Mozilla is protesting against Microsoft decision to limit the web browser used on the ARM optimized version of the Windows 8 (which is dubbed as Windows 8 RT) to just IE, essentially locking out both Google and Mozilla. On a post on the official Mozilla blog, Harvey Anderson, Mozilla General Counsel called the move “an unwelcome return to the digital dark ages where users and developers didn’t have browser choices.”
There will be two running environments on Windows 8 RT – the heavily styled Metro UI interface that we’ve seen before, and a traditional desktop Windows Classic environment that’s everyone has grown to love (and sometimes hate). Anderson says that the crux of the problem is that “Windows on ARM prohibits any browser except for Internet Explorer from running in the privileged “Windows Classic” environment. In practice, this means that only Internet Explorer will be able to perform many of the advanced computing functions vital to modern browsers in terms of speed, stability, and security to which users have grown accustomed. Given that IE can run in Windows on ARM, there is no technical reason to conclude other browsers can’t do the same.”
Mozilla asserts that this particular practice is the same abuse of power that helped push aside Netscape during the early days of the internet. “Because Windows on ARM relies upon so many traditional Windows assets, including brand, code, footprint, and experience, the decision to exclude other browsers may also have antitrust implications”, Anderson adds.