Austin’s huge music festival kicked off again this past weekend. South-by-Southwest (SXSW) has turned into so much more than a place for indie bands to get discovered. Now, even tech companies are holding panels to talk about their plans for the future. At a Q&A this Saturday, Mozilla executives said there are no plans for a future of Firefox on the iPad until Apple “changes its ways.”
There used to be an iOS version of Firefox until September of 2012, when Mozilla pulled its Web browser from the App Store and won’t bring it back as long as “Apple continues its unfriendly attitude toward third-party browsers.”
CNet notes that this is a risky move for Mozilla. According to NetMarketShare, Mozilla owns less than one percent of the market share. Last week, Chitika noted that the iPad commands 80 percent of all tablet Web browsing, while its next closest competitor, the Kindle Fire, only generates 8 percent of tablet Web browsing. Mozilla sure could use some of that market.
Even if there were a mobile Firefox Web browser for iOS, it would still be difficult for the company to make its mark on the iPhone or iPad. Apple doesn’t allow third-party browsers to be set as the default Internet connection. Users would have to choose to call up a different browser and even then, apps that connect to the Internet would do so through Safari instead.
“Competition is critical to our survival,” Dolphin Browser Chief Software Architect David Dehgahn told SXSW attendees. Opera Software’s Mike Taylor expressed the same viewpoint, with Sullivan repeating the sentiment that giving consumers browser choice was essential to making the Web browsing experience better. Sullivan argued that Apple’s “closed environment” means users suffer.
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