Mozilla Firefox not coming to iPhone, iPad until Apple relaxes iOS browser rules

Posted:
in iPhone edited October 2014
Apple is too unfriendly to third-party browsers, says Mozilla vice president Jay Sullivan, and Firefox will not be coming to iPads and iPhones until Apple decides to loosen the restrictions governing browsers iOS.

FireFox


CNet reported Sullivan's comments, which came at a South by Southwest Interactive panel on Saturday. Sullivan says Apple's current rules ? which forbid browsers that do not use Apple's version of WebKit ? make it so that Firefox cannot build the browser it wants to for Apple's platform.

In addition to the WebKit requirement, iOS prevents users from setting any non-Safari app as the default means of handling browsing. Apple's Mobile Safari is the top mobile browser according to industry reports, with about 60 percent share of all mobile browser usage.

Mozilla pulled its Firefox Home app from Apple's App Store in September of 2012. The company isn't working on an iOS version of Firefox and, according to Sullivan, doesn't have any plans to do so.

Another member of the panel, Dolphin Browser's David Dehgahn, lamented Apple's policy as inhibiting competition.

"Competition is critical to our survival," Dehgahn said. Sullivan and Mike Taylor from Opera Software ? which recently released a WebKit-based version of Opera for iOS ? agreed, saying that giving consumers browser choice was necessary in order to move the mobile web forward. Users suffer, they said, under Apple's closed system.

CNet's report says that the panel's moderator then performed a quick poll of the audience, asking how many of them were suffering being largely limited to Safari. Very few hands were raised.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 72
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,385member
    No love lost there. Last thing I want on my iPhone is the irritating PC messages of why a site does not support Browser A vs. Browser B and I don't want to deal with a 3rd-party browser hijacking my default browser settings. It's bad enough on a PC, I don't want it on my iPhone.

    Mozilla should quit their whining and get on the Webkit bandwagon. The same crybabies were harping on Apple for not supporting Flash so does Mozilla think Apple is really going to bend-over to their demands? Not going to happen.
  • Reply 2 of 72
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member



    Mozilla Firefox not coming to iPhone, iPad




     


    So… that, basically.






    giving consumers browser choice was necessary in order to move the mobile web forward.



     


    Ten years ago I would have said so, back when Microsoft controlled everything and decided to make proprietary versions of everything else. 




    But WebKit doesn't have that problem. And if anything, Safari's slow to adopt rather than quick. If everyone uses WebKit, that will only give more incentive to make Safari a better browser.

  • Reply 3 of 72
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,741member


    And throw away the whole damn reason that makes Apple devices the success that they are?


     


    See ya later Mozilla. Your browser wasn't on iOS devices up until now, I see no reason why users will care whether Apple moves full steam ahead *without* your non-Webkit (why??) browser. We already have a wide selection of browsers to choose from. 


     


    Or is Mozilla just smarting like all hell from the rise of Chrome?  (which is doing very well with Webkit.)


     


    "CNet's report says that the panel's moderator then performed a quick poll of the audience, asking how many of them were suffering being largely limited to Safari. Very few hands were raised."


     


    Bingo. 

  • Reply 4 of 72
    evilutionevilution Posts: 1,342member
    Good luck playing the waiting game on that one Mozilla. Apple don't care if you do or don't.
    They want you to use Webkit as they control it so know what it does and that it's safe.
  • Reply 5 of 72


    The concern is that Webkit is coming close to having a monopoly in the browser market. It effectively already does in the mobile and tablet space.


     


    When one rendering engine has a monopoly, that engine becomes the standard, complete with its bugs and foibles. That isn't good for an open, progressive internet. Webkit may have fewer bugs than IE6, but web standards are evolving all the time and the risk is that the Webkit way becomes the only way.

  • Reply 6 of 72
    allenbfallenbf Posts: 993member


    Frankly, Firefox was a great choice over IE but Safari (desktop and mobile) is sweet. My only complaint is that there isn't a Windoze version so that I can use it on my job-issued laptop, too. 

  • Reply 7 of 72
    noirdesirnoirdesir Posts: 1,027member


    As far as I know, the new MozillaOS for phones does not allow third-party browsers either.

  • Reply 8 of 72
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    [I]"until Apple relaxes iOS browser rules"[/I]

    This isn't about rules, or Apple trying to "control" you... Apple could just BAN 3rd-party browsers if they wanted that. But there ARE 3rd party browsers, and some are good, regardless of some JavaScript benchmark number. [B](However: Apple SHOULD let you pick a default browser, I feel. And email.[/B] Maps too--although that gets more complex due to the range of OS-level requests that a map service may need to handle.)

    What this is about is a legitimate security concern--one which is very old news and long ago laid to rest:
    http://daringfireball.net/2011/03/nitro_ios_43
    (Interesting that even Apple-focused sites that should know better are failing to note this bigger context, and are parroting the misleading statements of Mozilla. Not just AI.)

    Nitro (or a similar just-in-time compiler) in third party apps would mean they could put data into RAM and make it executable--a HUGE malware vector and source of risk. Unsigned native code can now run. The only reason Apple allows this risk in Safari is because they can work to keep Safari free of security flaws that would allow exploits. Apple can't control that in other apps, so they're not opening the door to such problems.

    That's the trade-off: speed vs. security. Apple has found a good compromise I think, but yes, JavaScript will run slower in third party apps--in other words, at the same perfectly acceptable speed Safari did before Nitro (only faster because today's hardware is faster). I've used Chrome and Mercury on iOS, and haven't felt they were slow.

    If Firefox thinks that loaded half-truths will get Apple to abandon security just to help Firefox hit a better-sounding benchmark number for the 17 people who choose a browser that way, then they're deluded. Firefox will need to play WITHIN the rules if those rules have a good reason. This time, they do.

    I hope Firefox changes their mind and proceeds on iOS. We don't really need a non-WebKit rendering engine: WebKit is excellent. We certainly don't need security holes that turn iOS into the nest of malware that Android is. But we COULD use some choice in browsers--the experience/UI/features that surround our browsing and manage our pages/tabs/bookmarks. Firefox COULD make a WebKit Firefox for iOS, and I'd welcome the option.
  • Reply 9 of 72
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,085member
    Who the **** is clamoring for FF on iOS? There's a reason why opera just switched to WebKit. It's by far the best rendering engine around. There's a million browsers on iOS, the lack of FF is a much bigger blow to FF than it is for iOS. It's benefits are zero.
  • Reply 10 of 72
    pendergastpendergast Posts: 1,358member
    euphonious wrote: »
    The concern is that Webkit is coming close to having a monopoly in the browser market. It effectively already does in the mobile and tablet space.

    When one rendering engine has a monopoly, that engine becomes the standard, complete with its bugs and foibles. That isn't good for an open, progressive internet. Webkit may have fewer bugs than IE6, but web standards are evolving all the time and the risk is that the Webkit way becomes the only way.

    I understand what you're saying, but WebKit is not a browser, nor is it proprietary, so it is unfair to compare it to IE6. WebKit is not controlled by anyone person. It is a rendering engine, and various WebKit browsers can be greatly different.

    Do you think HTML has a monopoly that is harming consumers or that will cause stagnation? Nonsense. Similarly, there is room for much competition between the various flavors of WebKit. For instance, look at how Safari and Chrome, despite being based on the same engine, look and feel different and have rapidly progressed in competition.
  • Reply 11 of 72
    Mozilla can eat sh.t. Apple tells you their rules up front. They should stop crying about it.
  • Reply 12 of 72
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,194member


    Who cares? Firefox 19.0.2 is still crap and crashes weekly on Linux.

  • Reply 13 of 72
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,198member
    Apple ain't really going to care since truth is, they would rather everyone use the one that is built in. If folks weren't so quick to scream antitrust they would just refuse to approve any third party web browsers, email apps etc
  • Reply 14 of 72
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    You'd think after they dug in their heals against H.264 they would have learned their lesson.

    euphonious wrote: »
    The concern is that Webkit is coming close to having a monopoly in the browser market. It effectively already does in the mobile and tablet space.

    When one rendering engine has a monopoly, that engine becomes the standard, complete with its bugs and foibles. That isn't good for an open, progressive internet. Webkit may have fewer bugs than IE6, but web standards are evolving all the time and the risk is that the Webkit way becomes the only way.

    You say all this as if WebKit is closed. If you see a bug you report it and you can fix it. It's GNU LGPLv2.1 (JavaScriptCore & WebCore components) and BSD v2.0 (remainder of browser engine). IE6 never had any of that. On top of that IE is a proprietary browser, yet we're talking about a layout engine despite I never see Trident, also closed, never getting mentioned.

    The future is a much brighter place with less layout engines for developers to code and test for. There are still version variances, different layouts for JS and CSS, and idiosyncrasies with the apps themselves but it's never been better and I don't see how it won't continue to get better.

    For instance, now that Opera has moved to WebKit they don't have to deal with much of the issues with building all of Presto to compete with WebKit but can now extend their long history of innovation to more efficiently adding the features they want to support Opera's development.

    Here are a couple links that should key you into how WebKit is drastically different from IE to wit Trident



    edit: Doh! Pipped by Pendergast.
  • Reply 15 of 72
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Mozilla can eat sh.t. Apple tells you their rules up front. They should stop crying about it.

    Mozilla is also upset by MS not allowing it with Windows RT, but aren't they trying to make a mobile Firefox OS? Does that mean they'll allow any browser engine to run on their platform? I haven't heard anything yet to that effect.
  • Reply 16 of 72
    ???(?_?)???eat this Mozilla!
  • Reply 17 of 72
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member


    Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post

    ???(?_?)???eat this Mozilla!


     


    I suppose it's… sunglasses? Or breasts in a bikini? Though that would probably be (?Y?).






    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

    Mozilla is also upset by MS not allowing it with Windows RT, but aren't they trying to make a mobile Firefox OS? Does that mean they'll allow any browser engine to run on their platform? I haven't heard anything yet to that effect.



     


    Does Chrome OS allow you to install Safari? image

  • Reply 18 of 72
    If Fire Fox wants to stick a finger up at Apple, just write an app and release it in Cydia.
  • Reply 19 of 72
    seafoxseafox Posts: 86member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by nagromme View Post



    This isn't about rules, or Apple trying to "control" you... Apple could just BAN 3rd-party browsers if they wanted that.


     


    Maybe, maybe not.


     


    When Microsoft controlled a humongous portion of the desktop OS market, they got in trouble for leveraging this position in their competition between their web browser and others. And that was just including the browser with the OS. You could still run any other web browser you wanted on your Windows PC, regardless of if it used the Trident engine or not. And you could make any of them your default browser.


     


    So when you think about it, Apple is being even more abusive than Microsoft.


     


    As iDevices get more popular and if Apple continues to expand their market share in these areas, it could -- nay it should be held up to the same standards for anti-competitive behavior.

  • Reply 20 of 72
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post



    ???(?_?)???eat this Mozilla!


    Wow that is an old username for only a couple posts. What are some of your other usernames?

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