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Microsoft to block browser choice in Windows RT, says Mozilla

Microsoft to block browser choice in Windows RT, says Mozilla


Mozilla is accusing Microsoft of planning to limit browser choice for users who want to use Windows RT in the Windows Classic mode.

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Mozilla has already revealed that it's working on a Metro-style version of the Firefox browser for Windows 8, but the company is now crying foul over what is says are Microsoft's intentions to limit user choice for browsers on ARM-based devices. At issue is Windows RT, which as Mozilla states in a blog post will feature two environments: Metro, and the more-traditional Windows Classic. According to the company, however, the only browser that will be allowed to run in Windows Classic mode will be Microsoft's own Internet Explorer, locking out any third-party options. Given that other browsers can run in the Metro environment, Mozilla points out that there should be no technical limitation preventing apps from being able to run in Classic as well.

Microsoft had previously announced its intentions to push Metro-only development for RT, despite the planned inclusion of a desktop version of Office 15. Mozilla's accusations obviously bring to mind Microsoft's troubled legal history with Internet Explorer; the company famously bundled the browser with its machines as a competitive advantage until the DOJ stepped in back in 1994. The DOJ judgements, however, expired in May of last year. CNET spoke with Mozilla general counsel Harvey Anderson, who stated that Microsoft attorney David Heiner told him the company wasn't allowing other browsers because of the unique security and power needs of the chips used to power mobile devices — needs only Microsoft could properly address — while also pointing out that as an ARM-based OS, Windows RT "isn't Windows anymore."

Anderson told CNET that he wanted to see if Microsoft would resolve the issue on its own before taking any further action, but that "sometimes they need some pressure... If it turns out to be legal pressure, that could be the thing." We reached out to Microsoft on this story but the company declined to comment.