No Firefox Browser for Apple iOS

Mozilla Firefox Logo | Wikipedia

Mozilla Firefox Logo | Wikipedia

During an SXSW event last weekend, Mozilla’s Vice President of Product Jay Sullivan stated that they won’t be porting the Firefox browser to iOS unless Apple changes its rules. Although his comment was the strongest indication that Mozilla Firefox won’t land on iOS, it was not the first.

Last September, Mozilla decided to pull the plug on Firefox Home, a spin-off of its bookmark and tab synchronization technology. According to Director of Services Engineering Mike Connor, they did it in order to focus their resources on other projects.

Mozilla Firefox vs. iOS API

In 2009, former CEO John Lilly said that it would be very unlikely for them to offer Firefox on iOS. Two years after, they reiterated that they would not build Firefox for Apple’s mobile operating system.

Although they once left their options open, Mozilla did not make the move. Instead, they’ve committed their resources to Firefox OS, a browser-based mobile OS. The Firefox OS is set to power handsets from Alcatel One Touch, Huawei Technologies, LG Electronics, and ZTE, which are slated to be released later this year.

What makes Mozilla reject the porting of the Firefox browser to iOS is Apple’s App Store guidelines. It states that “Apps that browse the Web must use the iOS WebKit framework and WebKit JavaScript.”

Meanwhile, other browser makers were able to bend the Cupertino-based company’s rules. Google, for instance, was able to release Chrome for iOS, while Opera announced recently that they will be switching to a WebKit to have the option to do the same.

Disadvantages of Leaving the iOS Platform

On the other hand, Mozilla and other browsers which don’t have an iOS app are at a significant disadvantage. According to Net Applications, a Web metrics company, about one in every eight Internet users browsed the Web using their mobile device last month.

In relation to this, iOS accounted for 54.9 percent of the global mobile OS usage. With Safari as the default browser of Apple’s mobile OS, it’s a no-brainer that it garnered the majority of mobile Internet usage at 55.4 percent.

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