back to article Mozilla and Google blast IE-only Windows on ARM

Mozilla and Google are crying foul over Microsoft restrictions blocking rivals from Windows 8 on ARM, due later this year. Firefox-shop Mozilla has branded Microsoft's restrictions a return to the digital dark ages "where users and developers didn't have browser choices". Harvey Anderson, Mozilla general counsel, accused …


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  1. M Gale

    Apps for Android can be served from anywhere you can download an APK

    ...just thought I'd let you know that.

    Also I wonder how are Microsoft going to stop Google and Mozilla? An Apple-esque "our way or the highway" app store?

    Well fuck that shit, then.

    1. Lee Dowling Silver badge

      Re: Apps for Android can be served from anywhere you can download an APK


      An Android tablet that I bought cheap from Maplin's did make my heart sink a little to see that it had no Google Play app store on it, but only some proprietary nonsense that wanted you to pay in "coins" for free apps. I was *this* close to taking it back to the shop to complain that it wasn't "proper Android", when I decided to take the challenge (MS had earlier been peeing me off that day by some ridiculous hurdles on installing a game that wanted GfWLive - and needless to say there was a little victory punch when I did indeed manage that on XP SP2 which isn't officially supported at all - so I was quite in the mood for some technical wizardry to bypass silly restrictions) .

      I was quite disappointed to find out that all I needed to go was google for the Play store app APK file, download it, run it, and voila! Mum could buy and play Cut-The-Rope and Angry Birds. I didn't even need to use a PC or anything - I did it all from the tablet and hardly did anything technical at all.

      Moral of the story: Restrict me and I'll send your product back or make it work anyway. Don't restrict me, but just configure things a little oddly, and I'll pay for the product and put it the way *I* like it anyway. Same with browsers. I don't care what comes pre-installed, but if I can't get my favourite browser on a level playing ground, I won't touch it.

      I think MS are leading themselves to trouble here. This *STINKS* of deliberate anti-competitive behaviour and the EU still haven't forgiven them from the last time yet. Either IE has to stop using those API's (and thus shows itself up as being junk) or everyone else gets to use them (and thus IE shows itself up as being junk). Either way, all they've done is make themselves look evil when they could have just chose either option and merely looked incompetent.

      1. David Ward 1

        Re: Apps for Android can be served from anywhere you can download an APK

        Isn't that technically breaking the license on the play store and therefore illegal?

        1. Lee Dowling Silver badge

          Re: Apps for Android can be served from anywhere you can download an APK


          The device might not be "supported" (so boo-hoo if it doesn't work), but the only real restriction is that you have to do it on an "Android device". This device was Android, branded with the Google Android logo, or otherwise I wouldn't have bothered to install an app store for Android on it.

          And given that it's incredibly easy to spot if someone's installed the app on something they shouldn't, I'd think that Google would have blocked it in a second otherwise.

          "This license granted to you for the Licensed Application by Licensor is limited to a nontransferable license to use the Licensed Application on any mobile devices running Android OS ("Android Device(s)") that you own or control."

  2. James Hughes 1

    Do MS actually want to sell any Windows 8 OS's? First the weird restriction on the HW, now restrictions on what software you can run. Both seem extremely odd decisions. Still, I guess they don't care as most people won't even realise there is a restriction.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      It works just fine for Apple. It only makes sense for MS to look at what is successful and copy it.

      What IS the situation on iOS - I noticed Opera Mini exists in the AppStore so does that mean MS is being MORE restrictive, or just that 3rd-party browsers can't be the default?

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        What is the situation on iOS

        As I understand it, you can have various front-ends on iOS, but it's the Safari webkit engine that does the actual work. Which allows for UI changes. For example Safari will let you view a PDF on a website, but stupidly won't save a copy. Atom allows both.

        The Opera version you probably saw was Opera Mini. Which is doing all the work on one of their servers, and converting the web to mobile-bandwidth-friendly static pages, that I'm assuming you view with Safari, or a custom Opera front-end.

        I'm assuming from Firefox's complaint that something similar will happen with WinRT. You can build a Metro App, but you'll have to do without some functions, or use an IE API or something.

        1. toadwarrior

          Re: What is the situation on iOS

          You're right that it has to use webkit as it's rendering engine which of course means a true firefox can't be done but unless chrome uses a wildly different version of webkit you can have chrome. Firefox could be there too if it wanted to use webkit but admittedly it seems a bit silly to port firefox to using webkit solely for iphone.

      2. Code Monkey

        Re: It works just fine for Apple

        That's because Apple aren't restricting their users to IE.

        1. JDX Gold badge

          That's because Apple aren't restricting their users to IE.

          They are restricting them to Safari and I'd take IE9 anyday... and I imagine IE10 will be even better.

          1. yossarianuk

            Re: That's because Apple aren't restricting their users to IE.

            Of course you could just use an OS THAT DOESN'T TRY TO RESTRICT YOU !

            One that actually treats you like an adult...

            1. Sean Timarco Baggaley

              "Of course you could just use an OS THAT DOESN'T TRY TO RESTRICT YOU !"

              Why the hell does everyone here believe that the policies of GNU and the FOSS movement are universally applicable? What about MY choice to use an ecosystem filled with developers who don't just spam their software's user interfaces with every bloody feature under the sun, as well as the kitchen sink and a dancing bidet?

              Choice for its own sake leads to a very poor user experience. There is very solid science behind the "KISS" design philosophy the more successful consumer electronics companies apply to their products.

              It also explains why not one single, solitary, GNU / Linux distribution has ever made it big on the desktop, despite every year in the past decade being touted as "The Year of Linux On The Desktop!" The GNU ecosystem is so full of unusable shit and irrelevant debates over "freedom" that you've all lost sight of the fundamental purpose of computers: to improve the lives of ordinary people.

              So don't preach to us about "restriction" in the IT field when you lot are the most conservative bunch of loudmouthed fanatics out there. Hypocrites, the lot of you.

              1. FatGerman

                Re: "Of course you could just use an OS THAT DOESN'T TRY TO RESTRICT YOU !"

                "Choice for its own sake leads to a very poor user experience. There is very solid science behind the "KISS" design philosophy the more successful consumer electronics companies apply to their products."

                As a long-term Linux user, I simply couldn't agree more. I'm sick to death of having so much bloody choice. Especially when it's choice between 4 things that all don't quite work but in different ways. These days I just want stuff that works. I bought a Mac. Sorry.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: "Of course you could just use an OS THAT DOESN'T TRY TO RESTRICT YOU !"

                "Hypocrites, the lot of you."

                Pram, toys , tantrum - good argument, well formulated. Your usual drivel

            2. A J Stiles

              Users don't want to be treated like adults

              Users have already got used to Microsoft telling them they are too thick to do anything beside point and grunt, and feel quite comfortable without the awesome power and boost to their productivity that could be had from communicating with a computer in a more nuanced, more expressive language. To the point where this sort of thing is considered a virtue.

              (Having moved from Debian to Ubuntu, and subsequently discovered that the version of Brasero included with 11.10 is a bug-infested heap of toss, I ended up having to go back to the time-honoured method of using dd and growisofs for backing up DVDs. It's actually nowhere near as bad as it sounds, especially with the command recall and editing facilities offered by a modern shell. Given me an idea for a programming project, as well.)

          2. Wibble

            Re: That's because Apple aren't restricting their users to IE.

            > I'll take IE any day [over other browsers]

            I didn't see the sarcasm icon -- as you're surely taking the piss!

            Now where's the turd icon for all postings related to Internet Exploder?

          3. h4rm0ny

            Re: That's because Apple aren't restricting their users to IE.

            I really like IE9 too, but choice is still good for those that want something else. I'd be interested to have read more about what "critical" functionality Mozilla feels is being denied. Presumably this is the graphics accelleration?

            1. Cris E

              Re: That's because Apple aren't restricting their users to IE.

              If the plugins worked that'd be a huge differentiator.

          4. toadwarrior

            Re: That's because Apple aren't restricting their users to IE.

            Yeah I'd totally give up a browser that tries to be standards compliant and webgl for the plethora of exploits and viruses IE has.

            1. dogged

              Re: That's because Apple aren't restricting their users to IE.

              Yeah I'd totally give up a browser that tries to be standards compliant and webgl for the plethora of exploits and viruses IE has.

              What's the weather like in 1998?

          5. sisk

            Re: That's because Apple aren't restricting their users to IE.

            I haven't had the 'pleasure' of IE10, but IE9 is crap. I have to use it every day at work. Sure it's standards support is better than previous versions, but there are plenty of issues with it that make up for that improvement with further shortfalls.

            I will say this though: as bad as IE9 is, Mobile Safari is worse. That turd has become as big a headache for me, as a web developer, as IE7 used to be.

      3. Alan Bourke

        Opera Mini, Dolphin ...

        They're all there. And all nearly as shite as mobile Safari. You can't officially change the default browser but there are apps that can.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      MS are just taking Apples' baton and running with it.

      Thanks a bunch, fanbois.

    3. Stuart Halliday

      Short memories

      The EU will never allow it or has The Register forgotten about the Browser choice issue with XP?

      1. Figgus

        Re: Short memories

        "The EU will never allow it or has The Register forgotten about the Browser choice issue with XP?"

        Yeah, I'm sure that in 15 years Microsoft will be found at fault and pay a small fine to the EU to make amends.

        Of course, by then the damage will be done and Microsoft's monopoly will be firmly cemented in place again...

        1. multipharious

          Re: Short memories

          @Figgus, what monopoly exactly is that? You checked the browser market percentage figures lately? Not blessing the decision, but if default browser also means it is responsible for background HTML5 shell rendering, then it is hard to argue that this should be left to just any third party to provide a reliable and consistent the first version. Lockout of allowing other vendors to be an App? There is where I might argue in step alongside with you.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Doesn't feel too different to "Safari with menaces" on my iPad...

    1. dogged

      Re: hmm

      Hard to say at the moment whether it's different or not.

      If you can create a fully-featured Metro browser using MS's WinRT tools (and I don't know whether or not you can yet), it's different because nobody says you HAVE to browse from the Classic Desktop (which is limited to Office 15 anyway, noting else runs on the desktop that might trigger a link).

      If browsers you create using WinRT lack functionality or are limited in some way, or (for example) use IE for rendering, it's the same.

      I personally hope that WinRT supports the creation of a full-featured Metro Firefox (and Chrome, etc) in which case, the old-style Classic Desktop on a Win8 ARM tablet is irrelevant - the metro version would be enough.

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Re: hmm

        WinRT (WoA) does not have a classic desktop, it's Metro only, and locked to the hardware that uses technical measures to ensure you cannot run anything else.

        Thus if it actually takes off, we're back where IE6 came from - unpublished APIs that only MS code can access, preventing 3rd parties from making competing apps.

        That can only be bad.

  4. pip25

    Not much of a loss for Mozilla

    Since I'm willing to bet money on Windows RT going nowhere fast.

    The EU might be interested to hear about this though, since they forced M$ into including the "choose your browser" popup, which Windows RT obviously will not have.

    1. sabroni Silver badge

      Re: Not much of a loss for Mozilla

      Surely they'd have to make Apple include a "choose your browser" popup on ipad first....

      1. toadwarrior

        Re: Not much of a loss for Mozilla

        Of course the difference is apple doesn't have a monoply to abuse and microsoft still has a desktop monoply with a proven track record of abusing it.

        Keep in mind even having a monoploy isn't bad. It's what you do with that situation and microsoft are proven abusers in that position.

        1. dogged

          Re: Not much of a loss for Mozilla

          apple doesn't have a monoply to abuse

          They do. That monopoly is on mp3 players and they abuse it by leveraging iTunes, a content store. That monopoly is what's given them a boost on the desktop and the reason why iOS cultists keep buying iOS. iTunes demands it.

    2. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Not much of a loss for Mozilla

      The browser choice was because MS had a monopoly on desktop OS and used this to push a monopoly in a separate product, the web browser. This is entirely different.

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: Not much of a loss for Mozilla

        That's also the reason Apple get away with similar restrictions. They aren't deemed to have a monopoly of the market in question and therefore can't be forced to open it up.

        The fact that Microsoft's whole Windows-8 sales pitch is about how desktops and tablets are now really just one big market should not be allowed to distract us. They aren't, so Microsoft should be allowed to cripple WoA as much as they like.

      2. sabroni Silver badge


        How is it entirely different? Can you elaborate? To me Apple's monopoly on tablet computers seems very similar to MS's monopoly on desktop OS...

        1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

          Re: @JDX

          A bit of googling suggests that Apple have about 70% of the tablet market whereas Microsoft have nearer 90% of the desktop market and that's quite a bit down on their historical peak.

          I'd say there were significant other players on the tablet market and Apple are under pressure if they want to retain their leadership. An awful lot of apps and content seem to be fairly platform agnostic and so the barrier to entry for a new player is also lower.

          The evidence of recent new versions of Windows suggests that Microsoft have not felt under similar pressure for the last decade. The relative crapness of WINE suggests that there are still significant barriers to entry for rivals.

        2. toadwarrior

          Re: @JDX

          I like how apple either has a total monopoly on tablets (which isn't wrong anyway if it's not abused) or they're going to be crushed by android any day now. The argument seems to change depending on which ever sounds most anti-apple at the time.

          Awesome logic.

      3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: This is entirely different

        It's one hell of a precedent and it applies to the Windows operating system, Microsoft would have the burden of proof to demonstrate otherwise. This move has preliminary injunction written all over it if they really go ahead with it. However, I think it's probably just a strawman from MS.

  5. Mage Silver badge

    Copying Apple

    Obviously Windows RT has little in common with how Windows CE gadgets sold and nothing in common with x86 PCs. It seems it's a Microsoft Clone of the iPad environment, basically a Tablet appliance, only running Metro phone like apps like iPad/iPhone apps.

    So not an ARM alternative to the "open" x86 Tablets that have run "closed" Windows for years.


    Apple isn't making huge margin and great sales primarily because it's closed (that's a separate issue) but because

    1) It's Apple

    2) Fashion and Styling

    3) Good and consistent GUI experience not messed up with each release

    MS GUI changes since NT4 have in reality added NOTHING to productivity and some (ribbon) on WS notebooks are plain stupid. Aero/Vista/Win7 is foolish eye candy. "metro" UI is stupendously stupid on anything larger than 7"


    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Copying Apple

      However a closed system allows much greater control... if bad apps drain resources it makes the OS look bad to the typical user. Restricting apps like iOS/WP do means you can't get an app knackering the whole device (as easily)

      1. Tom 35

        Re: Copying Apple

        Taking a cut of everything has nothing to do with it eh? Just to make things better for the typical user, right.

    2. JC_

      Re: Copying Apple

      MS GUI changes since NT4 have in reality added NOTHING to productivity

      Really? You don't remember NT4 with a shudder at how ugly it was? Prettiness aside, there have been lots of UI improvements: window snapping, non-hierarchial start menu, jump lists, taskbar grouping, integrated search, libraries, explorer previews, ...

      Nothing that adds anything to your productivity?

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: Nothing that adds to your productivity?

        I don't think I'd call any (or even all) of the changes you list as having made a measurable change to my productivity. The truth, however sad for Microsoft's shell team, is that for me (and surely squillions of others) the main job of an OS is to get the fuck out of my way.

        On the other hand, I do use all of XP, Vista and 7 on a daily basis and I will say that I can almost never find anything in the Control Panel these days. The individual applets haven't changed significantly, but there is (and possibly always was) just *no* rationale for where Microsoft choose to put them.

        1. JC_

          Re: the main job of an OS is to get the fuck out of my way.

          Well, if you say so. But if finding applets is a problem, why not use the search? Windows-key, start typing what you're looking for, and there it is. How would you do the equivalent in NT more efficiently?

          If NT 4 was still supported and on sale I doubt 1 in a million people would choose it over Windows 7 / Server 2008. Sounds like you've got a case of nostalgia!

          1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

            Re: the main job of an OS is to get the fuck out of my way.

            "If NT 4 was still supported and on sale I doubt 1 in a million people would choose it over Windows 7 / Server 2008."

            Well since we were talking about the GUI additions rather than the base OS, let's put aside the fact that NT4 probably wouldn't recognise most of the hardware that folks want to plug into it now. That done, are you quite sure about the 1 in a million figure?

            Bear in mind that NT4 still can still run on modern hardware in a VM, and if you've ever tried it then your abiding memory will be that everything ran like like shit off the proverbial shovel compared to the host OS.

            Bear in mind also that MS actually *ran* this experiment with XP versus 7 and had to withdraw XP from the market because it was more popular.

  6. lurker

    This could easily backfire on them

    I'm sure I'm not the only person who would simply not buy a windows on arm device if I knew that I would only be able run Internet Exploder at a reasonable speed.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: This could easily backfire on them

      You haven't even seen IE10 so demanding you can use something else is a bit premature.

      Windows tablets will anyway be aimed at either business users - who are very happy with IE - or typical Joe Public types who have no idea what a Browser is.

      1. lurker
        Thumb Down

        Re: This could easily backfire on them

        Not really, I don't need to see it to know that I would rather it was not my sole viable option.

        And you may be right about their market demographics. But given their total, dismal lack of success in the touchscreen phone/tablet markets to date, alienating even a small proportion of their potential customer base may not be the smartest move.

      2. h4rm0ny

        Re: This could easily backfire on them

        "indows tablets will anyway be aimed at either business users - who are very happy with IE - or typical Joe Public types who have no idea what a Browser is."

        I would love this to be the case. But I fear that it may not be. I've wanted a business-focused tablet for a while, but I suspect MS will be creating a consumer-focused device. And that probably makes sense: tablets are ideally suited to lying on a sofa browsing the web, but much less so hammering away at spreadsheets or bashing out countless emails..

  7. DrXym Silver badge

    Predictable but not acceptable

    I thought it was fairly all along that Windows on ARM would be locked down to a single app store and with restrictions that Apple puts on its own store. WOA wouldn't have to worry about supporting legacy applications so there is no worry about letting people run unsigned binaries, or random executables from around the web. Once Microsoft are in that mode of thinking they start slapping all kinds of other ridiculous restrictions on their devices to maintain control.

    The consolation is that by ruling with an iron fist like this that it may all backfire badly on them. Instead of WOA they'll have DOA with people not wanting some gimped windows experience which doesn't run an apps and doesn't have much 3rd party support either. They'll either hold out for a version of Windows which is not crippled (assuming Intel tablets are any better off) or turn to another platform which is more liberal or has no restrictions at all.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Predictable but not acceptable

      On the assumption that at least one hardware vendor is going to make an ultra-netbook -touchscreen widget of some sort... I just want one of these without WOA on it and the associated bootloader restrictions.

      As much of a failure as I expect WOA to be... I do think this could be a good thing from a hardware standpoint.

  8. Bob 18

    Google Calling the Kettle Black

    Google is crying foul here? What about Android, where their built-in browser is about the only thing that works. Even worse, it is just not possible on Android to choose any search engine other than Google. Nor is it possible to turn off cookies and take other privacy measures that are possible with (say) Firefox on the desktop.

    1. John Burton

      Re: Google Calling the Kettle Black

      > it is just not possible on Android to choose any search engine other than Google

      I just went to on my android device and it works fine...

      1. Stuart Halliday

        Re: Google Calling the Kettle Black

        I assumed he ment using the Search button?

    2. pip25

      Re: Google Calling the Kettle Black

      Err, Opera Mobile works pretty well for me, much better than the built-in browser in fact.

      You can also download widgets for other search providers from the store.

    3. Michael H.F. Wilkinson

      Re: Google Calling the Kettle Black

      I have installed Dolphin as my default browser (after trying and not liking firefox on android). No worries on that front

    4. MarcusMarcus2

      Re: Google Calling the Kettle Black

      Really? May want to actually use Android before making claims about what it does or does not do. I use other browsers on it all the time including Firefox (Dolphin is currently my default browser). I can turn off cookies in all the browser on Android that I have including Androids browser. I can even change to bing or yahoo search but why would I want to change from Google?

      Any other lies you want to make up?

      1. W.O.Frobozz
        Thumb Down

        Re: Google Calling the Kettle Black

        Truth and lies means little when Microsoft breaks out the "Steve Barkto" brigade. This is just more astroturfing BS from Microsoft's PR dep't.

        1. M Gale

          Re: Google Calling the Kettle Black

          "This is just more astroturfing BS from Microsoft's PR dep't."

          Actually if you bother to look at the guy's posting history, he seems to be more of a very badly informed Apple fan.

          Or maybe that's part of Ballmer's master plan!

      2. MarcusMarcus2

        Re: Google Calling the Kettle Black

        Someone disliked my reply? Must be because I was to harsh. Either that or Bob18 did not like the fact that I pointed out that his entire comment was wrong and he disliked that. Or maybe someone just dislikes the truth that Android can do all that. It still makes me laugh, which ever it is.

      3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Google Calling the Kettle Black

        Opera Mobile is my default but Maxthon is surprisingly good.

    5. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Google Calling the Kettle Black

      Opera Mobile works just fine here.

      For this tripe, you have earned the Shitpeas dickhead of the week post.


      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Google Calling the Kettle Black

        @Barry: I didn't realise that anyone except you could get the award, it must be quite a while since someone other than you has won it...

    6. Chronos

      Re: Google Calling the Kettle Black

      it is just not possible on Android to choose any search engine other than Google. Nor is it possible to turn off cookies and take other privacy measures that are possible with (say) Firefox on the desktop.

      Say what? My default search is Duck Duck Go SSL no-javascript. My default browser is Zirco. My preferences have it dump history and cookies on close.

      Oh, and my ROM is CM7.

      PEBTSAC [1], perhaps?

      [1] Touch screen. Nothing attached to an Android device or anything else "smart" can be described, even loosely, as a keyboard. Perhaps one of those Bluetooth wotsits that is twice the size of the 'phone, but that's about it.

      1. M Gale

        Re: Google Calling the Kettle Black

        "Nothing attached to an Android device or anything else "smart" can be described, even loosely, as a keyboard."

        Asus Eeepad Transformer Prime TF201

        ....just to be awkward.

        Damn nice keyboard it is too, for the size.

      2. M Gale

        Re: Google Calling the Kettle Black

        "Oh, and my ROM is..."

        Hate to say this, but this immediately discounts everything you've said.

        Standard options please. My mum recently got an Android phone with her contract, but if I said "you can root it and install Cyanogenmod" her answer would be something like "I understood everything up to the word 'can'."

        Still, it's not like the stock ROM won't allow you to install Firefox. Or Opera. Or Dolphin. Hell, I even have MX Player Pro for my videos, and I'm looking for a better music app because Google Play Music is desperately awful shit.

        Desperately awful replaceable shit, I must reiterate.

  9. not_equal_to_null

    Come on, el Reg...

    I thought this site was produced by technically competent writers with real-world experience of technology?

    "...apps for Android can only be served from Google's marketplace"


    Come on, el Reg, sort it out! I'm rapidly losing faith in you!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Come on, el Reg...

      "technically competent writers with real-world experience of technology"

      You are realising, I assume, that you were woefully misled? I'm sorry, my friend.

    2. Paul Shirley

      Re: Come on, el Reg...

      With music hall comedy due Lewis&Orlowski in editor positions what do you expect?

      I miss the old reg, where cutting mockery came from people who knew about what they were reporting. The new reg, where unwavering belief trumps observable reality and cheap insults stand in for understanding their target - just seems petty and irrelevant. Certainly not a useful news source any more.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Errm, what did they expect?

    It's Microsoft, the kings of Antitrust..

    Also, it's Windows 8, which is going to bomb anyway, so it really won't matter.

    1. SJRulez

      Re: Errm, what did they expect?

      Yep the bookies wouldn't even give me odds on it since they thought it was a safe bet!

    2. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Errm, what did they expect?

      W8 and WOA are not the same product. W8 may bomb while WOA is a great success... or theoretically vice versa but that is looking very, very, very unlikely.

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: W8 and WoA are not the same product

        I think I agree, but Microsoft profoundly disagree. They've pretty much bet the farm on convergence between desktop and tablet OS, just as Intel did with IA-64.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    apps for Android can only be served from Google's marketplace

    or Amazon AppStore

    or AppsLib

    or SlideMe

    or GetJar

    or AppBrain

    or MobiHand OnlyAndroid

    or Appsfire

    or Aproov

    ...Wait, I guess they can't only be server by Google's Marketplace (Actually it's called Google Play)

  12. squilookle
    Thumb Down

    On the one hand, I think the users should have a choice over the browser they use, but on the other hand, the browser ballot screen on XP was a pain in the arse. There was one computer I supported at the time for a family member and it confused the hell out of them, and then they picked IE anyway. Waste of time.

    I have a choice of browsers on my chosen platforms. When the choice starts disappearing, I'll ditch them and move on*

    Unless there are no alternatives... then I'm stuck.

  13. Mark 65

    They must really love the inside of Steelie Neelie's office. They're going to get fucked again I feel just based on "prior form"

  14. TeeCee Gold badge

    "...Chrome-maker Google has thrown its weight behind Mozilla."

    Remind me again. How many browsers will run as the default on ChromeOS?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: "...Chrome-maker Google has thrown its weight behind Mozilla."

      There's a Chrome os?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "...Chrome-maker Google has thrown its weight behind Mozilla."

      It's a linux distro with a internet browser as the "gui" or the part that does most of the work.

      You might be able to make your own linux distro with nothing but IE or Firefox on it. I'm sure Google would be fine to open up their APIs to you to hook into their servers and run the google apps trough Firefox etc. They did the same with Android -> Java, so I should think they would let you do FirefoxOS -> ChromeOS.

    3. Richard Plinston

      Re: "...Chrome-maker Google has thrown its weight behind Mozilla."

      ChromeOS _is_ a browser. That is like asking "how many browsers will run on IE?"

      A more relevant question could be "How many browsers will run on a machine that can run ChromeOS?" The answer is many because a machine that can run ChromeOS can boot many different OSes that can have many browsers.

      How many other OSes can a WindowsRT machine boot? NONE.

      In order to boot WindowsRT it must have a secure boot that cannot be turned off. If you buy a WinRT machine you are stuck with it.

  15. Rameses Niblick the Third (KKWWMT)

    Serious Question

    What is the benefit to any of the competing companies that people use THEIR web browser?

    I sort of get Google wanting Chrome to be a success; if I ran a company reliant on know exactly how people get around the internet, then I'd want my browser everywhere too, and I'd make sure it captured that data. But why does Microsoft want everyone to use IE? I don't see how they make money off it, I just don't see any actual benefit which would cause MS and others to get in such a tizzy over getting people to use their browser.

    1. squilookle

      Re: Serious Question

      I'm guessing advertising revenue. I do believe Mozilla get cash whenever someone puts a search term in the search bar on the browser and it sends the user to the results page (and said users eyeballs to he adverts and sponsored links there).

      MS probably hope that folk will not change the default from Bing, which in turn would (they hope, I assume) break the Google habit, and get eyeballs looking at the ads and sponsored links on Bing, Windows Live or whatever other services they are offering this year... .

      Possibly control/influence, too. If Mozilla have more users, then they can push for their chosen HTML version, HTML5 video codec, etc. If MS have more users, they have the power to push their chosen HTML version, video codec, plugin. The browser with the most share probably wields a lot of power over the shape of the web (although if they deviate too far from where users and developers think they should be and sites and standards don't work with the browser, users will leave as they have done with IE).

      Those are my theories. They may or may not be correct.

      1. SYNTAX__ERROR

        Re: Serious Question

        "MS probably hope that folk will not change the default from Bing"

        And they would be right. People will just use Bing to search for Google.

    2. Neil Lewis

      Re: Serious Question

      It goes a lot deeper than just the browser.

      MS were slow on the WWW uptake, but jumped in with both feet when Bill Gates realised how central it would become to PC users experience of the OS. The plan with IE was then to use the browser as a lever to prevent other OSs being considered as an option.

      Essentially, if every user needed 'the internet' and 'the internet' could be made to only work properly on IE, then since IE is only available on Windows, Windows would force out *all* competition as a matter of course. IE was made a permanent part of Windows and given exclusive access to Windows-only technologies such as ActiveX to achieve that advantage.

      The fact so many business and government PC are still stuck on long-obsolete versions of IE is a testament to how close MS got to achieving their ultimate goal of permanent lock-in.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Serious Question

        Users and businesses are idiots, they don't see the lockin before it's WAY too late.

        Apple are playing that game now, and Apple users are seemingly too thick to work it out.

      2. Richard Plinston

        Re: Serious Question

        > MS were slow on the WWW uptake

        Not only that, but with the original Win95 MS tried to build its own network (the original MSN Classic) that did not talk to the internet unless you bought the later Plus! pack.

    3. h4rm0ny

      Re: Serious Question

      It's more about user experience, probably. I think we all know that browsers and OS are becoming ever more linked, to the point that in some cases (ChromeOS) they actually are the same thing. MS had Windows Active Desktop once upon a time which was an early step down this road (wow - do they look prescient now!).

      Anyway, with OS and browser becoming ever more entwined, IE10 is gradually becoming an extension of the OS. And on ARM that is even more so given that WOA lacks the combo-Win32 and Metro API access that the desktop version does. So basically, either MS give up the whole sandboxed, more limited API model they planned to use in WOA for installable applications, or they cast themselves on the other side of it and say that nobody including themselves, gets to have a closely integrated OS-browser model. At which point they get pummelled by groups like Google and Apple who have no objection to doing this sort of close integration.

      Incidentally, after a little digging I found a few references to what the Firefox crew feel is missing. Apparently they wont be able to spawn separate processes, which they use for things like sandboxing plugins, and making memory writable (directly, I presume) which they use for improving Javascript performance.

      It is bad that there is less choice. But at the same time, I can see why Windows, on a tightly controlled device like a tablet (remember, we're only talking about Windows on Arm, here) want to prevent installable Apps that spawn multiple processes at will and directly fiddle with the memory. Essentially, they trust themselves to do that, but not to let any old random App writer to have that sort of power. Are Firefox "any old random App writer"? Well, if not, how do you say who is?

    4. toadwarrior

      Re: Serious Question

      Microsoft want you to use IE so they retain control. They know full well it's capable of replacing a lot of their functionality which they don't want. The idea of the OS just being a bit of invisible software behind your browser scares them.

      Just look at it now, webgl is out and pretty much accepted by everyone except microsoft because it makes it easier to develop for multiple operating systems unlike directx.

      That's why they want you using IE and because of webgl on its own I wouldn't be surprised if they at least make it a pain to get other browsers on future versions of windows to discourage people.

  16. JimmyPage

    Deja vu ?

    Haven't we been here before, with IE4 being locked into Windows 95/NT ?

    1. Chad H.

      Re: Deja vu ?

      Well No Jimmy, cos I still could install Netscape on a Win95/98/NT box. I can't on an ARM device.

      1. yossarianuk

        Re: Deja vu ?

        And the punchline is - You can't even install another OS on a windows8 Arm device !

        Ha Ha Ha Ha (funny)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Deja vu ?

        but you couldn't *un*install IE4 ...

  17. Steve Knox


    That means that IE on ARM has access to win32 APIs – even when it's running in Metro mode, but no other Metro browser has that same access. Without that access, no other browser has a prayer of being competitive with IE.

    That's the first time I've seen anyone call using win32 APIs a competitive advantage.

    Seriously, if Microsoft is "porting" IE by bloating WOA with ancient libraries, WOA and IE on it will be dogs.

    The technical info I've seen implies that the third mode (so-called "Metro-style-enabled" mode) uses a form of thunking - loading generic code which will then calls platform-specific code based on what libraries are actually available -- meaning that a Metro-style-enabled app on WOA would only have access to Metro mode. This is contrary to what Mozilla is saying.

    Has anyone actual evidence that IE on ARM will call win32 APIs in "Classic" mode?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wow.

      "Has anyone actual evidence that IE on ARM will call win32 APIs in "Classic" mode?"

      It would be madness to do so, as you rightly point out - this is a great opportunity to lose Win32 forever.

      So, based on past history of technology at MS, what should we expect to happen?

      It would have been madness to *increase* the amount of kernel mode code in NT purely to make it "faster" vs Win98. And so on.


      was Wow meant to read WoW, as in Windows on Windows? "Windows on Windows - commonly referred to by its acronym WOW or WoW - is a software component of 32-bit versions of the Microsoft Windows NT family of operating systems that provides limited support for running legacy Win16 applications - applications written for Windows 3.x".

      1. Steve Knox

        Re: Wow.

        "Wow" was just my reaction at the concept. I can't take credit for the unintentional pun, fitting though it is.

        As for what we might expect to happen, expectations are not evidence. Mozilla is not claiming that Microsoft is likely to do this, but that it is in fact doing so. For such a definitive claim, I'd like to see definitive evidence.

      2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: Wow.

        "this is a great opportunity to lose Win32 forever."

        A great opportunity for who, exactly?

        *You*, dear user, have been able to lose Win32 forever for many years now. Funnily enough, even though it costs more than the alternatives, most end-users have stuck with it. This is probably because they've spent more on apps than on the OS and half their stuff hasn't got a non-Win32 version for any amount of money.

        Microsoft, too, are surely large enough to be able to lose Win32 whenever they like. In the last decade, they've reproduced most of the functionality in the .NET universe *and* started to create a third platform with this WinRT thingy. Even if they didn't have Mongolian hordes at their beck and call, most of what we think of as Win32 is a user-level environment on top of a fairly well-defined NT kernel that isn't terribly different (in terms of feature set) from the Linux kernel.

        So both you and Microsoft could drop Win32 anytime you (or they) like, and that's how it has been for at least a decade. The evidence suggests that neither party sees this as a great opportunity.

  18. dcleveng

    You've got to be kidding!

    If Mr. Anderson were so concerned about equal opportunity for browsers on devices, we'd be seeing Firefox on webos devices. It's more the notion of 'you won't let me play with your toys', not real concern for users not having great browser selection on devices.

  19. yossarianuk

    I feel sorry for the people not capable of running Linux

    In the (not to distant) future the only OS with a usable, workable NOT tablet based desktop will be in Linux (and BSD).

    All you MS Fans have fun with your only browser - i'm sure you'll be completely safe in Microsoft's secure hands...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I feel sorry for the people not capable of running Linux

      Hah hah. I work for MS and have been hearing that for years. The other day, I installed the latest Ubuntu release on an old laptop. Once I had managed to stop laughing, I slept very easily that night.

      1. h4rm0ny

        Re: I feel sorry for the people not capable of running Linux

        "Hah hah. I work for MS and have been hearing that for years"

        Really? If that's actually true then I suspect you work at a very low-level in Microsoft. Maybe support or similar. I mean no offence to tech support (they have super-human levels of patience which is more than I do), but people who actually work on writing O/S in a serious capacity whether that is Windows 7 or Debian or whatever, tend to have too much awareness of how much work goes into something of that scale to casually mock other's efforts, even when it's a rival system. Most of the Linux fanboys who reflexively slag off MS wouldn't actually know where to start with coding the Linux kernel. Similarly, people who know what they're talking about when it comes to writing the Windows O/S, I would be very surprised to hear them "laugh themselves to sleep" at Linux. A modern O/S is HARD WORK.

        For reference, I currently use Windows 7 as my primary because I like it, but I have been using Linux since, I'm not sure, but I recall installing SuSE 6.0. The new Gnome is ugly as fuck, but then I'm not convinced by Metro yet. But neither O/S is something to be laughed at.

        I'm sorry to be all so mature about this, it's just that you're so... not.

  20. Miek

    I see were back to Artificial Technical Limitations again Microsoft. You don't learn do you? I'm sure you will all be hearing from the EU again.

  21. mark l 2 Silver badge

    I give Windows RT 12 months before its quietly dropped in favour of 'full' windows on X86 tablets, its already being shown to be a half arsed attempt to steal customers away from the iPad but without having any of the apps and probably costing more due to the Windows tax.

    after playing the the Windows 8 beta for a few days, it may work ok on a tablets touch screen but the metro interface is not suited to laptop/desktop use, and i feel a lot of people will stick with Windows 7. Windows 8 could become the new Vista and ME.

    1. Richard Plinston

      > I give Windows RT 12 months before its quietly dropped in favour of 'full' windows on X86 tablets

      MS would prefer that everyone bought x86 as they will make more for the OS, for Office, and for all the other software they can sell.

      In fact it is likely that WOA/WinRT is not about selling products but is about stopping people buying products, in particular about OEMs making ARM based Linux/Android/etc tablets.

      The OEM discounts are only available to 'loyal' OEMs, those that install MS products on all possible machines. This was shown with netbooks where MS brought XP back because Vista simply could not run on Atom powered netbooks and thus they could sell Linux machines without breaking the discount.

      HP may have been the first victim of WOA. WebOS may have been a success eventually, but the loss of OEM discounts on _all_ HP products may have been too much of a price to pay.

  22. Jon Green

    Lawyers, start your engines!

    Amazing. Just when I was actually starting to like MS again (after decades agin), they fall back on their old bad ways.

    The antitrust lawyers will have a field day with this, MS will be stomped on from on high in the US and European courts, and end up paying a fortune and opening out the OS again, just as happened with the Windows Browser Wars.

    It is Profoundly Not Clever. MS's middle market (desktop and laptop PCs, particularly in business) is under a major squeeze from Android, iOS and Mac OS devices, and they are very late to the table, or rather the tablet. If Microsoft is to reinvigorate its market, and get back into a race that's in danger of leaving MS in its dust, it absolutely must operate as open and inclusive as possible, else developers will simply deploy their limited resources where they're more profitably employed - and buyers will buy devices that they have the widest scope for adapting to their own needs.

    Time for a change at the top at MSFT, before they squander the rest of their share value. Their market capitalisation's been on a slow slide over the past ten years, in marked comparison to Apple and (since 2004) Google - and a huge new antitrust exposure won't help things at all.

  23. Kevster

    Whilst I have time for Mozilla (mainly use FF) they are bleating on for no reason. They roll over and take one from Apple when they don't allow another browser on iOS but then bitch about a small portion of prospective Win 8 RT users. To be honest I think MS regret having to provide the classic desktop with Win8RT but have had to as there is just so much to Metroise.

    We shall see...

  24. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    How to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory

    MS could have made the WOA platform as open as Wintel and even thrown in x86 emulation since most Wintel programs just sit there in an event loop waiting for the user to click something. Instead they assume that on ARM == tablet, make Metro the only option as a UI, and lock it down to within an inch of its life and as a result locked themselves out of any fledgling ARM latop/desktop market.

    Not content with that they also manage to pollute the Wintel version with Metro and bring confusion to the Wintel API.

    MS have never known how to split things up, it's all a huge interconnected mess, just look in the C:\Windows directory...

    1. JimmyPage

      just look in the C:\Windows directory

      I'd really rather not ...

    2. JDX Gold badge

      Re: How to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory

      If you want an x86 PC/tablet, buy one.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: How to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory

        @JDX: This is my point, however I got a little carried away and it was poorly expressed.

        There should be a laptop/desktop Windows 8 that uses Aero as a UI and runs on x86 and ARM.

        There should be a tablet Windows 8 that uses Metro as a UI and runs on x86 and ARM. This could probably be as locked down as much as Microsoft likes since it doesn't have a monopoly, although restricting the browser to IE is rather annoying.

        There is no need to have any transmogrifying Aero/Metro UI 'feature' at all, however the same installer could contain up to four binaries to make life a little simpler for the user (unless Microsoft wants to lock down the tablet version to their own shop).

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who know what non sequitur means?

    Is this one?

    "The reason for this was simple and came down to chipset and interface: ARM doesn't support native x86 apps while Windows 8 introduces the tiled and touch-based Metro UI."

    ARM does indeed not support native x86 apps. And nor did Alpha, MIPS, or PowerPC, but when MS decided they wanted NT on them, MS got NT on them. And, obviously, vice versa. Alpha managed to do Win32/x86 via translation with FX!32, and probably QEMU would support x86 emulation on ARM, but whether that's relevant/significant is a different question.

    MS could easily have their bits of Windows 8 Classic on ARM if they wanted. Obviously it would be some compatible subset of ARM kit, rather than every ARM that ever shipped. Much the same way as Windows Phone (tee hee) and its predecessors only ran on some subset of ARM kit. In fact the subset for Windows 8 Classic on ARM could probably be the same subset as is specificed today for WOA, maybe with some variations dependent on screen size.

    But the Wintel world doesn't want that, far too much business at risk, so it doesn't happen.

    Apologies if someone already said this, just passing briefly by.

  26. itzman

    seriously, what are they ON?

    Frankly its just another reason to to install WinAnything in the first place.

  27. Neil 38

    European Competition Commission

    I guess Windows RT won't be coming to Europe then.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: European Competition Commission

      Absolutely incorrect.

  28. Anonymous Coward

    Losing faith in The Register...

    Damn, that's some SHIT editing el reg - comments prior to this point out the obvious errors.

    If it wasn't for the Paris Hilton angle, I would've left ages ago and header on over to ... erm, damn, slashdot?

    I take it all back El Reg, I'm not losing faith in you, but faith in my taste.

  29. mrfill
    Thumb Up

    Bang bang bang

    Ahhh the sound of more nails being driven into the coffin of Windows 8

    And if, as mentioned above, they are just copying Apple, we should expect the lawyers to be kept busy and wealthy for a few more years.

  30. sisk


    "Anderson says senior Microsoft lawyer David Heiner told him other browsers would not be allowed on ARM. Whether this is a technical or political choice is unclear"

    What? Are you kidding? What possible technical limitation could there possibly be behind this choice? Let me spell it out for you: if it's possible for any browser to run then it's technically possible for someone other than Microsoft to make a browser that will run. Clearly the decision to only allow IE is purely political.

    My guess is that Microsoft is pining for the days when they basically had a monopoly in the browser market. In ARM, an area where they have no presence currently and thus can't be accused of monopolistic practices, they see an area where they can take a stab at regaining it. I could see the plan backfiring horribly. By only allowing IE they are instantly alienating a huge chunk of the geek market. When you alienate geeks, you also alienate the people who turn to them for advice. That's a lot of people who will never consider buying a WOA device. 10 years ago Microsoft could get away with that sort of thing, but I don't think Microsoft's position is strong enough to be pissing off geeks before they even enter a new market any more.

  31. Camilla Smythe

    Why Don't ARM

    Tell them to all Feck Off and sort themselves out Proper Like?

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Exactly what do you expect with vendor lockdown. Look for more of the same.

  33. Neil Alexander
    Thumb Down

    If this were Apple...

    ... everyone would be strangely OK with it.

    I still don't see Gecko-based browsers on iOS but, curiously, nobody is outraged by that.

  34. James 32

    An operating system is what it's creators want it to be

    Why do people think that it is a god given right to have equal access to platforms created by Microsoft and Apple. These are commercial entities and they have created operating systems to make money - for no other reason. We live in a free society - which means any person or collection of persons, are able to create a product and take it to market. Anyone who disagrees with this premise is arguing against one of the fundamentals of capitalism.

    One can only assume those people are unemployed or work for the public sector because anyone who has a job for a business is really a hypocrite if they think that Microsoft or Apple are not entitled to leverage competitive advantage by using the products they themselves create. At a nuts and bolts level, this is all about senior individuals in a job making decisions about their own products to add best value to their company and make a profit - doing this is their commercial duty to their shareholders and it is their ethical duty to the staff that depend on their decisions to provide the foundations on which they can build their careers. Of course Microsoft and Apple would like to own the browser on their platform. Sony own the browser built into the Playstation - I don't see a choice of Chrome or Mozilla there - and why should there be: Playstation is owned by Sony.

    I would argue that over time, the browser will disappear and merge into the operating system. The mainstream browsers should all be much of a muchness when we get to IE10. And in most people's mind they won't give 2 hoots what browser they are using to access the web. They'll only be concerned with which device they'll be using when they access it. I expect vendors of any operating system to follow suit. Apple have blurred the lines and a sharp legal mind will soon easily argue that the browser is now necessarily part of the operating system.

    Apple will easily lock users in to Safari as they surround it with more cloud based services.

    Microsoft will do the same with IE. And why shouldn't they - we pay them to write operating systems, and we expect their operating systems to continue to evolve with the Internet. The shift to the cloud is a natural part of this. Making the browser transparent is a huge part of providing intuitive and secure access to the web while acknowledging that for most people, accessing the web is why they buy a computer now.

    So any vendor should be entitled to sell a computer with a built in operating system that provides great web access out of the box, and having invested a great deal of money developing that operating system they naturally want to protect their investment by giving their own browser a significant advantage.

    Sorry but I've seen the future - and Mozilla and Firefox did not exist and everyone was using computers that looked like giant iPhones.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: An operating system is what it's creators want it to be

      It's not a God-given right, it's a law-given right.

      Monopolies are universally known to be bad for the consumer in the medium to long run, for exactly the same reasons that they are good for the monopoly holder.

      Namely that you can sell rubbish at very high margin, refuse to improve the product and still the consumer is forced to buy it.

      Thus there are laws to limit monopoly powers.

      You may disagree with the extent of these laws, but they do exist and must be followed. At least until the lobbying arm gets them changed, anyway.

      Microsoft are hoping that Apple and Android save them from charges of abuse of monopoly, whether that will work is yet to be seen, but the more they lock it down the more likely that is to get tested in court.

      1. JDX Gold badge

        Re: An operating system is what it's creators want it to be

        Exactly what monopoly is an OS with 0% market share supposed to have?

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Arm is the power play

    You guys are missing the point. Arm is about security for microsoft. MS has enough money to market(hype) just about anything. Look at how many people by apple cause its cool. MS only have to win that game with the public ONCE, and they know it.

    With MS, currently, you have to buy your software for every device. The software developers have to pay MS to get their development software, n pay MS to have their software digitally signed so as to avoid those pesky UAC warning notices.

    With Arm however, developers would also have to pay a % of their turnover for the market place, plus have to pay to have access to different API's (potentially).

    MS could afford to give the OS away! They won't of course, they'll just provide discounted licensing ($1) if you produce x% arm. That way they can optimize their revenue in the future.

    The best thing that we can do it educate Simple John ("ooohh look, its shiny") cause we all know the power play that will be behind this.

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