "oh dear, I'll lose all my friends if I don't have an iPhone".
  20. nazartp

    nazartp TS Enthusiast Posts: 178   +12

    Captain, I'm with you on Microsoft trying to cash-in in a matter similar to Apple's walled garden. I'm just feeling that both Mozilla and Google, in that particular case, are crying foul just in case. Preemptive strike, so to speak.
  21. Had my trollface on as soon as I read the title but seems legit after reading and I see valid points...
  22. ikesmasher

    ikesmasher TS Evangelist Posts: 2,862   +1,183

    if I have to use internet explorer or a really buggy slow version of a different browser in windows 8,

    Im staying at windows 7.

    Actually, I probably was anyway, so windows can have fun destroying their own OS.
    captaincranky likes this.
  23. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,505   +2,298

    Well now Ike, that's not really getting with the program now, is it? What will your friends think? If that gets out on Facebook, you might be denied a technology job because of making rash, anti-theistic statements like that.

    Although, Newegg had a sale on Win 7 Pro 64 bit last week, for a buck ten, free shipping. Not only that, I manged to score a free 1 year, one person copy of Kaspersky AV in the process. (I waited until the sale was about a half hour from being over, and the new promo was in place).. I probably won't use the AV, but it's the gaming aspect of shopping I enjoy winning.

    With that said, I can't wait until Windows 8 is released, so I can buy the rest of the parts, and build a brand new Windows 7 box........

    In the past I was shouted down when I came out against Vista. I suppose in Hindsight, I "got the bear" there too.
    (My only Vista machine is a close out $300.00 Toshiba laptop).
  24. Uvindu

    Uvindu TS Booster Posts: 120

    Wait, MS has said that they won't have the third category on their Windows RT Devices. They don't mention anything about browsers do they (or did I miss something?). The way I read this, MS is saying that on Windows RT, third party apps will not be able to use those 2 categories. When Mozilla, Google etc. got this news, they started going on about how their browsers won't be able to function as well as IE. The way I see it, any third party software that competes with a Microsoft software will be disadvantaged as the Microsoft software can access those two categories which the third party can't access. The way I see it, this is a limitation Microsoft has implemented for whatever technical reason, but not necessarily to block out other web browsers.

    Pls correct me if I'm wrong
  25. m4a4

    m4a4 TS Evangelist Posts: 887   +437

    It almost sounds like people are complaining about this as if it was the x86 also...

    Otherwise, MS can do that in the name of better security. They already know that they do not like anti-trust suits against them...

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