Microsoft news: Mozilla is ceasing its browser-development work for Windows Phone 7 Series — no surprise, given Microsoft has no plans to further that platform. But Mozilla also has decided against developing a Windows Phone Series 7 version of Firefox, officials said via a blog post on March 22.
Stuart Parmenter, technical lead of the Mozilla Mobile Team is citing Microsoft’s decision not to allow native third-party application development on the Windows Phone Series 7 platform as its reason for discontinuing development:
“We have been building a version of Firefox for Windows Mobile 7 for quite a while, with the expectation that Microsoft would be doubling down in the mobile market and hoping that they would put out a great new mobile operating system. We’ve been following the Windows Phone 7 Series announcements quite closely for the last few weeks, and had one of our developers in attendance at MIX last week. We know that the underlying platform for Windows Phone 7 Series is Windows CE 6, which is a big step up from the kernel used by Windows Mobile 6.5. Windows CE 6 is a platform that we have been developing towards, and already run well on, leaving us well positioned to have an awesome browser on Windows Phone Series 7.
“While we think Windows Phone 7 Series looks interesting and has the potential to do well in the market, Microsoft has unfortunately decided to close off development to native applications. Because of this, we won’t be able to provide Firefox for Windows Phone 7 Series at this time. Given that Microsoft is staking their future in mobile on Windows Mobile 7 (not 6.5) and because we don’t know if or when Microsoft will release a native development kit, we are putting our Windows Mobile development on hold.”
One third-party application has been allowed to circumvent Microsoft’s rules: Adobe Flash. Why? Well, mainly because Flash is considered part of the inherent mobile experience. Microsoft Group Product Manger for Windows Phone 7 Series Developer Experience Charlie Kindel said last week that Microsoft has decided to allow Adobe to develop a version of Flash that will access the Windows Phone Series 7 platform natively.
We can only hope that Microsoft will start bending the managed-apps-only rules for other thrid-party applications. Personally, I’d have loved to see FireFox on the Windows Phone 7 Series – what a way to cut out your competitors…