Firefox, Bolt and NetFront don't plan to follow Opera to iPhone


Although browser vendor Opera made a big splash on the iPhone, and Skyfire is poised for a similar effort, other mobile browser companies don't seem too keen to get onto Apple's platform. Mozilla, maker of the popular Firefox browser, said it does not plan to build an iPhone version of its Firefox Mobile product, and Bolt browser maker Bitstream and NetFront browser maker Access have similar positions.

"Our understanding of browsers in the iPhone App Store is that a ‘full' Web browser like Firefox that incorporates its own Web rendering and JavaScript engines would be prohibited," said Jay Sullivan, Mozilla's vice president of product. "We have no insight into any arrangement between Apple and Opera." Mozilla targets Firefox for Nokia's Maemo and Google's Android.

A representative from Bolt browser maker Bitstream said the company's official position on a possible iPhone iteration is "stay tuned." But he noted that, "Inside Bitstream they are discussing where to take Bolt next, but for the moment are steadfastly focused on perfecting the mobile Internet experience on J2ME, BREW (right now BREW just for handset manufacturers) and BlackBerry devices."

And what about Access and its NetFront browser, which the company recently delivered to Android devices?

"They do not have any plans surrounding the availability of NetFront for the iPhone which they can discuss at the moment," according to an Access representative.

Over a million iPhone owners downloaded Opera's Mini browser within its first day of availability. And Opera's success appeared to motivate Skyfire to target the platform: "The Skyfire team has been watching the Opera submission and the iPhone/iPad market closely, and this will certainly accelerate our strategy on iDevices," Skyfire CEO Jeff Glueck wrote on the company's blog. "Nothing to announce now, but stay tuned for news."

Skyfire's position is notable as the company's browser relies on cloud computing--much like Opera's Mini--and delivers Adobe's Flash and Microsoft's Silverlight content to smartphones. Thus, a Skyfire browser for Apple's iPhone could possibly transmit Flash video to the device--thereby bypassing Apple's steadfast resistance to the technology.

Indeed, Skyfire's iPhone posturing raises the question: Will Opera use its new-found position on the iPhone to deliver Flash content? "We have no plans to support Flash," said Opera spokesman Thomas Ford.

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