Mozilla rampages over a lack of browser choice

Posted:
in Mac Software
Mozilla has taken aim at Apple, Google, and Microsoft, declaring in a report that operating systems make it too hard for other browsers, such as Firefox, to be used on the platforms they control.




Firefox lags far behind most other browsers in the world, with it used by 7.4% of desktop users and 3.16 of overall browser usage according to Statcounter. In a report published by Mozilla, platform owners including Apple are claimed to make it too difficult for rivals to persuade users to try out other browsers available on the market.

The report, "Five Walled Gardens: Why Browsers are Essential to the Internet and How Operating Systems are Holding Them Back," offers that competition is needed to advance innovation, privacy, and security, and that Apple's Safari, Google Chrome, and Microsoft Edge are just too dominant. In part, this is down to the operating systems doing a lot to lock in users to the parent company's choice of browser.

Mozilla makes the additional point in that the only large browser engine producers are Apple for WebKit, Google's Chromium Blink, and Mozilla's Gecko. With Apple focusing on its own platforms for WebKit, Chromium Blink has become the most-used engine, including being used by Edge, Brave, Opera, and other browsers.

The 66-page document asserts that operating systems make it "difficult or impossible for a consumer to switch browsers," and they do so by various means. This includes "inhibiting independent app discovery" by setting the company's own browser as the default and in prime position on the home screen or dock.

Curiously, Mozilla also complains about a lack of discovery in voice assistants like Siri, a feature that wouldn't usually rely on displaying a browser screen for the majority of audio-based interactions.

There are also issues in "prohibiting independent app adoption" by making it difficult to remove the existing default browser in place of using another. In cases where another browser is selected, Mozilla also claims that an operating system overriding the user's choice and opening the original default is "even more egregious than prohibiting rival software adoption."

Mozilla also warns of commercial practices aimed at independent firms, such as restrictive contracts that tie browser to operating systems and liming the preinstallation of alternatives. This is in reference to concepts such as Google's arrangement with phone vendors to allow the Play Store to be usable.

Restrictive App Store policies are also attacked, such as Apple's ban on alternative browser engines than WebKit. Mozilla does acknowledge that regulators are stepping up to combat such anti-competitive behaviors, but also that they have "yet to take action."

"As these companies have so far failed to do better, regulators, policymakers and lawmakers have spent considerable time and resources investigating digital markets," the report concludes. "They should therefore be in a good position to recognize the importance of browser competition and to act to prevent further harm to consumers from continued inaction and competitive stagnation."

"We call on them to enforce the laws which already exist and the laws and regulations which will soon come into force. And where existing laws and regulations are lacking, we call for them to be introduced and their importance for the future of the internet to be highlighted."

Read on AppleInsider
Pookie01201
«13

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 43
    I basically use Safari for just about everything on my home Mac unless I have a problem with a particular website then I use Chrome. At work I use a PC and use Chrome generally for the internet and Edge for the company’s intranet.
    watto_cobrapulseimagesjas99tdknox
  • Reply 2 of 43
    rob53rob53 Posts: 3,060member
    Unfortunately, way too many people use Google Chrome on Apple devices. This blows Mozilla's complaint out of the water. Mozilla simply needs to go after Google directly for forcing the use of Chrome when dealing with Google apps and platforms. Yes, Safari can work but just like Adobe PDF products that include proprietary features that don't work with Preview, Google adds specific functions that only work with Chrome.

    I use DuckDuckGo for browser searches but they add an iOS browser (macOS Safari extension) to the mix so, again, Mozilla needs to quit complaining and simply present a browser enough people want to use. Maybe a browser that isn't updated almost every time you open it up, including making UI changes without people knowing about it.
    appleinsideruserOferzeus423bloggerblogwatto_cobraJFC_PAAnilu_777CluntBaby92fotoformatchia
  • Reply 3 of 43
    netroxnetrox Posts: 1,266member
    I stopped using Firefox. I use Safari or Chrome. Firefox is a great browser but I don't feel like there's an incentive to use FF except for tests. 


    watto_cobrapulseimages
  • Reply 4 of 43
    There are no "watch apps" allowed on Apple's watchOS platform. Does Mozilla have a problem with that? I doubt it, because they're smart enough to know that if you build the platform you can restrict the software allowed on it. Same thing with iOS. Apple has no obligation to let other people replace core components of Apple's devices. Even Steve Jobs made this perfectly clear when he described the iPhone as a breakthrough Internet communications device (ie, web browser.) Would you expect Apple to allow developers to sell "alternative phone apps" for the iPhone? Why isn't Moronzilla complaining about that? It's the same problem there too.

    The iPhone is not now, and has never been, and never will be, a general purpose computer. It's a special purpose device like a computer in your car or in your TV. There's no requirement that special purpose devices be allowed to support your choice of software. If you want to, sell your own hardware with your software in it. And if you did, would you be willing to let other companies replace all your own software? Probably not.
    danoxwatto_cobraCluntBaby92Evan-elFileMakerFellerAlex1N
  • Reply 5 of 43
    danoxdanox Posts: 1,348member
    Over the years I have used many browsers on the Amiga and Mac systems by choice and utter crap designed on Windows systems Microsoft and Google at work, I have tried Mozilla but the experience was like Linux a free pizza and beer show where no features are set and everything changes at a whim daily/weekly.

    Mozilla can grow if they offer features beyond the competition, more control over the browsing experience go where Microsoft and Google in particular won’t go, Little Snitch like abilities built in to turn off unwanted demands made by internet web sites that actually work (plugins don’t count). As a end user I and many others would pay for such a program that offered real control at user level.

    Such a browser would not be popular among the software only companies (note: me too hardware doesn’t count) if Mozilla could pull it off the only real computer hardware/OS company left (Apple) would follow.

    Mozilla won’t get there being the same as Microsoft and Google. (time is running out for small software only companies specializing in browsers).
    watto_cobraEvan-elAlex1N
  • Reply 6 of 43
    Why do I keep hearing about these same stupid stories since the 90’s. By the way, I’m criticizing the message, not the messenger. If people are not using Firefox, then that is Mozilla’s problem. People can download and use whatever browser they want. There was a time when IE was dominate, then Firefox got really big, and now most people use Chrome. Mozilla should stop complaining and build a better browser. People can use whatever browser they want. They are not forced against their will to use any specific browser. How is it that Chrome is the dominate browser when the vast majority of people are using a Microsoft OS? Maybe it’s because more people like Chrome better than Edge. Stop complaining and build a better browser. I know I said that twice but it’s just so common sense. Stop blaming others for your own problems.
    watto_cobraCluntBaby92chiadewmeFileMakerFellerbaconstangtdknoxAlex1N
  • Reply 7 of 43
    danoxdanox Posts: 1,348member
    Why do I keep hearing about these same stupid stories since the 90’s. By the way, I’m criticizing the message, not the messenger. If people are not using Firefox, then that is Mozilla’s problem. People can download and use whatever browser they want. There was a time when IE was dominate, then Firefox got really big, and now most people use Chrome. Mozilla should stop complaining and build a better browser. People can use whatever browser they want. They are not forced against their will to use any specific browser. How is it that Chrome is the dominate browser when the vast majority of people are using a Microsoft OS? Maybe it’s because more people like Chrome better than Edge. Stop complaining and build a better browser. I know I said that twice but it’s just so common sense. Stop blaming others for your own problems.
    Microsoft checked out, fumbled the ball, and Google did a brilliant end round.
    CluntBaby92FileMakerFeller
  • Reply 8 of 43
    I use safari for browsing but prefer Firefox for development
    watto_cobramac daddy zee
  • Reply 9 of 43
    mpantonempantone Posts: 1,934member
    I use safari for browsing but prefer Firefox for development
    The Mozilla Foundation isn't talking about people like you -- developers.

    They're griping about the difficulty that Joe Consumer has in discovering and running Firefox.
    Alex1N
  • Reply 10 of 43
    So whenever a business is doing badly, just complain about the people who are successful?

    how did this country get here?
    CluntBaby92lkruppEvan-elmac daddy zeetdknoxAlex1N
  • Reply 11 of 43
    davendaven Posts: 646member
    I basically use Safari for just about everything on my home Mac unless I have a problem with a particular website then I use Chrome. At work I use a PC and use Chrome generally for the internet and Edge for the company’s intranet.
    Ditto except that I use Safari on my Apple pls devices and Fire Fox as the alternative browser staying away from Chrome. 
    mac daddy zee
  • Reply 12 of 43
    XedXed Posts: 1,526member
    mpantone said:
    I use safari for browsing but prefer Firefox for development
    The Mozilla Foundation isn't talking about people like you -- developers.

    They're griping about the difficulty that Joe Consumer has in discovering and running Firefox.
    He mentioned his broker choices just like several other people in this thread. He knows exactly who Mozilla is talking about. 
  • Reply 13 of 43
    Firefox was great…in the 90’s! 
  • Reply 14 of 43
    Firefox was great…in the 90’s! 
    I actually just looked it up. Firefox’s initial release was September 23, 2002. So almost 20 years ago to the day. The World Wide Web became more widely available to the public in 1993 when the first browser was Mosaic. Out of Mosaic came Netscape Navigator in 1994 which became very dominate until Microsoft bundled Internet Explorer with Windows 95 and then IE dominated for 14 years. I believe 1994 was an explosion of people using the Web for the first time. I always think of 1994 as the beginning of the internet even though it really wasn’t. But before 1994 there were very few people using the internet, whereas after 1994, there were exponentially more people using the internet largely thanks to Netscape Navigator.
    mwhitedewme
  • Reply 15 of 43
    Madbum said:
    So whenever a business is doing badly, just complain about the people who are successful?

    how did this country get here?
    It’s not about that. It’s about a fair playing field. When companies become too powerful, they become the economy instead of operating in the economy. Ironically it then is no longer a free market.

    lkruppwilliamlondoncitpeksmac daddy zeeAlex1N
  • Reply 16 of 43
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,453member
    I remember when rampages were Gojira destroying Tokyo.  Rampages aren't what they used to be.
    FileMakerFellermac daddy zeeAlex1N
  • Reply 17 of 43
    I always use Firefox on my PCs or MacBooks.  I don’t like Safari safari web browser layout. 
    williamlondonmac daddy zeecharlesatlas
  • Reply 18 of 43
    Well, BOO-HOO! Consumers don't want poor FireFox. So instead of making their product competitive by making it better, they're going to beg the government to intervene on our behalf.
  • Reply 19 of 43
    Maybe Mozilla should work on making a stable browser. More often than not they release versions that don’t work properly and have to be abandoned. 

    i use Safari and Chrome on Mac and iOS. I use Chrome and Edge on Windows. I have FireFox on all platform as well, but rarely use it. 
    MadbumAlex1N
  • Reply 20 of 43
    Used to use FireFox on my all windows computers and than on my MacBook Pro for years. Have seen the decline of once a great browser in quality, performance and efficiency department… switched than to Chrome, which was not that much better, but still better than FireFox. Maybe they should first ask users - why they don’t want to use it. For sure it is not that they cannot find it or download. At least Mac users get to some alternative sooner or later when some pages don’t work well for them in Safari.
    Evan-elmac daddy zee
Sign In or Register to comment.