Dear Mozilla: Don't give up on Windows RT

Microsoft hasn't yet told us what it's going to do about allowing browsers fair access on Windows RT. Mozilla, you're carrying the ball for all of us. Go, go, go

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Opera Mini, on the other hand, relies on a superserver in the cloud that processes every Web access, renders the pages on the server, then compresses and shoots the screen down to your iPhone or iPad. Thus, the speed of the browser is highly dependent on having a fast Internet connection -- and your mobile data plan may groan under the weight of heftier traffic.

Google is rumored to have an iOS version of Chrome in the works, although the exact mechanism of the implementation isn't known. Chrome could use UIWebView, possibly with Google grafting some of its speedy WebKit implementation into Apple's UIWebView. Apple could allow Google to install Google's fast rendering engine in iOS. Google could put all the rendering in the cloud, using the Opera Mini approach, to process and shoot the results to an iPhone or iPad, although that approach seems unlikely for performance reasons.

You have to wonder how closely Microsoft's Windows RT restrictions mimic Apple's hold on iOS. Many industry analysts have drawn parallels between Windows RT's lockdown on Metro apps and Apple's iron-fisted rules on App Store apps. I don't think it's a good comparison. Even given Apple's iron heel, it has still put JavaScript and HTML rendering into the iOS core. I haven't heard a hint about Microsoft doing the same thing on Windows RT. Quite the opposite, in fact: Microsoft seems hell-bent on keeping Windows RT locked in to IE.

This could be an academic discussion. If Windows RT does as well in the marketplace as, say, Windows Phone, nobody's going to care much whether Firefox or Chrome can run on machines that nobody wants. But what happens if Windows RT is in fact the vanguard of Microsoft's new operating system efforts? Paul Thurrott notes, "If Windows RT takes off and is truly successful, it becomes Windows. That is, it does what NT did decades ago, existing for a time side by side with what used to be Windows and then eventually supplanting the old Windows."

That's why we need Mozilla and Google to keep pushing for fair access. That fight goes beyond Windows RT. It reaches straight to the heart of Windows 9.

This story, "Dear Mozilla: Don't give up on Windows RT," was originally published at Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow on Twitter.

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