Archive for May 13th, 2012
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Windows 8 Update: Firefox, Chrome cry foul over Windows 8 ARM
Also upgrading from Windows 7, mobile devices from Lenovo and HP
By Tim Greene, Network World
May 11, 2012 04:38 PM ET
Microsoft is taking heat from browser competitors Firefox and Chrome for blocking them out of planned Windows 8 devices that will be based on ARM processors.
These low-power machines will run Windows RT, which Microsoft describes as a new member of its Windows operating system family that won’t allow installing third-party software.
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Firefox maker Mozilla says that means it won’t be able to devise a version of its browser to run on Windows RT machines, something it says kills competition and is ultimately bad for customers.
“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,” writes Harvey Anderson, Mozilla general counsel in a blog post. “Given that IE can run in Windows on ARM, there is no technical reason to conclude other browsers can’t do the same.”
He also hints that allowing Internet Explorer but effectively blocking other browsers may stir up already settled legal issues about browser bias. “If Windows on ARM is simply another version of Windows on new hardware,” he writes, “it also runs afoul of the EC browser choice and seems to represent the very behavior the DOJ-Microsoft settlement sought to prohibit.”
Mozilla project manager Asa Dotzler expands on the perceived problem in a separate blog post in which he acknowledges that initially this will affect mostly tablets. But he says that as ARM processors are more widely used, Windows RT will have a bigger footprint. “ARM will be migrating to laptop PCs and all-in-one PCs very quickly,” Dotzler writes. “If you read Microsoft’s blog posts about Windows on ARM, you’ll see that they expect ARM PCs to cover the whole spectrum. ARM chips are already being used in servers. This is not a tablet-only concern.”
No word from Microsoft on this.