Is Microsoft the monster and Apple the saint?


Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) is not following rules that were placed on the company following its antitrust conviction in the European Union. So says Harvey Anderson, general counsel for Mozilla.

Anderson is referring to restrictions placed on Metro browser apps on the ARM version of Windows 8. In a nutshell, Metro versions of Firefox and Chrome on Windows RT (also known as Windows on ARM) will not have access to the same advanced functionality Internet Explorer will enjoy.

To be clear, alternative browser apps will still run on Windows RT. It's just that it won't match the seamless experience that Internet Explorer will have on that platform. But is this proof that Microsoft is leveraging the situation for the sole purpose of casting aside rival browsers?

In an InformationWeek article, Mathew Schwartz observed that "Microsoft seems to be taking a play from the Apple playbook" by creating a locked-down, highly-optimized environment. After all, "Apple requires anyone who wants to build an iOS browser to use its underlying WebKit libraries," writes Schwartz.

In a nutshell, Microsoft is trying to copy Apple's success story by creating a brand new, tablet-centric operating system that is perfectly optimized for the ARM architecture. Dragging Apple into the picture makes things a bit more interesting.

As mentioned by Schwartz, Apple doesn't allow "true" third-party browsers on its platform--but only those that leverage the iOS's built-in WebKit libraries for rendering web pages. So while there are "browsers apps" for the iOS, they are akin to sophisticated controls that hook over the default Safari browser.

So why not go after Apple with its tens of millions of iOS tablets and smartphones, but attack Microsoft given its (currently) non-existent tablet and fledging smartphone platform? - Paul Mah  (Twitter @paulmah)