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.
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.