Following announcements from Microsoft that it will restrict third-party browsers in its upcoming Windows 8 release for ARM devices, Google has weighed in and expressed concerns by claiming the decision restricts “user choice, and innovation.” Mozilla, makers of the Firefox browser, recently expressed similar concerns in several blogs posts (here and here). Mozilla project manager Asa Dotzler, who is leading development of Firefox for Windows 8, claimed, “Microsoft is trying to lock out competing browsers,” and he called it a “direct violation of the promises they made to developers, users, and OEMs.” Today, Google provided the following statement to CNET mirroring Mozilla’s complaints:


We share the concerns Mozilla has raised regarding the Windows 8 environment restricting user choice and innovation. We’ve always welcomed innovation in the browser space across all platforms and strongly believe that having great competitors makes us all work harder. In the end, consumers and developers benefit the most from robust competition.

Dotzler continued by further breaking down the situation that his Firefox for Windows 8 development team is facing:

First, Microsoft has a browser that runs in Classic mode on Windows ARM. They are not allowing us that same access to run our browser on Classic. Second, Microsoft has a browser that runs in Metro mode on Windows ARM that has access to rich APIs that they are denying to third-party Metro browsers on Windows ARM. So, we are denied the ability to deliver any browser on Classic, and we are denied the ability to build a competitive browser on Metro.

Microsoft has not responded directly to these recent complaints from Mozilla and Google, but we will keep you posted when it does.