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Mozilla accuses Microsoft of anticompetitive behavior with Windows RT

Mozilla yesterday accused Microsoft of withholding APIs necessary to build a competitive browser for Windows RT, and said the behavior “may have antitrust implications.”

Harvey Anderson, Mozilla’s general counsel, and Asa Dotzler, director of Firefox, weighed in with the accusations late Wednesday in a pair of blog posts.

Anderson warned that Microsoft’s decision to allow only Internet Explorer 10 (IE10) in one mode of Windows RT “signal[s] an unwelcome return to the digital dark ages where users and developers didn’t have browser choices.”

Dotlzer was more direct. “Microsoft is trying to lock out competing browsers when it comes to Windows running on ARM chips,” he said.

Their beef stems from Microsoft’s decision to deny other browser makers, including Mozilla, access to APIs (application programming interfaces) necessary to run a browser on Windows RT’s conventional desktop.

Windows RT — the edition for ARM processors — will offer a Metro mode that features touch-based apps available from the Windows Store. But it also includes a heavily-restricted “desktop” mode that will run only Microsoft code.

Among the software that will run on the Windows RT desktop — Microsoft hasn’t given that mode a specific name — will be new versions of Office’s Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote; the Windows Explorer file manager; and a “desktop” edition of Internet Explorer 10 (IE10).  Read More

Mozilla Slams CISPA, Breaking Silicon Valley’s Silence On Cybersecurity Bill

While the Internet has been bristling with anger over the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, the Internet industry has been either silent or quietly supportive of the controversial bill. With one exception.

Late Tuesday, Mozilla’s Privacy and Public Policy lead sent me the following statement:

While we wholeheartedly support a more secure Internet, CISPA has a broad and alarming reach that goes far beyond Internet security. The bill infringes on our privacy, includes vague definitions of cybersecurity, and grants immunities to companies and government that are too broad around information misuse. We hope the Senate takes the time to fully and openly consider these issues with stakeholder input before moving forward with this legislation.

CISPA was introduced to the House in Novemeber with the intention of allowing more sharing of cybersecurity threat information between the private sector and the government, but has since been criticized for a provision that would also allow firms to share users’ private data with agencies like the National Security Agency or the Department of Homeland security without regard for any previous privacy laws.

Just before its passage last Thursday, the House added new amendments broadening that sharing to not just information about cyberattacks but also any case that involves computer “crime,” exploitation of minors or even “the protection of individuals from the danger of death or serious bodily harm.”  Read More

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