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Mozilla moves closer to releasing Firefox for iOS

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Mozilla previously swore off the idea of bringing Firefox to iOS, blaming Apple's restrictions against third-party web rendering engines for the decision. But the company's tune seems to be changing, and it's mainly because iOS is so popular with so many people. In a tweet yesterday, Mozilla release manager Lukas Blakk said, "We need to be where our users are so we're going to get Firefox on iOS." As the embed below shows, Blakk wasn't alone in his excitement. TechCrunch first spotted the tweets coming from Mozilla employees, many of whom are currently gathered in Portland, Oregon for a week-long company event.

Mozilla has long wanted to bring its own rendering process to iOS, but Apple shows no signs of lifting the restrictions it has in place to forbid that. Even so, it's a good time to be working on a third-party iOS web browser. With the introduction of iOS 8, Apple gave developers full access to its speedy JavaScript engine. Previously that had been exclusive to Safari, and third-party options like Google's Chrome and Dolphin were always slower than Apple's own software as a result.

But with everyone now on the same level, Mozilla may no longer be so insistent about building its own engine. The company could still make Firefox for iOS look and feel much different than Safari, and allow users to sync their bookmarks between Apple's mobile OS and the desktop. Mozilla has flirted with the idea of embracing iOS before; two years ago, the company was actively toying with the idea of releasing an iPad browser. That project, known as Junior, never made it to consumers, but now it sounds like Mozilla's intentions are clear. It's coming to iOS, even if users still can't override Safari as their default browser.