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Firefox IOS Mozilla Apple

No Firefox For iOS, Says Mozilla's Product Head 318

Posted by timothy
from the once-bitten dept.
hypnosec writes "Jay Sullivan, Mozilla's VP of Product, has revealed that the non-for-profit organization is not going to build an iOS version of its Firefox web browser as long as Apple doesn't mend its unfriendly ways towards third party browsers. Speaking at SXSW in a mobile browser wars panel Sullivan said that Mozilla is neither building nor planning to build a Firefox version for Apple's iOS. Mozilla pulled Firefox Home from the App Store back in September 2012 following Apple's not so accommodating attitude."
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No Firefox For iOS, Says Mozilla's Product Head

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  • Dear EU (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lesincompetent (2836253) on Sunday March 10, 2013 @11:30AM (#43131033)
    It's not just microsoft that engages in anti-competitive behaviour.
    • Re:Dear EU (Score:5, Insightful)

      by tehniobium (1042240) <lukas AT imf DOT au DOT dk> on Sunday March 10, 2013 @11:40AM (#43131085)

      If the EU force Apple to have a browser ballot on iOS, I do believe Steve Jobs will be turning ever so violently in his grave :D

      On a more serious note: couldn't the fact that Apple forces all apps to be purchased through their own app store just as well be seen as anti-competitive?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Quite a thorny matter. It's just a matter of deciding wether the reasons that brought those fines to microsoft apply to apple too. And i don't see why they shouldn't. DISCLAIMER: i personally can't wait for the total demise of apple.
        • I don't think Apple has enough of a market share (yet) to be treated like a monopoly. But if they do manage to get it, the lawsuits should start pouring in.

          • Not on the desktop nor mobile markets, no. However, given that IOS, due to its widespread adoption, constitutes a big market for apps itself, and one that's artificially limited by Apple to have only one store - theirs. It could be argued that Apple's SDK provides a means to installing third-party apps, but it's not freely available. I don't see it as a big issue for consumers because it's easy enough today to jump to another similarly capable mobile platform (unlike moving away from PCs with Windows, which

            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by BasilBrush (643681)

              However, given that IOS, due to its widespread adoption, constitutes a big market for apps itself, and one that's artificially limited by Apple to have only one store - theirs.

              You don't come under monopoly laws for having control of your own product. That's why printer manufacturers are allowed to control inks for their printers, razor manufacturers are allowed to control blades for their razors and console manufacturers are allowed to control games for their consoles. Microsoft was different, because many manufacturers manufacture PCs, and they had monopoly levels of OS on all of them. If they manufactured their own computer, and just put their own OS on it, as Apple do with Mac

        • by node 3 (115640)

          Quite a thorny matter. It's just a matter of deciding wether the reasons that brought those fines to microsoft apply to apple too. And i don't see why they shouldn't. DISCLAIMER: i personally can't wait for the total demise of apple.

          Apple isn't a monopoly, but more to this specific point, they aren't abusing the market, which is what MS did. There's nothing wrong with being a monopoly, but when you abuse your monopoly, you open yourself to legal intervention.

        • by sFurbo (1361249)
          In which market does Apple have a monopoly which they use to gain an advantage for their browser?
          • by Rosyna (80334)

            In which market does Apple have a monopoly which they use to gain an advantage for their browser?

            The market in the land of make-believe in which every competitor is actually a market unto itself. Like claiming Apple has a monopoly on Macs or a monopoly on AppleTVs despite the fact Macs and AppleTVs are competitors to others.

      • Re:Dear EU (Score:5, Informative)

        by obarthelemy (160321) on Sunday March 10, 2013 @11:57AM (#43131201)

        It is. But since Apple don't have an overwhelming share of the mobile space, that's allowed: customers got other options.

        MS got sued because on the desktop, there is no other option, and that OS monopoly gave MS leverage in other areas (browsers, apps...). Apple don't have that kind of power.

      • what about windows phone and the win 8 app store they may hit the same laws.

      • the fact that Apple forces all apps to be purchased through their own app store just as well be seen as anti-competitive?

        No, not according to the more pro-active EU competition/monopoly laws or similar US laws. Apple's market share is too small to fall under "monopoly" in any or all European countries, where the distribution is quite varied from nation to nation. Scandinavia is not at all representative of the European handset market as a whole, my dear neighbor.

        Furthermore the fact that a product only sup

        • by mellyra (2676159)

          No, not according to the more pro-active EU competition/monopoly laws or similar US laws. Apple's market share is too small to fall under "monopoly" in any or all European countries, where the distribution is quite varied from nation to nation. Scandinavia is not at all representative of the European handset market as a whole, my dear neighbor.

          Monopoly questions tend depend mostly on the definition of "the market" - you are talking of the "handset market" which is the view someone who would not like Apple to be a monopolist would naturally choose, others would prefer to talk about "the smartphone market" or (even better) "the tablet market".

          With some effort you will always find a market that is narrow enough to rationalize regulation on grounds of a monopoly- the question is whether you want to, and that's a political question first and foremost.

      • If the EU force Apple to have a browser ballot on iOS, I do believe Steve Jobs will be turning ever so violently in his grave :D

        On a more serious note: couldn't the fact that Apple forces all apps to be purchased through their own app store just as well be seen as anti-competitive?

        Apple's tight control over their iOS operating system has creeped me out so much that I have ditched my Macbook Pro of five years for a Linux laptop. I know OSX is not so tightly controlled, but I believe that iOS shows Apple's long term intentions for operating systems, and I don't like it one bit. I don't like the idea of a single company controlling what I can run on my own computer. I don't care if they are permissive or restrictive. The very fact that a single company controls what can run on comp

    • by Teun (17872)
      If the EU ever wants to step up to the Apple store it's more likely going to be about the non-negotiable monetary conditions they foist on programmers and publications.
    • by beelsebob (529313)

      Dear person who doesn't understand what anti-competitive behaviour is. The reason MS had to change things was because they were leveraging a monopoly in the OS market to gain a monopoly in the browser market. Apple is not doing this. In fact, if anything, google is the most likely next on the chopping block, because of exploiting their search monopoly to heavily advertise and drive into the browser market.

  • Cydia please. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by DarkVader (121278)

    Dear Mozilla,

    Please don't worry about what Apple wants, release Firefox for iOS in Cydia.

    • I agree. Having been given an unwanted present of an iPad (and now I can't get myself a real tablet for fear of offense), I'd really like to see a port of Firefox to Cydia. Actually, given that the GNU utils and X server already exist, why not port a window-manager too, and run a real OS on it?

      • Re:Cydia please. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by dreamchaser (49529) on Sunday March 10, 2013 @12:25PM (#43131395) Homepage Journal

        Choice of tablet is a fairly personal decision. Why are you worried about offending anyone? Just buy yourself the tablet you want and be done with it. Just be honest if asked. "This tablet does things I can't on the iPad," " This tablet has better specs than the iPad," etc. There are a LOT of reasons to want an upgrade from an iPad to something non-Apple.

        • Re:Cydia please. (Score:4, Insightful)

          by ifiwereasculptor (1870574) on Sunday March 10, 2013 @01:50PM (#43131973)

          That's what I hate about perceptive generous people and their expensive and thoughtful gifts. They always manage to get whatever you need almost right. That "almost" part is enough to leave you slightly uncomfortable with what you have but not enough to invest money into something better, since your gains would now be disproportionate to the amount spent. Just give me a cheap, ugly fucking novelty tie I can throw away and we'll both be a lot happier.

          • Re:Cydia please. (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Belial6 (794905) on Sunday March 10, 2013 @02:54PM (#43132377)
            For poor friends ( which gets to be less as we get older ) I buy durable presents, but for any family or friends that have enough money to buy their own stuff, I always try my best to buy consumables. That way if it is something they like, they will enjoy it, but if it is something they don't like, they have an easy excuse for it being gone a week later.
            • by evilviper (135110)

              but for any family or friends that have enough money to buy their own stuff, I always try my best to buy consumables. That way if it is something they like, they will enjoy it, but if it is something they don't like, they have an easy excuse for it being gone a week later.

              Good god! You're the idiot buying up and distributing all those fruit cakes every year, aren't you? I wish I could hate you to death...

              • by styrotech (136124)

                Phew that was lucky. We just give booze. If they don't like our choice, not to worry they can just dump it off at the next party they go to :)

    • Firefox may be open source, but Mozilla has demonstrated their need to divert resources where they count the most. This is, for instance, why Firefox is no longer developed on Maemo.

      So beyond the potential political or legal ramifications, the sliver of market share that Cydia possesses is simply not worth the engineering effort. And the gamble that releasing it for iPhone would somehow influence Apple to allow third-party browsers, given Apple's stubborn history, would likely be foolhardy.

      aside: I have a

  • I wish more large developers would do the same. All they need to do is allow an 'install external app' checkbox to make most happy, but that would break the app-store lock-in. Personally, I think your business should rely on people wanting to use it, not being forced to. The app store has value, but to me it's unacceptable to have no alternatives.

    • the risk to the 99% of users who don't care is too high, for only 1% of users who care (though that 1% is very vocal, especially on nerd sites)

  • OK then... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sootman (158191) on Sunday March 10, 2013 @11:58AM (#43131217) Homepage Journal

    ... will they allow other browsers on their new mobile OS?

    • re: ... will they allow other browsers on their new mobile OS?
      :>)
      Why wouldn't they? That's the whole premise of free software: the freedom to be able to do what one wants and needs, not just the "free" aspect of its cost being zero. If it's possible to build a browser in javascript or java, then you could run a browser in a browser. And you could run a browser in the mozilla mobile OS. [warning, i am not a spokesgirl for mozilla, firefox, godzilla, gojira, or any other software projects other than
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      They've neither forbidden it nor made it extra difficult, though it may not be easy.
      Have a look at the comments over at http://samuelsidler.com/2013/03/firefox-os-and-browser-choice/.

    • by caspy7 (117545)

      Anyone is welcome to make their own alternate browser for Firefox OS. (Mozilla would surely encourage it it.)

    • Re:OK then... (Score:4, Informative)

      by roca (43122) on Sunday March 10, 2013 @04:46PM (#43132989) Homepage

      The comments here are explain this pretty well:
      http://samuelsidler.com/2013/03/firefox-os-and-browser-choice/#comment-183 [samuelsidler.com]

      Summary:
      FirefoxOS is roughly an Android kernel, Gecko-based userspace, and the Gaia HTML+JS homescreen apps. Anyone is free to replace the Gecko-based userspace with something else, e.g. a Webkit-based userspace. We (Mozilla) are assisting with this by standardizing the phone-specific HTML+JS APIs so they can be reimplemented by others, by trying to ensure Gaia doesn't have unnecessary dependencies on non-standard stuff, and of course by making everything under our control open source. Your OS should be able to run FirefoxOS apps and we have open-sourced our app store so you might even be able to run our app store (I'm not sure). Apple obviously provides nothing comparable for iOS!

      However, if you replace Gecko then the result isn't really FirefoxOS any more and you wouldn't be allowed to use the Firefox trademark (nor would it be appropriate for you to do so).

      If you're asking for the ability to install an alternative native-code Web engine alongside Gecko on FFOS, the answer is no; giving Gecko sole control of FFOS userspace simplifies a lot of problems and increases performance and security. See http://robert.ocallahan.org/2013/03/canonicals-new-mir-display-server-and.html [ocallahan.org] for more.

      • by roca (43122)

        To elaborate on that last point: supporting native apps or a different engine in FFOS alongside Gecko would require us to write extra code to support new APIs specifically for that --- the APIs and integration points you'd need simply don't exist in FFOS currently. In contrast, the infrastructure for native apps already exists and all Apple has to do to support alternative browser engines is relax some of their rules.

      • So the answer is no. In FirefoxOS there will be only one browser engine. They are providing access to the API (for compatibility with apps) and kernel but after that you're on your own and will be distributing your own fork and btw the Firefox browser won't work on it either unless you also fork that and roll your own as well.

    • by hawk (1151)

      Well, if emacs can get an editor http://developers.slashdot.org/story/13/02/16/0251239/evil-almost-full-vim-implementation-in-emacs-reaches-10 [slashdot.org], why can't firefox have a browser?

      :)

      hawk

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Apple takes care of me -- I don't have to thiwnk about words like standards, or openess, to see the content Apple provides. All my friends like Apple too. Apple is the only company whom provides a user esperience -- I don't need anything else -- people think I'm cool.

  • News? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by caspy7 (117545) on Sunday March 10, 2013 @12:05PM (#43131267)

    How is this news?
    a) Why would Mozilla build a browser Apple has already said it won't allow?
    b) This same stance has been repeated by Mozilla multiple times.

  • by jnull (639971) on Sunday March 10, 2013 @12:45PM (#43131527)
    I switched to Firefox so many years ago for innovative features, but both Chrome and Safari have beat them out in performance and integrated capabilities. How many BS Firefox updates were there last year with nothing significant delivered. Once big fan and now I don't care what system they are on. Perhaps they should pull back and focus where they may be able to be good again. (my .02)
    • by Osgeld (1900440)

      bs updates that I never noticed really effected me!

      why does it bother you so much, do you keep score?

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      How many BS Firefox updates were there last year with nothing significant delivered.

      You know, those of us who work in IT would appreciate it if people would learn to appreciate it when there's maintenance and stuff doesn't break.

  • In terms of shipped mobile operating systems, most of the universe out there right now is Android.

    Now Android has it's own issues - namely upgrade paths. But it does run your choice of browser without complaint.

    I remember when I got my Android phone - I worked with a bunch of iPhone users. I used to listen to them complain about they couldn't install cool app x, and said I had no trouble putting on my Android phone.
    • I remember when I got my Android phone - I worked with a bunch of iPhone users. I used to listen to them complain about they couldn't install cool app x, and said I had no trouble putting on my Android phone.

      In your dreams.

  • Who cares? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by DavidinAla (639952)
    As an iPhone user, I can't see why I'd possibly want Firefox. We've really reached the point that browsers are commodities for almost every user. I know some people are so in love with the idea of user-selectible choice that they can't imagine that a unified user experience is a good thing, but for the vast majority it's the best way to go. If you truly have some specialized need for a browser function that doesn't come with the WebKit-based Safari, you're probably already using another platform anyway. Thi

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