Mozilla: No plans to release Firefox for Windows Phone 7

Mozilla: No plans to release Firefox for Windows Phone 7

Summary: Mozilla is ceasing its browser-development work for Windows Mobile phones -- no surprise, given Microsoft has no plans to further that platform. But Microsoft's browser rival also has decided not to do a Windows Phone 7 version of Firefox, officials said via a blog post on March 23.


Mozilla is ceasing its browser-development work for Windows Mobile phones -- no surprise, given Microsoft has no plans to further that platform. But Microsoft's browser rival also has decided against developing a Windows Phone 7 version of Firefox, officials said via a blog post on March 22.

Author of the post, Stuart Parmenter (technical lead of the Mozilla Mobile Team)  is citing Microsoft's decision not to allow native third-party application development on the Windows Phone 7 platform as its reason for discontinuing development. Microsoft officials reiterated last week at Mix 10 that Silverlight and XNA are the development environments for Windows Phone 7 devices, and C# is the only development language supported for now.  Microsoft is including a mobile version of Internet Explorer with the platform that falls somewhere between IE 7 and IE 8, in terms of features and functionality, company officials have said.

There is one third-party application which Microsoft is allowing to circumvent these rules: Adobe Flash. Microsoft Group Product Manger for Windows Phone Developer Experience Charlie Kindel told me last week that Microsoft has decided to allow Adobe to develop a version of Flash that will access the Windows Phone 7 platform natively. Microsoft made this exception because Flash is considered part of the inherent mobile experience. (A number of Microsoft's own applications that will run on the platform also seem to have been granted an exception and are not, at least for the time being, built using Silverlight, as blogger Long Zheng noted last week.)

I'm wondering whether Microsoft will bend the managed-apps-only for any other third-party applications besides Flash. So far, the word seems to be no....

(Thanks to for the pointer to the Mozilla blog post on Windows Phone 7.)

Topics: Software, Browser, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Windows


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • So basically

    Microsoft is going to create a need for a
    WinPhone Dev Team to figure out how to
    jailbreak Windows Mobile phones?

    I mean seriously, it's like they're taking
    everything that I like about owning a WinMo
    phone and throwing it away. I *like* having a
    file browser on my phone. I *like* having
    native applications. I *like* HTC's SenseUI. I
    *like* being able to use my phone as USB mass
    storage. I *like* being able to HardSPL my
    phone and use a custom ROM from HTCpedia or
    xda-developers. I *like* being able to tether
    my phone using a standard data plan. I *like*
    Opera Mobile. These are all features that WinMo
    had and the iPhone didn't. Between these and
    the dropped calls (oh, and iTunes), I ditched
    my iPhone and couldn't be happier. Now they're
    taking away even the possibility of all of
    these features? Sure, I could completely
    understand hiding the file browser by default.
    I could understand not allowing HTC to ship
    SenseUI enabled by default. I could understand
    wanting to streamline the process and moving
    away from scouring the internet for CAB files
    and shifting toward a more standardized
    development process. But seriously Microsoft,
    don't try to copy Apple's shortcomings at the
    expense of the very reasons why I chose a WinMo

    • The solution

      Use Windows Phone 6.5 it's not going anywhere.
      • That's precisely the problem

        You speak deep truth ... Window Mobile 6.5
        isn't going anywhere (it's not Windows Phone
        until you get to 7). Ever. Microsoft, by all
        accounts, is ending it. Sure, they'll keep
        selling it for awhile, just as they did with

        I do believe this is the wrong decision by MS,
        by the way. Windows Phone and Windows Mobile
        may share a large chunk of code, but their
        realizations can't be different. WP7 is a
        flashier iClone... they're even cloning most of
        the really bad parts of the iPhone universe,
        like strictly limited multitasking and walled
        garden software distribution.

        Also, ever actually used a Zune? I liked my
        original Zune because the audio quality beat
        the crap out of the iPod, and I got my 30GB
        device for $70. No one liked the brown.. but it
        matches my Martin D15! Anyway, the UI works, to
        an extent, but it's annoying over time. Apple's
        uber-austere on their UI. I think designers
        have to wash Steve Jobs' cars if they get even
        a little creative. But used everyday, that's
        not horrible. Just as on the desktop, longterm,
        the best thing the UI can do is vanish... so
        you don't notice it being there, or anything

        But 6.5.. that's currently a lame and bleeding
        duck. MS could and probably should keep it
        alive as their enterprise phone OS... WP7 won't
        be any more useful to a large corporation's
        needs than iPhoneOS. And really, for hardcore
        business use, WinMo seems to have been second
        only to RIM, even as a distant second. RIM's
        been beaten over the consumer vs. business
        focus.. it's hard to sell a Blackberry in the
        Verizon store these days, worse in the AT&T
    • Those who like WinMo are not in adequate numbers for commercial success


      I could not agree more with you but you cannot blame MS for throwing the old WinMo crowd under the bus, so to speak. This crowd did not make WinMo a success.

      MS always targeted WinMo phones to the enterprise. Thus, the phones in the stores were not appropriate consumer-friendly devices. Apparently, the consumers like the Apple experience, so MS is giving them more of it. Will they bite?? I do not know. I think that this is up to the headset manufacturers and MS to create a marketing event that the consumers may notice.

      I am quite happy with my Tilt 2 which is an excellent device that allows me a lot of freedom to do the things that I want such as control external storage, my choice of browser, loading directly my applications and cutting and pasting. When I would be ready to upgrade, then I would see what's available and if the best choice is the Android platform, then I would go with it.

      MS is keeping WinMo as WinPhone Classic!! If the new phones are a disaster (and they may be), then MS may decide to return to the "classic".

      In any case, you cannot blame MS from jettisoning a failed product however much you and I like it.
      • I don't expect

        MS to make WinMo 7 more of the same. I'mall for a
        radical change. my point is that they could have
        had a special "power user" mode which gave me a
        file browser and the ability to install CAB files.
        Hidden by default? yes. Requiring a jailbreak team
        and reverse engineers to add features that made
        people who have chosen WinMo continue that choice?
        not so much.
  • RE: Mozilla: No plans to release Firefox for Windows Phone 7

    What exactly is the problem? Is it the Mozilla guys don't want to code the browser in C#? I thought the whole managed code concept was supposed to be better/safer than native applications. If Mozilla doesn't produce a browser for Windows Phone 7 they leaving it up to IE to be the primary browser and having the possibility of Opera to get in there. That would be losing some market share I would imagine.
    Loverock Davidson
    • RE: Mozilla: No plans to release Firefox for Windows Phone 7

      I'm not sure how much you know about programming, but trying to convert the Mozilla codebase to C# would be a monumental task. They have several million lines of C++, most of which is written in their own internal frameworks. All of that would have to be ported in order to run under Windows Mobile 7.

      I'd certainly like them to continue work on Firefox for Windows Mobile 6.5, but apparently they feel that if they can't produce it for the next-generation OS as well, it's not worth doing.
      • Yes, That's the Problem

        Basically, Microsoft is making it so that all your code that is portable across platforms is not. In other words, Mozilla would basically have to start from scratch. Mozilla written in C# would not really be Mozilla anymore, but an entirely new project.
  • ;D *evil, sinister laugh* ;D

    Microsoft, I'm going to be so happy to jailbreak Windows Phone 7 Series when I buy that phone. I'd love to circumvent the rules. *evil, sinister laugh* :)
    Grayson Peddie
    • It'd be cool to see what you get the thing to do

      let us know! ]:)
      John Zern
  • Honestly, who cares?

    Firefox has nearly ZERO mobile user market share. Fennec has been delayed and performs terribly (much like it's desktop counterpart).

    The only player I care about dropping WPS7 is Opera, how much is dependent on the new PIE implementation.
  • I think Balmer really did use the old

    copier machine when they came up with WiMo 7.

    No multi-tasking....Check
    No 3rd Party Browser....Check
    No Flash....Check

    HMMM what does WiMo 7 have that iPhone OS doesn't? Hmmm.

    Hey look MSFT is the new Apple! ;)
    • Read the Fine Article

      Mary Jo SPECIFICALLY SAYS in the article that
      Flash WILL be on WinMo 7.

      What will be interesting will be to see if
      Opera has some flavor of browser for the
      platform. Opera Mini has run on more handset
      models than any other browser. If full-blown
      Opera Mobile won't work, maybe Mini will. If
      not, Opera has had success against Microsoft in
      the past in court, and if the platform become
      big enough, maybe it'll be worthwhile to take
      on Redmond again.

      • According to the linked article.

        [i]What about projects like Adobe?s Flash runtime, which both
        Microsoft and Adobe have said is planned, or at least (in Microsoft?s
        case), not blocked ? [b]although we already know that Flash will not be
        available in the first release.[/b][/i]

        They say it will come later, but not in the initial release. So all the
        things that people on here screamed about Apple not including in the
        initial iPhone release, will not be in windows 7 phone series. No Cut,
        Copy, and Paste; no multitasking for 3rd party apps; no apps that
        compete with the built in apps; It will be tied to a specific app store;
        apps will have to be approved by Microsoft, etc. For all the claims that
        ?Apple is Evil?, for the iPhone, what is Microsoft? It looks as though
        Microsoft got a copy of iPhone OS 1 and is releasing a ?copycat?
        version of it.
    • You give Apple too much credit.

      Maybe they're just adopting the same business model Apple did.

      The one where they leave things out of early versions, so the users come back and buy each new version as features are added to it.

      Out of all the iPhones sod, how man have been converted to an "iPod Touch"?
      John Zern
      • Actually no...

        They are putting a ?special? Microsoft twist on it. Apple?s business model
        is to make the hardware, everything else hinges on hardware sales.
        Microsoft is going to dictate hardware design, while not spending a dime
        on the hardware. All windows 7 series phones will look and perform
        identical, depending on which tier they are on. I believe that handset
        makers are going to join the ?race for the bottom? in which the OS maker
        will make more per phone, than the handset maker. Sound familiar? The
        phone quality will drop over time, to the a point where the phone will
        become a disposable item. Disposable phones would be a great ting for
        Microsoft, as it would mean more sales of their phone OS. It could also
        be used to artificially inflate the market share numbers.
  • RE: Mozilla: No plans to release Firefox for Windows Phone 7

    "Microsoft made this exception because Flash is considered part of the inherent mobile experience."

    And the browser isn't part of the inherent mobile experience??? This is more abuse of monopoly position!!! Bring on the lawsuit! Collar-Kotelly did NOT get the job done. The EU made progress, but likewise did not finish the job. MS needs to be split into a separate OS company and an apps company. It's the ONLY solution to this ongoing abuse that will solve it!!!
  • @Techboy_z: This is your brain on drugs

    Does anyone else see an MS monopoly in the mobile OS market? Or anything about 3rd party browsers being disallowed?
    Johnny Vegas
    • One question...

      Do you think this is an attempt to create a monopoly position?
      Remember the personal computer industry about 30 years ago? IT was
      alive and full of innovation. Microsoft created the perception of a
      monopoly, and wielded monopoly like power, which killed off many
      innovations. Think of all the companies that Microsoft used
      "Embrace, Extend, and Extinguish? to destroy. Microsoft, like any other
      company cares little for the consumer. To a Mega Corporation
      consumers are all just resource to be used at the Mega Corporations

      Look at the state of the PC market today, how many of the original
      OEMs are left? The current one?s live on razor thin margins, while
      Microsoft has the highest margins in the world. With windows 7 series
      phone OS, Microsoft can effectively restrict choice, by dictating that all
      phones have the same features. THis only leaves price to differentiate
      the phones. You can say that it good for the consumer, but in reality
      it creates a further move to put Americans out of jobs. Hell even Mega
      Corp, I mean Microsoft, outsources 95% if its production, and services
      to third world countries. The other 5% is management.
  • Flash is trash. Please WP7S dont allow it

    MS please do us a favor and dont make any exception for flash. If you grow some market share then with you and apple together we'd have a chance to get websites to quit using flash for non ad purposes.
    Johnny Vegas