Microsoft can limit browser choices on its Windows RT OS, so what does Mozilla and Google have to say about it?
Recently, the EU Competition Union declared that Microsoft had breached its promise to offer more web browser choices on its Windows 7 desktop operating system, and therefore a hefty fine might be heading Microsoft’s way. However, Windows RT, the version of Windows 8 that can run on ARM-based chips, won’t be under the same type of restrictions.
Mozilla, creator of the Firefox browser, has been outspoken about Microsoft limiting competing developers by restricting the use of the Windows RT APIs. Google seems to agree, as the search giant “share[s] the concerns Mozilla has raised.”
“We could build a beautiful Firefox that looked really nice on Metro [the then-current code name for the Windows RT user interface, or UI], but Firefox would be so crippled in terms of power and speed that it’s probably not worth it to even bother,” says director of Firefox, Asa Dotzler.
Firefox currently enjoys about 29 percent of the market share in Europe, but browser restrictions in Windows RT may lower that number significantly. Microsoft recently launched its own Surface RT tablet, and needless to say, they sold like discounted TVs on Black Fridays. For now, Microsoft doesn’t have to alter its Windows 8 RT platform to accommodate Google or Mozilla, and according to EU’s head of antitrust, Joaquin Almunia:
“We have looked at Windows RT, and on the basis of our investigation so far, there are no grounds to pursue further investigation on this particular issue. But we will closely monitor all the elements of the Windows software and how Microsoft complies to [its] commitments.”
(Want a Surface RT tablet? | Image: WSJ)
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