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back to article Mozilla and Google blast IE-only Windows on ARM

Mozilla and Google are crying foul over Microsoft restrictions blocking rivals from Windows 8 on ARM, due later this year. Firefox-shop Mozilla has branded Microsoft's restrictions a return to the digital dark ages "where users and developers didn't have browser choices". Harvey Anderson, Mozilla general counsel, accused …

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Apps for Android can be served from anywhere you can download an APK

...just thought I'd let you know that.

Also I wonder how are Microsoft going to stop Google and Mozilla? An Apple-esque "our way or the highway" app store?

Well fuck that shit, then.

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Re: Apps for Android can be served from anywhere you can download an APK

Indeed.

An Android tablet that I bought cheap from Maplin's did make my heart sink a little to see that it had no Google Play app store on it, but only some proprietary nonsense that wanted you to pay in "coins" for free apps. I was *this* close to taking it back to the shop to complain that it wasn't "proper Android", when I decided to take the challenge (MS had earlier been peeing me off that day by some ridiculous hurdles on installing a game that wanted GfWLive - and needless to say there was a little victory punch when I did indeed manage that on XP SP2 which isn't officially supported at all - so I was quite in the mood for some technical wizardry to bypass silly restrictions) .

I was quite disappointed to find out that all I needed to go was google for the Play store app APK file, download it, run it, and voila! Mum could buy and play Cut-The-Rope and Angry Birds. I didn't even need to use a PC or anything - I did it all from the tablet and hardly did anything technical at all.

Moral of the story: Restrict me and I'll send your product back or make it work anyway. Don't restrict me, but just configure things a little oddly, and I'll pay for the product and put it the way *I* like it anyway. Same with browsers. I don't care what comes pre-installed, but if I can't get my favourite browser on a level playing ground, I won't touch it.

I think MS are leading themselves to trouble here. This *STINKS* of deliberate anti-competitive behaviour and the EU still haven't forgiven them from the last time yet. Either IE has to stop using those API's (and thus shows itself up as being junk) or everyone else gets to use them (and thus IE shows itself up as being junk). Either way, all they've done is make themselves look evil when they could have just chose either option and merely looked incompetent.

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Re: Apps for Android can be served from anywhere you can download an APK

Isn't that technically breaking the license on the play store and therefore illegal?

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Re: Apps for Android can be served from anywhere you can download an APK

No.

The device might not be "supported" (so boo-hoo if it doesn't work), but the only real restriction is that you have to do it on an "Android device". This device was Android, branded with the Google Android logo, or otherwise I wouldn't have bothered to install an app store for Android on it.

And given that it's incredibly easy to spot if someone's installed the app on something they shouldn't, I'd think that Google would have blocked it in a second otherwise.

"This license granted to you for the Licensed Application by Licensor is limited to a nontransferable license to use the Licensed Application on any mobile devices running Android OS ("Android Device(s)") that you own or control."

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Do MS actually want to sell any Windows 8 OS's? First the weird restriction on the HW, now restrictions on what software you can run. Both seem extremely odd decisions. Still, I guess they don't care as most people won't even realise there is a restriction.

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JDX
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It works just fine for Apple. It only makes sense for MS to look at what is successful and copy it.

What IS the situation on iOS - I noticed Opera Mini exists in the AppStore so does that mean MS is being MORE restrictive, or just that 3rd-party browsers can't be the default?

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What is the situation on iOS

As I understand it, you can have various front-ends on iOS, but it's the Safari webkit engine that does the actual work. Which allows for UI changes. For example Safari will let you view a PDF on a website, but stupidly won't save a copy. Atom allows both.

The Opera version you probably saw was Opera Mini. Which is doing all the work on one of their servers, and converting the web to mobile-bandwidth-friendly static pages, that I'm assuming you view with Safari, or a custom Opera front-end.

I'm assuming from Firefox's complaint that something similar will happen with WinRT. You can build a Metro App, but you'll have to do without some functions, or use an IE API or something.

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Re: It works just fine for Apple

That's because Apple aren't restricting their users to IE.

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MS are just taking Apples' baton and running with it.

Thanks a bunch, fanbois.

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JDX
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That's because Apple aren't restricting their users to IE.

They are restricting them to Safari and I'd take IE9 anyday... and I imagine IE10 will be even better.

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Opera Mini, Dolphin ...

They're all there. And all nearly as shite as mobile Safari. You can't officially change the default browser but there are apps that can.

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Re: That's because Apple aren't restricting their users to IE.

Of course you could just use an OS THAT DOESN'T TRY TO RESTRICT YOU !

One that actually treats you like an adult...

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Re: That's because Apple aren't restricting their users to IE.

> I'll take IE any day [over other browsers]

I didn't see the sarcasm icon -- as you're surely taking the piss!

Now where's the turd icon for all postings related to Internet Exploder?

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Re: That's because Apple aren't restricting their users to IE.

I really like IE9 too, but choice is still good for those that want something else. I'd be interested to have read more about what "critical" functionality Mozilla feels is being denied. Presumably this is the graphics accelleration?

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Re: What is the situation on iOS

You're right that it has to use webkit as it's rendering engine which of course means a true firefox can't be done but unless chrome uses a wildly different version of webkit you can have chrome. Firefox could be there too if it wanted to use webkit but admittedly it seems a bit silly to port firefox to using webkit solely for iphone.

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Re: That's because Apple aren't restricting their users to IE.

Yeah I'd totally give up a browser that tries to be standards compliant and webgl for the plethora of exploits and viruses IE has.

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Re: That's because Apple aren't restricting their users to IE.

If the plugins worked that'd be a huge differentiator.

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Short memories

The EU will never allow it or has The Register forgotten about the Browser choice issue with XP?

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"Of course you could just use an OS THAT DOESN'T TRY TO RESTRICT YOU !"

Why the hell does everyone here believe that the policies of GNU and the FOSS movement are universally applicable? What about MY choice to use an ecosystem filled with developers who don't just spam their software's user interfaces with every bloody feature under the sun, as well as the kitchen sink and a dancing bidet?

Choice for its own sake leads to a very poor user experience. There is very solid science behind the "KISS" design philosophy the more successful consumer electronics companies apply to their products.

It also explains why not one single, solitary, GNU / Linux distribution has ever made it big on the desktop, despite every year in the past decade being touted as "The Year of Linux On The Desktop!" The GNU ecosystem is so full of unusable shit and irrelevant debates over "freedom" that you've all lost sight of the fundamental purpose of computers: to improve the lives of ordinary people.

So don't preach to us about "restriction" in the IT field when you lot are the most conservative bunch of loudmouthed fanatics out there. Hypocrites, the lot of you.

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WTF?

Re: That's because Apple aren't restricting their users to IE.

Yeah I'd totally give up a browser that tries to be standards compliant and webgl for the plethora of exploits and viruses IE has.

What's the weather like in 1998?

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Re: That's because Apple aren't restricting their users to IE.

I haven't had the 'pleasure' of IE10, but IE9 is crap. I have to use it every day at work. Sure it's standards support is better than previous versions, but there are plenty of issues with it that make up for that improvement with further shortfalls.

I will say this though: as bad as IE9 is, Mobile Safari is worse. That turd has become as big a headache for me, as a web developer, as IE7 used to be.

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Re: "Of course you could just use an OS THAT DOESN'T TRY TO RESTRICT YOU !"

"Choice for its own sake leads to a very poor user experience. There is very solid science behind the "KISS" design philosophy the more successful consumer electronics companies apply to their products."

As a long-term Linux user, I simply couldn't agree more. I'm sick to death of having so much bloody choice. Especially when it's choice between 4 things that all don't quite work but in different ways. These days I just want stuff that works. I bought a Mac. Sorry.

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Re: Short memories

"The EU will never allow it or has The Register forgotten about the Browser choice issue with XP?"

Yeah, I'm sure that in 15 years Microsoft will be found at fault and pay a small fine to the EU to make amends.

Of course, by then the damage will be done and Microsoft's monopoly will be firmly cemented in place again...

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Re: Short memories

@Figgus, what monopoly exactly is that? You checked the browser market percentage figures lately? Not blessing the decision, but if default browser also means it is responsible for background HTML5 shell rendering, then it is hard to argue that this should be left to just any third party to provide a reliable and consistent experience...in the first version. Lockout of allowing other vendors to be an App? There is where I might argue in step alongside with you.

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Users don't want to be treated like adults

Users have already got used to Microsoft telling them they are too thick to do anything beside point and grunt, and feel quite comfortable without the awesome power and boost to their productivity that could be had from communicating with a computer in a more nuanced, more expressive language. To the point where this sort of thing is considered a virtue.

(Having moved from Debian to Ubuntu, and subsequently discovered that the version of Brasero included with 11.10 is a bug-infested heap of toss, I ended up having to go back to the time-honoured method of using dd and growisofs for backing up DVDs. It's actually nowhere near as bad as it sounds, especially with the command recall and editing facilities offered by a modern shell. Given me an idea for a programming project, as well.)

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Re: "Of course you could just use an OS THAT DOESN'T TRY TO RESTRICT YOU !"

"Hypocrites, the lot of you."

Pram, toys , tantrum - good argument, well formulated. Your usual drivel

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Anonymous Coward

hmm

Doesn't feel too different to "Safari with menaces" on my iPad...

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Windows

Re: hmm

Hard to say at the moment whether it's different or not.

If you can create a fully-featured Metro browser using MS's WinRT tools (and I don't know whether or not you can yet), it's different because nobody says you HAVE to browse from the Classic Desktop (which is limited to Office 15 anyway, noting else runs on the desktop that might trigger a link).

If browsers you create using WinRT lack functionality or are limited in some way, or (for example) use IE for rendering, it's the same.

I personally hope that WinRT supports the creation of a full-featured Metro Firefox (and Chrome, etc) in which case, the old-style Classic Desktop on a Win8 ARM tablet is irrelevant - the metro version would be enough.

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Re: hmm

WinRT (WoA) does not have a classic desktop, it's Metro only, and locked to the hardware that uses technical measures to ensure you cannot run anything else.

Thus if it actually takes off, we're back where IE6 came from - unpublished APIs that only MS code can access, preventing 3rd parties from making competing apps.

That can only be bad.

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Not much of a loss for Mozilla

Since I'm willing to bet money on Windows RT going nowhere fast.

The EU might be interested to hear about this though, since they forced M$ into including the "choose your browser" popup, which Windows RT obviously will not have.

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Re: Not much of a loss for Mozilla

Surely they'd have to make Apple include a "choose your browser" popup on ipad first....

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JDX
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Re: Not much of a loss for Mozilla

The browser choice was because MS had a monopoly on desktop OS and used this to push a monopoly in a separate product, the web browser. This is entirely different.

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Re: Not much of a loss for Mozilla

That's also the reason Apple get away with similar restrictions. They aren't deemed to have a monopoly of the market in question and therefore can't be forced to open it up.

The fact that Microsoft's whole Windows-8 sales pitch is about how desktops and tablets are now really just one big market should not be allowed to distract us. They aren't, so Microsoft should be allowed to cripple WoA as much as they like.

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@JDX

How is it entirely different? Can you elaborate? To me Apple's monopoly on tablet computers seems very similar to MS's monopoly on desktop OS...

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Re: This is entirely different

It's one hell of a precedent and it applies to the Windows operating system, Microsoft would have the burden of proof to demonstrate otherwise. This move has preliminary injunction written all over it if they really go ahead with it. However, I think it's probably just a strawman from MS.

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Re: @JDX

A bit of googling suggests that Apple have about 70% of the tablet market whereas Microsoft have nearer 90% of the desktop market and that's quite a bit down on their historical peak.

I'd say there were significant other players on the tablet market and Apple are under pressure if they want to retain their leadership. An awful lot of apps and content seem to be fairly platform agnostic and so the barrier to entry for a new player is also lower.

The evidence of recent new versions of Windows suggests that Microsoft have not felt under similar pressure for the last decade. The relative crapness of WINE suggests that there are still significant barriers to entry for rivals.

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Re: Not much of a loss for Mozilla

Of course the difference is apple doesn't have a monoply to abuse and microsoft still has a desktop monoply with a proven track record of abusing it.

Keep in mind even having a monoploy isn't bad. It's what you do with that situation and microsoft are proven abusers in that position.

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Re: @JDX

I like how apple either has a total monopoly on tablets (which isn't wrong anyway if it's not abused) or they're going to be crushed by android any day now. The argument seems to change depending on which ever sounds most anti-apple at the time.

Awesome logic.

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Re: Not much of a loss for Mozilla

apple doesn't have a monoply to abuse

They do. That monopoly is on mp3 players and they abuse it by leveraging iTunes, a content store. That monopoly is what's given them a boost on the desktop and the reason why iOS cultists keep buying iOS. iTunes demands it.

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Copying Apple

Obviously Windows RT has little in common with how Windows CE gadgets sold and nothing in common with x86 PCs. It seems it's a Microsoft Clone of the iPad environment, basically a Tablet appliance, only running Metro phone like apps like iPad/iPhone apps.

So not an ARM alternative to the "open" x86 Tablets that have run "closed" Windows for years.

M.S.

Apple isn't making huge margin and great sales primarily because it's closed (that's a separate issue) but because

1) It's Apple

2) Fashion and Styling

3) Good and consistent GUI experience not messed up with each release

MS GUI changes since NT4 have in reality added NOTHING to productivity and some (ribbon) on WS notebooks are plain stupid. Aero/Vista/Win7 is foolish eye candy. "metro" UI is stupendously stupid on anything larger than 7"

.

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Re: Copying Apple

However a closed system allows much greater control... if bad apps drain resources it makes the OS look bad to the typical user. Restricting apps like iOS/WP do means you can't get an app knackering the whole device (as easily)

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Re: Copying Apple

Taking a cut of everything has nothing to do with it eh? Just to make things better for the typical user, right.

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JC_

Re: Copying Apple

MS GUI changes since NT4 have in reality added NOTHING to productivity

Really? You don't remember NT4 with a shudder at how ugly it was? Prettiness aside, there have been lots of UI improvements: window snapping, non-hierarchial start menu, jump lists, taskbar grouping, integrated search, libraries, explorer previews, ...

Nothing that adds anything to your productivity?

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Re: Nothing that adds to your productivity?

I don't think I'd call any (or even all) of the changes you list as having made a measurable change to my productivity. The truth, however sad for Microsoft's shell team, is that for me (and surely squillions of others) the main job of an OS is to get the fuck out of my way.

On the other hand, I do use all of XP, Vista and 7 on a daily basis and I will say that I can almost never find anything in the Control Panel these days. The individual applets haven't changed significantly, but there is (and possibly always was) just *no* rationale for where Microsoft choose to put them.

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JC_

Re: the main job of an OS is to get the fuck out of my way.

Well, if you say so. But if finding applets is a problem, why not use the search? Windows-key, start typing what you're looking for, and there it is. How would you do the equivalent in NT more efficiently?

If NT 4 was still supported and on sale I doubt 1 in a million people would choose it over Windows 7 / Server 2008. Sounds like you've got a case of nostalgia!

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Re: the main job of an OS is to get the fuck out of my way.

"If NT 4 was still supported and on sale I doubt 1 in a million people would choose it over Windows 7 / Server 2008."

Well since we were talking about the GUI additions rather than the base OS, let's put aside the fact that NT4 probably wouldn't recognise most of the hardware that folks want to plug into it now. That done, are you quite sure about the 1 in a million figure?

Bear in mind that NT4 still can still run on modern hardware in a VM, and if you've ever tried it then your abiding memory will be that everything ran like like shit off the proverbial shovel compared to the host OS.

Bear in mind also that MS actually *ran* this experiment with XP versus 7 and had to withdraw XP from the market because it was more popular.

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This could easily backfire on them

I'm sure I'm not the only person who would simply not buy a windows on arm device if I knew that I would only be able run Internet Exploder at a reasonable speed.

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Re: This could easily backfire on them

You haven't even seen IE10 so demanding you can use something else is a bit premature.

Windows tablets will anyway be aimed at either business users - who are very happy with IE - or typical Joe Public types who have no idea what a Browser is.

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Re: This could easily backfire on them

Not really, I don't need to see it to know that I would rather it was not my sole viable option.

And you may be right about their market demographics. But given their total, dismal lack of success in the touchscreen phone/tablet markets to date, alienating even a small proportion of their potential customer base may not be the smartest move.

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Re: This could easily backfire on them

"indows tablets will anyway be aimed at either business users - who are very happy with IE - or typical Joe Public types who have no idea what a Browser is."

I would love this to be the case. But I fear that it may not be. I've wanted a business-focused tablet for a while, but I suspect MS will be creating a consumer-focused device. And that probably makes sense: tablets are ideally suited to lying on a sofa browsing the web, but much less so hammering away at spreadsheets or bashing out countless emails..

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