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back to article Mozilla dumps iOS, pulls Firefox Home from iTunes Store

Two years after launching Firefox Home in the iTunes App Store, the Mozilla Foundation has decided to cease development of the app, in a move that appears to further distance Mozilla from Apple and the iOS platform, which have never welcomed it. Mozilla, which offers the open source Firefox web browser, has struggled to make …

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Anonymous Coward

Am I the only one that likes Safari?

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Pint

Yes.

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No.

I like Safari too.

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Facepalm

Re: No.

Good grief! They're breeding!

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Anonymous Coward

anti-competative

Can't they claim that Apple is being anti-competitive like Opera's "claim" with Windows and Internet Explorer in the EU forcing Apple to allow multiple browsers without forcing them to use Safari's API?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: anti-competative

Apple has 20% or less marketshare in the mobile market. There are alternative platforms so it's hardly anti-competitive. Not to mention Firefox is free anyway.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: anti-competative

Short answer, "NO". Longer answer, it's Apples store and they can sell what they want to. You want Opera on the iPhone well just flash an Android rom onto the phone and then load Opera, that's perfectly legal. Or you could just "jailbreak" it which is also legal. You will not get any software support from Apple but then if you mess around with Googles propriatry parts of Android you want get any help from them either, same with Microsoft.

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Re: anti-competative

I think it won't be too long until Apple is hit with anti competitive stuff, at least in the Tablet space where they have a overwhelmingly massive portion of the market. I'm sure Apple will cry foul when that day comes though, just as Microsoft did.

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@Nate

There are a few requirements that have to be met for Apple to be successfully sued as anti-competitive:

1) monopoly position

2) relevant market

3) abuse of monopoly to unfairly leverage their position in another market

Let's look at each one:

1) Apple has 70% of the tablet market, not sure if that's a monopoly. Its a far cry from the 95% of the PC market Microsoft had when they were fighting the US DOJ in the late 90s, and even that case wasn't a slam dunk in court.

2) Is the "tablet market" a relevant market? It's certainly not nearly as relevant as the overall PC market, but if it continues to grow (and Apple maintains or increases their percentage) then maybe it will be seen as such. The fact that iOS is used on tablets and smartphones makes it easy for Apple to argue that both together are a "mobile device" market, in which Apple trails Android, and where Microsoft has some built in advantages that may lead to them gaining market share in the future via OS compatibility of mobile devices, PCs and servers.

3) It is difficult to see how Apple refusing to allow competing browsers on iOS is trying to unfairly leverage their position in another market. Firefox is not in the anywhere near the same position relative to iOS that Netscape was relative to Windows. At the time, if you wanted to use a browser, you had to use a PC, and 95% of PCs ran Windows. Today if you want to use a browser you can use a PC, a smartphone, a tablet, a game console, a smart TV, and so on. If one competitor that somewhat dominates a tiny portion of the overall potential browser market is refusing to allow competing browsers, it is much less of a problem than when Microsoft killed Netscape.

Given that Firefox has almost zero penetration on Android, the largest mobile device OS, it is going to be REALLY difficult to argue that not allowing Firefox on iOS is hurting it. If Firefox was available in the app store, it'd probably struggle to get more than one or two percent of iOS users to install it. i.e., about the same as the percentage of Android users who will ever install it.

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They could but

The appeal of iOS is that it's locked-down: everything is secure, everything is as near to being endorsed by Apple as third-party software on a platform gets. Apple would just argue that users who want total freedom and total responsibility can buy a Galaxy Nexus.

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Facepalm

Re: They could but

Yeeeeesssss....no.

Remember Apple is working to have the Galaxy Nexus banned for sale in the US due to design patents in a judgement handed down by a jury which didn't know the first damn thing about this type of stuff.

Have a feeling it will be more like this:

Oh you don't like the fact that iOS is locked down or that you cant do what you want with the hardware? Go get a Galaxy Nexus...Oh wait YOU CANT!!

As for the browser issue I'm in the same boat as others on here with the belief that Apple will be hit with monopoly lawsuits. Yes they may only have ~20% but in the grand scheme of things these lawsuits have happened for stuff similar to this in the past with companies who don't have the "largest share" of a market based on penetration but those who did have the largest share due to other factors. It will happen the only question is when...

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Flame

Re: anti-competative

Depends on what you call a "market". Apple uses its monopoly on iPhones to unfairly inflict anti-competitive influence on the market for all applications on that platform Closed platforms are by definition ant-competitive in their respective application market..

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Re: They could but

Not for long.

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Mushroom

Re: They could but

Apple would just argue that users who want total freedom and total responsibility can buy a Galaxy Nexus.

Probably not - Apple will soon be claiming that the Nexus infringes "their" "intellectual property"!

Now that they have a gigantic war chest, they'll try to sue all other tablet products off the market. Apple will lay claim to the whole "tablet" computing concept - it's just a matter of time. They'll sue in American courts - using the same "who do you believe, Mom and Apple Pie or those slanty-eyed foreigners?" tactic that they employed to fool a gullible jury in the Samsung case.

Just for the record - there is ZERO innovation in any of Apple's products - they're all copies of earlier products. That's without exception. It's an unpleasant truth, but even the most ardent Apple fanboi is beginning to see that he's been fooled into overpaying for sub-standard, closed, insecure, unreliable shiny junk.

It's really funny that Apple buy all their displays, processors and memory from the company they just tried to break. Samsung will take great delight in denying Apple any further supply of components.....

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FAIL

Re: anti-competative

Did you not learn anything from Apple vs Samsung?

Apple are untouchable, just like Microsoft. They employ so many people and contribute so much to the American economy, they can do what they want...... The US government can't touch them.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: anti-competative

There should be a suit.

But this is Apple, for soem reason the same rules do not apply to them as other companies.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: anti-competative

"Re: anti-competative

Did you not learn anything from Apple vs Samsung?

Apple are untouchable, just like Microsoft. They employ so many people and contribute so much to the American economy, they can do what they want...... The US government can't touch them."

Apple have lost their little "i did it first" spat everywhere else, its only the embarrasing yanks who would support them. Surprise surprise.

Who gives a shit about apple anyway? Only the idiotPhone/pod/pad owners, and what do they matter?

They are so dumbfucked they are easily be swayed by marketeers. Hardly someone who can be taken seriously.

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Re: anti-competative

"Who gives a shit about apple anyway?"

Anyone trying to earn a crust making phones, tablets, or PMPs and getting arseraped by the 500lb gorilla of those markets for a start.

Unfortunately the idiot iSheep seem to outnumber the rest of us.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: They could but

"The appeal of iOS is that it's locked-down: everything is secure"

Well, everything that is except for any information about you, your location, your device, your contact list, what time you last had a shit, what you ate for breakfast etc.

If an app can idly stroll by grabbing whatever data it sees fit, then that does not meet my definition of 'secure'.

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Re: They could but

"Samsung will take great delight in denying Apple any further supply of components....."

No they won't. Entertaining idea, but no doubt they're separate divisions that behave as separate companies, & they still want Apple's money. They could always start putting their prices up in a stealthy way, though

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Unhappy

Re: "The appeal of iOS is that it's locked-down: everything is secure"

That's precisely what doesn't appeal to me (and why my next phone is not going to be another iPhone)

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FAIL

@Steen Hive

Depends on what you call a "market". Apple uses its monopoly on iPhones to unfairly inflict anti-competitive influence on the market for all applications on that platform Closed platforms are by definition ant-competitive in their respective application market..

----

Legally you can't define a single product as a market for the purposes of monopoly. Go try and sue Ford for being anti-competitive in the market for Ford Focuses by not letting you order from the factory with a Toyota engine and see how far you get.

If you REALLY want a Ford Focus with a Toyota engine, Ford doesn't stop you from buying one, pulling the engine, and figuring out how to cram a Toyota engine in there. Likewise, Apple doesn't stop you from buying an iPhone and jailbreaking it if you don't like how they run their app store.

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Re: @DougS

1) 70% is sufficient for regulation.

2) I think I can argue that its the Apps market that makes the smart phone/tablet markets valuable, therefore they constitute a relevant market. More importantly are in the early growth part of their curve. The PC curve was probably farther along than tablets, which makes anti-competitive behavior even more problematic.

3) Given 2 Apple is leveraging their legally held OS monopoly into the Apps market.

The essentials of the argument are the same. After that it all depends on whether or not you think the MS case was justly settled. On that count, while I believe MS rode roughshod over the law and the markets in the case, at the end of they day they did say one true thing in their defense: the way the government tried the case was more about putting the government in charge of MS OS development than it was about restoring balance to the market place. So on balance MS winning was less bad than the government winning. But it never leaves a good taste in the mouth when you are settling for the lesser of two evils.

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Re: @AlbertH

I wouldn't say there is ZERO innovation at Apple. They do innovate, just not as much as they market themselves to. They did pretty much create the smart phone market (not the mobile phone, just the smart phone). But that doesn't mean they get to keep it all to themselves.

On the court case: 1) It isn't over. It will be appealed, I 70% expect all the way to SCOTUS. 2) I don't think it was Mom and Apple Pie vs slanty-eyed foreigners. I think it was: non-taxable money vs taxable money. The case was tried in California, where the government is greedy for money, and the local fools don't realize none of the Apple money will ever make it home to be taxed in the first place.

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Boffin

Pretty sure....

Opera Mini doesn't use WebKit by virtue of its cloudy compression tech.

Still surprised apple let them in but then, Opera nailed the marketeers at their own game whilst it was awaiting approval.

Out to the Norwegian massive.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Pretty sure....

Which took all of a few days, all opera does is render web pages on it's server and have an access contol UI. The one thing they did well was say that it would get banned and convince a lot of muppets, even though there were thousands of other Apps that essentialy did the same thing.

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Re: Pretty sure....

Opera is no better than Apple and if you're against smug hyperbole you should dislike both. Remember June the 16th, 2009? You know, the day that Opera — per the heavily trailed viral advertising — reinvented the web?

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Mushroom

Re: Pretty sure....

Opera didn't make MACOS9, so I think they hundreds of times better.

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Anonymous Coward

Both products use the WebKit rendering engine from Safari to display pages, as per Apple's policy.

No it doesn't

One day, El Reg articles will be written by technical writers that know their subject matter.

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FAIL

WTF?

Apple doesn't let you install the browser of your choice?

What a steaming pile of canine faeces.

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Boffin

Re: WTF?

You can have any browser you want, as long as the rendering engine is Safari without Nitro and Apple like the UI. Any alternative browser on iOS is slower than Safari, but the better UI might make up for it from the user's view.

In hindsight Mozilla probably should have done what Google did with Chrome. 90% are none-the-wiser (and 87% of statistics are false).

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SB

Re: WTF?

the rendering engine of safari is webkit, the same used by chrome.

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Boffin

Re: WTF?

Indeed, but the DOM and the JavaScript engine are not the same as Chrome's. Also Safari can use Nitro to speed up its JavaScript engine and the Webkit skins available from the App Store can't.

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Anonymous Coward

@SB

As far as I'm concerned, the rendering engine IS the browser. All the rest of it is just the GUI window dressing.

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Joke

Mootness . . .

All the browsing required on an Apple device can be done by displaying two lines of text.

The first line reads: "Buy the new Apple" and the second line consists of a model name followed by "now!".

Not much to it, no Gecko needed anyway.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Mootness . . .

"All the browsing required on an Apple device can be done by displaying two lines of text.

The first line reads: "Buy the new Apple" and the second line consists of a model name followed by "now!"."

and the fucktards run out to Q for one.

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Anonymous Coward

"developers... must build "wrapper" UIs that skin Apple's own Safari browser"

Opera for the iPhone/iPad does not use Webkit.

Didn't The Register cover this to death at the time, especially after it became the iTunes App Store number one download everywhere?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "developers... must build "wrapper" UIs that skin Apple's own Safari browser"

Ok but neither is it an actual browser. It just passes everything to Opera servers to do the work there

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Re: "developers... must build "wrapper" UIs that skin Apple's own Safari browser"

But the user doesn't care: he can "browse" the web the same way.

-dZ.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Any colour as long as it's black

"Neither is an actual browser"

Yes, but Opera's servers are running Opera. Something has to render web pages and run the Javascript, and that's the Opera browser, it's just doing it remotely to get around the stupid Apple rules. It's the only solution that isn't using Webkit, not that I dislike Webkit (it's a fantastic rendering engine) but Apple are blocking consumer choice, with companies like Opera having to use tricks to get around the rules.

Opera would love nothing more than to offer Opera Mobile for the iPhone and iPod. God knows it's been optimized enough over the last 13 years to run better on limited hardware. I'm sure it would absolutely fly on a dual-core 800Mhz-1Ghz processor. If only it were allowed. Opera Mini was designed for limited phones, not smartphones like the iPhone, let alone tablet computers like the iPad! That's what Opera Mobile and the full Opera Browser are for. Why can't the iPad run a full copy of Opera, complete with email client, IRC, RSS reader, etc?

I can understand Apple wanting regular 'apps' to render consistently using the same rendering engine (Webkit) just like Microsoft wanted developers to use Trident (MSIE) to render their apps, but there's no logic at all in wanting to block people browsing the web using other browsers. It's up to them, whether their expression of freedom (or the choice of their employer) is wise or not.

Microsoft got a lot of criticism for once boasting there were lots of choices of web browser for Windows, only to list a load of MSIE shells like MyIE2/Maxthon, netCaptor and Avant and get laughed at.

I also remember a few Mozilla/Firefox derivatives that withered on the vine, especially after carefully worded put-downs by the Mozilla Corporation about the fact these browsers tended to update their copies of Mozilla later than Firefox, whenever the latest slew of critical security bugs appeared.

Offering consumers browser shells/wrappers is not a solution, it's obfuscation.

Can you imagine Microsoft ever getting away with pressuring PC manufacturers into only shipping their PCs with MSIE and not Netscape or Opera?! It would never happen! And if it did, it would end in tears after a few years of limiting consumers' choice.

Oh hang on...

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I must live in the dark ages.

I have the full featured Mobile Firefox on my Android box.

Oh my kingdom for the priveledge of having a severly cut-down version of "Firefox" being banned on my one and only app store.

It sucks to be me.

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Billions of users

With Android now approaching 70% and rising, with Apple around 16% and falling, with Apple never having been number one, with installed user base of other platforms still large, with the large number of desktop/laptop users, and with desktops, laptops and mobiles selling far more than the one 10" form factor that Apple currently do better in - who cares. Firefox will do just fine without trying to compete on a locked down feature phone. The Register quotes Apple's US figures as if they're supposed to be a lot, but how about given us the comparable total Android sales? (And should probably do it worldwide too, rather than handpicking the one market that is best - or least worst - for Apple.)

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Flame

Apple for the unwashed masses

Aside from being shiny and beautifully built, I've never understood the draw to Apple's devices. If I can get an Android device which has a bigger screen, faster processor, SD card slot, and a lot more software that is cross platform, while not being DRM'd to death or having to suffer iTunes, why would I even look to Apple? And I can actually access the file system. I can have root access on most devices without suffering Apple's wrath.

I have to set up iPads and iPhones at work, mostly for execs, and every one I have to set up, the more I'm grateful I've chosen an Android device. The bigwigs are convinced that an iPad is a suitable replacement for a laptop, and of course when they're made aware of the limitations and that "You can't do that, sorry.", of course it's our department that suffers because we can't make their toy interoperate with enterprise systems. And of course they whine if they get a car charger or replacement data cable that's not pure white, as it doesn't match...

I'm truly beginning to loathe Apple, from the dinky little trendy chargers that pack with iPhones, and still take up too much space on a lot of power strips, to the crappy on-screen keyboards, to the annoying and draconian process of creating iTunes accounts. Siri is still marginally cool though, but I'd be a lot more impressed if she didn't basically require a mainframe in the 'cloud' to operate at all, but instead could run on an iPhone's wimply little 800MHz processor.

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Anonymous Coward

<sarcasm>

Restrictive development policies driving away developers? Gosh, that has not happened to Apple before.

</sarcasm>

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Browser hogging

Anybody remember the Microsoft court cases ? Where they were found guilty of unfair practices. They had a monopoly on browsers on their OS.

Don't know about anybody else......... but this looks awfy like a monopoly to me ! Worth pointing out that regulations don't harm economies, monopolies do.

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Paris Hilton

Re: Browser hogging

This was discussed in an earlier comment: http://forums.theregister.co.uk/post/1533845

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Re: Browser hogging

Rules are different for monopolies - at 90+% market share, the argument was that there was limited choice for consumers. With Iphone share at 16% and fallen, we can simply not use the locked down platform, and use more popular platforms, so it doesn't really matter if they limit the choice of browser.

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Jolly good. They can stick their stupidly- and inaccurately-named "awesome bar", along with all the other components of Firefox, back where they belong. Firefox on Mac has long been a slow, bloated piece of crap, and I've certainly no wish to abominate my iPhone with it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I've certainly no wish to abominate my iPhone with it

You have no choice to abominate it or not. That's the problem. So what's the point, benefit or advantage in you being so much smarter than a Firefox user? You may as well be one of them because the browser you end up using on your iPhone is exactly the same. Everyone survives, not just the fittest. And that isn't the capitalist, free-market way that the country where the iPhone comes from values so much.

I am free to stupidly walk under a bus any time I like. I wouldn't like all pedestrians to have to walk in chain gangs to stop them from doing it.

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Glad to hear Mozilla distancing itself from the evil empire

I no longer have any respect for Apple after the frivilous lawsuits. Therefore, I'm glad Mozilla is moving away from them.

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