Mozilla has compiled a list of platform-holder that thwart competition in the browser market


The big picture: Chrome has long held the browser crown where market share is concerned at 65 percent. Its closest rival is Safari, which has 19 percent. The rest have low single-digit slices of the pie. Mozilla wants to change the situation to give Firefox and other third-party browsers a chance to survive.

The Mozilla Foundation published a new dashboard to track technical issues affecting Firefox’s ability to provide a better browsing experience on Windows, Android, and iOS. The Platform Tilt tracker monitors security, stability, performance, and functionality issues, giving the Foundation ideas for changes needed to preserve competition on all platforms.

Mozilla said that web browsers are now shaping the internet experience for most users. This central role has long motivated the Mozilla Foundation to build a better Firefox. However, it also incentivizes the dominant players to control and dictate what browser people may use. There’s a long history of companies leveraging their position as OS or device makers to “tilt the playing field” in their favor.

The Platform Tilt tracker was born out of Mozilla’s frustration with the status quo. The organization has engaged in discussions with platform holders to try and address these issues. However, it ultimately decided that now is the time to express these concerns publicly and transparently.

Platform Tilt lists the issues Mozilla experienced while developing Firefox and porting the code to the most popular computing platforms. For Apple’s iOS, the tracker currently includes ten issues related to API and feature support, message integration, browser data import, and support for third-party browser engines in the App Store.

Google’s Android has three open issues with third-party browsers. For one, Android forbids importing data from other browsers. Second, it prefers Chrome by default for some internal features. Lastly, it provides lower-quality search results in third-party browser engines.

Meanwhile, Microsoft Windows stifles independent browsers by providing no easy way to set a custom default browser. It also opens Edge with several Windows setting flows and forces customers to use Edge for some OS features, even when choosing a different default browser.

Mozilla wants to give people choice in the browser market, and choice requires that “viable alternatives” like Firefox or other independent browsers exist. However, alternatives cannot flourish if the playing field isn’t fair. Platform holders could quickly fix the technical issues in the Platform Tilt tracker. However, this is not likely to happen unless forced.

Las Vegas News Magazine

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