Mozilla Stops Firefox Development For Windows Mobile and Windows Phone 7

Mozilla has been building a version of Firefox for Windows Mobile devices for quite some time now with anticipation that Microsoft might increase it’s market share. The Windows Phone 7 announcement was watched quite keenly by the Mozilla team and that in turn is base on Window CE 6, which is a completely different platform from the earlier Windows Mobile OS.

Firefox Mobile

However, developing for Windows Phone 7 was not easy considering the restrictions placed on developers. In addition to that, Mozilla also cited that Windows Phone 7 has a closed platform and does not support development of native applications through a NDK. For that reason, Mozilla today announced that they are stopping development of Firefox for all Windows Mobile based devices including the upcoming Windows Phone 7.

While we think Windows Phone 7 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 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.

This is definitely bad news for Firefox lovers who have been waiting in anticipation for the Firefox browser on Windows Mobile based devices. Quite recently, a Mozilla developer had written a open letter rant directed at Steve Ballmer with regards to this issue. However, it now looks like the entire Mozilla mobile team has taken it to heart, and have decided that they will not develop for Windows Phone 7 until a proper development platform is provided.

Clarification: The post linked in this article was written up by Stuart Parmenter who is the Mobile Team Technical Lead, Mozilla Corporation. Thanks for the letting us know about the missing info Iftikhar.

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Keith Dsouza

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  • Stephen Quirk

    This is not bad for Firefox lovers. Firefox is available on Nokia's Maemo/MeeGo platform, and will soon be available on Android (there are already early Android Firefox browsers being tested).

    But this is a disaster for people who use Microsoft's Windows Phones. Developers are abandoning the current Windows Mobile sinking ship. Adobe stopped developing Flash. Skype has pulled its phone software from the platform. Now Firefox joins the growing list.

    It's also disastrous for Microsoft's coming Windows Phone 7 Series, as it means that those users will be stuck with one browser… Internet Explorer, which is not fast, and not very standards compliant.

    • It’s also disastrous for Microsoft’s coming Windows Phone 7 Series, as it means that those users will be stuck with one browser

      Thats not entirely true, since Opera Mini doesn't require a NDK. I am pretty sure that we will see O Mini for Win Mo 7 at some point in the future.

    • Tiago Sá

      It's Microsoft's own fault. And it's well deserved. Well, well deserved!

  • Iftikhar

    The article links to a blog by Stuart Parmenter at It took me a little bit of Googling to realize that Stuart Parmenter is the Mobile Team Technical Lead, Mozilla Corporation.

    I'm glad that Mozilla has taken this stance. Firefox would not perform well in Microsoft's managed code environment, and it would have to compete with IE that has access to native code.

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  • It sounds like MS was trying to block firefox and force people to use IE on windows phones. Interestingly this move is also limiting what other software 3rd party companies will develop. Perhaps it is simply a case of MS worried about dealing with hackers if they don't protect their O/S code. It's not like regular desktop Windows where they can keep releasing patch after patch to deal with new vulnerabilities that people uncover.