Mozilla: No Firefox for iOS until Apple loosens browser restrictions


Mozilla said it will not expand its Firefox browser to the iOS mobile operating system until Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) relaxes its stance against third-party browser technology.

While Apple's own default Safari browser relies on a JavaScript rendering engine called Nitro, the company does not expose Nitro to its developer partners and does not allow them to use their own rendering engines. Instead, Apple mandates that all third-party browsers written for iOS leverage the slower UIWebView component, giving Safari a decided speed advantage over all rivals. Speaking on a panel at the South by Southwest conference, Mozilla Vice President of Product Jay Sullivan said the nonprofit is not currently building a version of Firefox for iOS and has no plans to do so because it feels it cannot deliver a satisfying user experience without carrying over its own rendering and Javascript engines.

Last fall, Mozilla halted support for its Firefox Home app, which was not a browser but did provide iPhone users access to their desktop history, bookmarks and open tabs. Mozilla has not sworn off iOS completely, however. In mid-2012, the company revealed it is working on an iPad browser prototype codenamed "Junior" that eliminates the conventional toolbar in favor of control buttons designed to offer a "magazine feel."

Mozilla currently offers a mobile version of its Firefox browser for smartphones and tablets running Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android operating system. It also is building its own HTML5-based Firefox mobile OS. Operators including Telefónica, Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S), Deutsche Telekom, Etisalat, Smart, Telecom Italia and Telenor have agreed to support Firefox smartphones.

For more:
- read this CNet article

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