No plans to bring Firefox to iOS, says Mozilla VP

Mozilla came down heavily on Apple’s third-party apps and browser policy at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive panel discussion in Austin , Texas on Sunday. While talking at the session moderated by a CNET reporter, the vice president of products at Mozilla, Jay Sullivan said the Firefox browser will have no place on iDevices as long as Apple continues its hostile attitude toward third-party browsers.

The non-profit organisation, which is the driving force behind the open source Firefox OS as well as the browser, pulled Mozilla Firefox Home from Apple's App Store in September 2012. And the company is not currently building a version of the Firefox browser for iOS, nor does it plan to do so in the future, said Sullivan.

No plans to bring Firefox to iOS

No plans to bring Firefox to iOS


Sullivan argued that Apple's closed environment means users suffer. The sore point for Mozilla is, Apple’s policies do not allow the ability to carry over Firefox’s sophisticated rendering and javascript engines to iOS. Mozilla doesn’t think that it can build the browser that it wants to for Apple's platform, Sullivan said.

Apple commands a huge 55 percent of the mobile browser market with Safari. So obviously having a fully-functioning Firefox browser limits its own offering. According to NetMarketShare, Mozilla’s Firefox accounts for only 1 percent of the mobile browser market, something that is certain to change once the browser-based Firefox OS comes into play later this year.

Apple's policies have been stifling third-party browsers and the general feeling among developers is that their offerings are not welcome in the App Store. The Cupertino company does not allow its iPhone and iPad users to choose any other browser but Safari as the default browser. However, this has not stopped other mobile browser makers from trying to break the monopoly of Safari. "Competition is critical to our survival," Dolphin Browser Chief Software Architect David Dehgahn told the SXSW panel.

Opera Software's Mike Taylor, who was also on the panel along with Mozilla and Dolphin, shared the same viewpoint as his fellow software makers. The panel was in agreement that giving consumers the choice to pick any browser they want was essential to making the Web in general, great.

Notably, Firefox does have a browser app for Android and so do Dolphin and Opera. Both browsers have been well received and Firefox’s open source and Linux heritage lends itself very well to the platform. Opera recently upgraded its browser engine and uses Webkit as a foundation for their browser. The Opera for Android beta, which was recently released on Google Play Store, has a new UI and integrates Opera Mini to offer the choice of a compressed or a full-browser experience as required.


Published Date: Mar 11, 2013 11:14 am | Updated Date: Mar 11, 2013 11:14 am