Mozilla to eat a poisoned Apple -- bringing Firefox to iPhone and iPad

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Apple makes some really great products. Quite frankly, you really can't go wrong with anything it makes. Sure, I prefer Windows and Linux distributions on the desktop, but OS X is a fine operating system too. The true bread and butter for the fruit-logo company, however, is not its desktop operating system, but mobile -- iOS. I own an iPad and enjoy it for what it is, but I find iOS to be a spectacularly terrible operating system, as it is too restrictive and dumb-downed. For some, the designed simplicity is a benefit, but for advanced users like myself, lack of a user-accessible file system is a non-starter.

The truly terrible crime, however, is that Apple does not allow browser engines other than its own. Google chose to offer a neutered version of Chrome for iOS, but Mozilla famously did not bring Firefox. I was rather proud of Mozilla for sticking to its beliefs and refusing to give in to Apple's policies. Yes, it sucks not having Firefox on iOS, but I supported the decision. Today, however, Mozilla concedes as it is bowing down to Apple in an effort to target more users. In other words, Mozilla is biting into a shiny red apple, but I fear that it is poisoned!

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Mozilla's Release Manager, Lukas Blakk, rocked the world with a short Tweet with a huge impact:

It's hard to blame Mozilla for targeting users and trying to get a larger install base -- hard, but not impossible; I do blame it! As a Firefox user and supporter, I do not want the open source browser to be powered by WebKit instead of Mozilla's Gecko on iOS.

Quite frankly, if Apple will not allow Gecko, I would prefer Mozilla stick to its guns and continue its boycott of the operating system. Hell, iOS does not even allow the user to change the default web browser from Safari! Caving to Apple's unfair policies is a loss for the open web overall.

What do you think of Mozilla's plan? Tell me in the comments.

Photo CreditEric Von Seggern / Shutterstock

17 Responses to Mozilla to eat a poisoned Apple -- bringing Firefox to iPhone and iPad

  1. FF222 says:

    Considering that nobody is using Firefox on Android, and the fact, that iOS users are even less likely to "hack" their phones with custom software, this idea is as stupid, as it just gets. Especially that Mozilla now will obviously have far less money to develop software that doesn't directly generate profit, than previously (because of the Google deal having been ended).
    I think Mozilla will go out of business before the end of the decade.

    • bmarkovic says:

      Mozilla is a fund and an non-profit organization so it cannot really "go out of business". As far as funding goes, there are still forces in the industry that don't want oneminded web and they will back Mozilla so I don't think they're going anywhere but they might end up relying on external contributors more than before.

  2. Ant says:

    So? Firefox exists on Mac OS X. :P

  3. John says:

    Firefox: The browser that no iOS user was missing. Google boycotting iOS would matter. Mozilla doing so is as inconsequential as it gets.

  4. rphunter says:

    I think that if it is as bad as the Android version, I won't be using the IOS version either. I stopped even trying to use it after a few versions wouldn't work well on my tablet. It was glacial, and the user interface indecipherable.

    They will have to do better on IOS to even get Apple to let them put it in the App Store.

  5. spider31 says:

    last time I checked, if you hosted the web control in your app then javascript was not accelerated. so it kinda makes it pointless anyways.

    I did find that ironic as google sell chrome on its performance but it suffers in a massive way on iPad, I don't use my iPad enough to care. But javascript rich site do suffer. New iPads are probs better as they are more powerfull but that will just eat more juice as it will generate more heat todo the same job.

  6. aires69uk says:

    They are caught between a rock and a hard place obviously. Firefox is in decline sadly, and it obviously wants to expand its user base. However the very point of Firefox is that it is Gecko and not Webkit. Like I say it's obviously difficult, but at some point you have to make a hard business decision.

  7. Larry Johnson says:

    "iOS to be aspectacularly terrible operating system"

    Oh the drama.

  8. SmallSherm says:

    Blink is the new Trident.

  9. gommer strike says:

    Sorry but I don't share your sympathies. Seems extremely biased.

    There are numerous 3rd party browsers on iOS, such as Dolphin(which also exists on Android). If all these other 3rd parties support multi-platform...then so can Mozilla, and it's about time.

    • David Mulder says:

      Except Dolphin on Apple is *nothing* like Dolphin on Android, despite both running on webkit. Like the only thing it truly shares is the interface. Now even worse case, Gecko on Firefox vs Apple Webkit on iOS... that's *miles* apart. The user *thinks* they are using the same browser, but for all practical purposes they do not. Statements like "This application works in the most recent versions of Chrome and Firefox" suddenly because crap... and the user will be blaming it on the developer...

      • gommer strike says:

        That's fair - however if the developer chooses to go ahead...and the user comes away a bad experience with the app and deletes it...I can't really expect a regular user to be "in the know" as to why this product is so much worse, on this platform...and be forgiving because of that. Another excellent example of Swiftkey on Android vs the iOS version. Compare the two side-by-side and the difference is instantly striking. I'm really disappointed with the Swiftkey devs and why they couldn't make the iOS version the same.

  10. intangible says:

    Totally agree... If their browser is just a UIWebkit wrapper on iOS with the slow javascript engine, no extensions or modifications allowed, and never allowed to be the default browser app, then what the hell is the point?

  11. BYK says:

    Quite frankly, if Apple will not allow Gecko, I would prefer Mozilla
    stick to its guns and continue its boycott of the operating system.
    Hell, iOS does not even allow the user to change the default web browser
    from Safari! Caving to Apple's unfair policies is a loss for the open
    web overall.

    This summarizes it quite well I think. +1

  12. DdrNashville says:

    i have mozilla on laptop with wXP and ipad. I think that using both Firefox and Safari keeps me better informed.

  13. Tommy Smith says:

    Mozilla, read your own book sometime...

  14. Tired of looking for Firefox for iPad Browser?

    Go to Firefox iPad today for all you want to know about the Firefox for iOS and how to download it for you iPad device.

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