A lot of you have seen my first impressions of the consumer preview of Windows 8(Microsoft’s next version of Windows). Microsoft have said that they will have a version of Windows 8 that is built on ARM processors. They have already announced that they will call this version Windows RT. In terms of the software, Microsoft have also announced that Internet Explorer will be the only web browser that will work on Windows RT.
Following up from this statement, Google has decided that they share the concerns of Mozilla “regarding the Windows 8 environment restricting user choice and innovation”. In light of this, both Mozilla and Google have called for Microsoft to allow other web browsers to be installed.
On one hand, I am not surprised that Microsoft have made this move. Other companies have taken similar decisions with their hardware. When the first iPad came out in 2007, Apple decided not to put Adobe’s flash player software onto the iPad. Steve Jobs(the then CEO of Apple) wrote an open letter called Thoughts on Flash. While web browsers that run under the Metro UI will work on Windows RT, Internet Explorer will have access to all the APIs that it needs.
That being said, I personally believe that Microsoft should really allow any browser to be installed on Windows RT, if they are to compete with the other mobile operating systems. I also think that Microsoft should provide some sort of patch that would allow other web browsers to be installed. Alternatively, during the installation phase of Windows RT, Microsoft should allow the user to choose whether they want to install another browser. Otherwise, Windows 8 and Windows RT are going to be the next Windows Vista.
If this is the case, then I know for a fact that I will not be upgrading to Windows 8(or Windows RT for that matter).