Mozilla exec: No Firefox browser for iOS until Apple allows us to use our own engine

Alex Wagner
Editorial Director of News and Content from  Omaha, NE
| Published: March 10, 2013

Mozilla Firefox logo

Apple's App Store for iOS is home to several third-party browsers, including the Dolphin Browser and Google Chrome. One browser that isn't available on iOS is Mozilla's Firefox, and according to Mozilla SVP of Products Jay Sullivan, that won't be changing any time soon. CNET reports that, during a panel at the South By Southwest Interactive conference, Sullivan said that Mozilla won't bring Firefox to Apple's platform until the Cupertino firm relaxes its restrictions for third-party browsers and allows Mozilla to use its own rendering engine on iOS. Without them, Mozilla feels as though it won't be able to offer the browser that it really wants to.

While Apple does allow third-party browsers on iOS, those apps don't have access to the same Nitro JavaScript engine that Apple's own Safari browser does, which makes Safar a tad speedier than the non-Safari apps that don't get access to Nitro. That hasn't stopped other companies from bringing their own browsers to iOS, and several users will make that trade-off for access to other features that third-party browsers off, like Chrome's tab syncing capabilities.

Apple's decision to keep Nitro for itself and force third-party browsers to use a slower JavaScript engine obviously doesn't sit well with Mozilla. It'd be interesting to see exactly what kind of browser Mozilla would put together for iOS users, but unfortunately for the Firefox maker, Apple isn't exactly known for opening up parts of iOS to third-party apps and services. Which browser do you iOS folk primarily use? What is it about that browser that made you choose it over the other options that are available in the App Store?