Mozilla Firefox OS Launching In Five Countries This Summer; Don't Expect It On iOS

In a wide-ranging talk at the 2013 D:Dive Into Mobile conference in New York City, Mozilla CEO Gary Kovacs defended the Firefox OS, gave a timeframe for launch and even commented on why Firefox iOS doesn't exist.

Mozilla has made a big deal about how its new Firefox OS for mobile devices is completely open source and based in HTML5. Even amateur developers will be able to create apps for it. The goal is to "keep the Web open" and give as many people access as possible.

When Kovacs was asked why the OS needed to be the browser, here was his reply, according to Engadget:

"The browser doesn't need to be the operating system; it needs to incorporate the Web. Such that discovery is easy, such that multiple stores can be accessed from the device — so we aren't locked in, or generally encouraged to be locked within a single ecosystem."

That answer wasn't good enough, though, as host Walt Mossberg pressed him further, saying that "Individuals don't care about the Web versus apps — it's absolutely meaningless to normal people across the world. People like apps, and have a vast preference for using apps."

But Kovacs was having none of it.

"It's not that apps are bad or good, but both need to live — and the Web was unnecessarily blocked out for some reason."

He went on to say that Mozilla plans to launch the Firefox OS in five countries this summer: Venezuela, Poland, Brazil, Portugal and Spain. The OS is generally aimed at budget phones and the developing world, so it's no surprise that Mozilla will aim to hit those types of markets before any others.

The discussion ended on an interesting note, too, as Kovacs was asked why Firefox isn't on iOS.

"Well, iOS has a policy — generally speaking — where you have to use their Web engine, and ours is very different," Kovacs said. "The security model we employ, etc., don't really mix. Early on in my tenure, we saw that Android would be the mass market platform that we wanted to put our support behind. I love the iPhone, and I would love to see far more innovation on the iPhone. Android is just much more open, and we refuse to make that policy switch that'd [clear us for use on iOS.]"

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