By Binu Paul email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Mar 11, 2013 09:59 AM EDT
Mozilla will not release an iOS version of Firefox browser until Apple loosens the technological limitations imposed on third-party browsers. Talking at the South by Southwest (SXSW) conference, Jay Sullivan, Mozilla's vice president of product, made it clear that Firefox will not return to iPhones and iPads unless the Cupertino tech giant relaxes iOS browser rules.
Sullivan made the comments at an Interactive panel at SXSW 2013, where he said Apple's strict browser restrictions do not allow other browsers that do not use Apple's version of WebKit, CNET reports. This rule prevents Mozilla from building a Firefox version for the Apple operating system. In addition, Apple also prevents its users from setting any non-Safari app as the default means of handling browsing.
"The sticking point for Mozilla is not being able to carry over its sophisticated rendering and Java script engines to iOS. Essentially, the organization doesn't feel like it can build the browser it wants to for Apple's platform," Sullivan was quoted as saying to CNET.
The move is a quite risky one for Mozilla, as Firefox holds less than one percent of the mobile browser market, while Apple's Mobile Safari leads the market with close to 60 percent share of all mobile browser usage. However, Mozilla appears to be pinning all its hopes on the newly announced Firefox OS for mobile to take a significant share of the mobile browser market — especially with its proclaimed policy to grab the market share with low-end smartphones equipped with its browser.
Mozilla had removed its Firefox Home app from Apple's App Store in September of 2012 and now the company is not working on an iOS version of the browser and according to Sullivan, nor does it plan to do so.
Mozilla had recently announced its Firefox OS mobile platform at the Mobile World Congress (MWC), embarking into the world of mobile operating systems to take on Apple's iOS and Google's Android. As the company sees it, Firefox phones will be the world's first "open Web devices" and these phones will essentially work just like a browser. As the OS is based on the open Web, and working on the HTML5-based apps will be just like visiting websites through a browser, opening them temporarily as apps and closing.
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