Mozilla says no new Firefox for iOS in the works, few seem to care

Mozilla’s Firefox browser will have no place on Apple devices so long as Apple continues its unfriendly attitude toward third-party browsers, Jay Sullivan, vice president of product at Mozilla, said today.

Wow, I’m sure a lot of people are really disappointed.

Rosenblatt queried the audience to find out how many people were iOS users, and a majority of hands went up. By contrast, when he asked how many of them were suffering, just a few hands surfaced.

Never mind.



  • kyle braund

    what is that thing about not asking a Q if you don’t know the answer?

  • lucascott

    sounds a bit like the kid that signs up for the basketball team but would rather they play football and has a tantrum about being told no.

    that said, aside from the petulant attitude, points for not doing just to do. if you feel you can’t do something well then dont do it.

  • Vamsmack

    Running that series of events in my head I imagine when he asked how many were suffering and only a few hands went up I can hear a sad trombone noise being played.

  • http://twitter.com/gorskiegangsta Agarun Ilyaguyev

    I’m sure everyone using iOS is suffering immensely considering that they have access to two best browsers available – Safari and Chrome. /s And btw, Mozilla, there are plenty of other excellent 3rd party browsers on iOS, Mercury and Photon (with built-in Adobe Flash streaming) to name a few

    That said, one thing that is still mildly annoying is inability to set a 3rd party app (i.e. email, browser, calendar, etc..) as default in iOS. Hopefully, it would be added in iOS 7.

    • rj

      Afaik, iOS Chrome isn’t really Chrome. Its Apple’s version of WebKit (including Apple’s JavaScript engine) with a Google UI. “Real” Chrome gets new technologies (eg WebGL, WebP, Dart, CSS box model, etc) on Google’s schedule; iOS Chrome gets them on Apple’s schedule.

      Apple’s developer guidelines effectively prevent anyone else from distributing a true “ground up” alternative browser for iOS. While Apple hasn’t abused this power to date, I think it is reason for concern. When Microsoft essentially quit working on IE, FireFox and later Chrome provided an escape hatch for moving the Web forward. No such similar route exists if Apple decides to de-emphasize the Web (or some aspect of it).

      • http://twitter.com/dreyfus2 dreyfus2

        “When Microsoft essentially quit working on IE, FireFox and later Chrome provided an escape hatch for moving the Web forward. No such similar route exists if Apple decides to de-emphasize the Web (or some aspect of it).”

        Actually, it was only Mozilla/Firefox (and to some degree Opera). MS left hibernation quite a bit before Google did anything. The fact that even IE 10 is one big piece of garbage is not due to lack of action, just lack of talent.

        We should not pretend that Web (standard) development is something that happens quickly. There is a 13-year gap between HTML 4 and 5. If anybody drops the ball between HTML 5 and 6, there will be plenty of time for users to vote with their wallets. WebKit now receives contributions from Apple, Google, Intel, Opera and Adobe (plus some others)… It is not really like one party could boycott everything.

        • rj

          “Actually, it was only Mozilla/Firefox (and to some degree Opera). MS left hibernation quite a bit before Google did anything.”

          Whether one considers the rather weak IE7 release to be leaving hibernation or not is beside the point. Chrome has beat IE to the punch in implementing new standards for years.

          “We should not pretend that Web (standard) development is something that happens quickly.”

          Respectfully, you could not be more wrong. Browsers are evolving very quickly. They support a host of evolving standards and technologies including numerous CSS3 modules, WebSockets, Web Workers, Web Storage, WebGL, SVG, Canvas, Web Audio, WebRTC, MathML, Web Fonts, ECMAScript, and more.

          (And that doesn’t include implementation differences between the various WebKit forks, like different threading models, JavaScript interpreters and JITs, etc – http://paulirish.com/2013/webkit-for-developers/)

          • kibbles

            but WebKit is open. your conjectured fear of Apple de-emphasizing web is groundless because WebKit is open. anybody can run with it, as google has proven. I really don’t see the concern.

          • rj

            Google has proven that someone can take WebKit and run with it on a different platform ( Windows/Mac/Android/Linux), but they can’t on iOS. The only version of WebKit available on iOS is Apple’s. Which means iOS only gets support for web features that Apple wants.

            Suppose a new web standard emerges that Apple doesn’t like for competitive reasons and chooses not to implement in their fork of WebKit (hypothetically, let’s say web payments). Due to the restrictions of the app store, it may not be technically possible for other browser makers to bring this feature to iOS.

          • kibbles

            if Apple omitted some new web feature then one of two things happens: 1) either iOS weakens and becomes less appealing to Apple customers, resulting in decreased value and lost customers, or 2) the missing feature doesn’t offer value to Apple customers and neither value nor customers are lost.

            I can think of a close example of #2 — lack of Flash support (despite that being a third-party plugin and not a web standard). I cannot think of an example of #1….thus I’m not worried about it.

      • http://twitter.com/gorskiegangsta Agarun Ilyaguyev

        Except that in Microsoft’s case, IE was on 95+% of ALL web connected personal computers. That is just not the case with iOS. While mobile influences the web to greater extent than desktop nowadays, iOS is neither THE ONLY, nor even the dominant (market share wise) mobile OS. Google is free to do what ever they wish on Android, which THEY’RE in control of (development wise), and because of Android’s “openness”, so does Mozilla. Microsoft is free to do whatever they want in WP7/8, which indeed is what they’re doing (with Silverlight). And, of course, there’s still the desktop (Windows/OS X) which still owns the lion’s share of total computer users.

    • http://twitter.com/dreyfus2 dreyfus2

      WIth all that sandboxing and restricted communication between apps being a landmark feature of iOS, I would be surprised. How would other “default apps” play with parental controls, how would they block Java exploits (like 5 days per week), how long would they need to support new features in new OS versions?

      I do not think it is going to happen. If you feel adventurous, there’s Android. As someone who has no interest in tweaking and safe-guarding a mobile OS, I am happy with that.

  • tyr

    I can see Mozilla’s point. People focus on Firefox, but their product is actually Gecko and XUL and related technologies. There’s little point in their developing a browser for iOS if they have to use some prepackaged Webkit component.

    • http://twitter.com/dreyfus2 dreyfus2

      Agree. There is actually no point.

      But it is not as if someone has really asked for it… Who is really interested in what they are not doing?

      They have just launched a mobile platform that is running the Firefox browser as its core, and it does not support alternate browsers… not even ones using the same “engine”. Their OS is more restrictive than iOS and Android combined…

      So, what was this about? Look Ma, others are evil, too? A disgusting publicity stunt. Raise your hands if you are stupid…

  • Zeatrix

    Not allowing third party browsers and setting third party apps as default apps is my main quirk with iOS. I really hate it.