Yesterday, Mozilla product director Asa Dotzler posted yet another broadside about Microsoft preventing access to the Windows 32 API in Windows RT: "We know that Microsoft is shipping a powerful browser on Metro. Metro would be dead in the water without a really capable Microsoft browser. So how does Internet Explorer 10 provide a beautiful and powerful experience in the Metro environment? It's easy. IE 10 cheats. We could build a beautiful Firefox that looked really nice on Metro, but Firefox would be so crippled in terms of power and speed that it's probably not worth it to even bother. No sane user would want to surf today's Web and use today's modern websites with that kind of crippled browser."
Computerworld's Gregg Keizer reported on Dotzler's statement, saying, "Although Dotzler's 'not worth it' comment may hint at the likelihood that Mozilla will step away from Windows RT, it is not the company's official position."
With Windows RT likely to be the harbinger of Windows to come, it's more important than ever that Mozilla and Google keep up the pressure to allow Windows RT apps access to the Windows 32 API. If Microsoft can deploy Windows RT apps with full access to the Windows 32 API -- Internet Explorer, yes, but also Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Windows Explorer, among others -- it's unconscionable that Microsoft would block access to the same tools to other software manufacturers. In the particular case of Web browsers, where Microsoft has already made an exception for Windows 8, the restraint is particularly galling.
In fact, there are more than a dozen browser alternatives currently running on iPhones and iPads -- the two best-known are Dolphin, from MoboTap, and Opera Mini, from Opera Software. They work in very different ways.