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Mozilla halts work on Windows Mobile browser

The company also says it won't build Firefox for Windows Phone, citing Microsoft's restrictions on native applications.

It's not exactly a shocker given Microsoft's recent moves, but Mozilla said on Tuesday that it is halting work on the creation of Firefox for Windows Mobile.

"Given that Microsoft is staking their future in mobile on Windows Mobile 7 (not 6.5) and because we don't know if or when Microsoft will release a native development kit, we are putting our Windows Mobile development on hold," Stuart Parmenter said in a blog posting.

Mozilla had been working on a version of Firefox that would run on Windows Mobile 6, part of a years-long effort to bring its browser to Windows CE. As for the new Windows Phone 7 Series, Microsoft has thus far said that applications for that operating system have to be written in either Silverlight or XNA, rather than in native code.

There are a few possible exceptions to this rule. Microsoft is using native code in some of its own programs and has also said that phone makers and carriers may be able to do some native code that ships with the device and, as noted by ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley, Microsoft may also find a way to let Adobe do Flash for Windows Phone Series 7.

In general, though, Microsoft has said that third-party applications must be written in either Silverlight or XNA.

"While we think Windows Phone 7 looks interesting and has the potential to do well in the market, Microsoft has unfortunately decided to close off development to native applications," Parmenter said. "Because of this, we won't be able to provide Firefox for Windows Phone 7 at this time."

Parmenter said the company will plug ahead on work for other mobile platforms.

"While I hope that we do see Microsoft provide us with a way to build Firefox for Windows Phone 7, we will continue to focus on the things that we can control: building a great consumer product on both Android and Maemo," he said.

Of course, this might not be the final chapter. Mozilla only decided to do an Android version after Google opened up native development for Android. And Apple and Palm also opened up their mobile operating systems after initially proposing developers focus only on Web-based apps.

Apple has, however, maintained a number of other restrictions on the kinds of applications that developers can create including prohibiting third-party browsers and plug-ins. Opera nonetheless submitted a version of Opera Mini for the iPhone on Tuesday