Mozilla axes Firefox for Windows Mobile

Mozilla has axed its Firefox for Windows Mobile project in response to Microsoft’s decision to “close off” development for native applications.

“Because of this, we won’t be able to provide Firefox for Windows Phone 7 at this time,” Mozilla’s Stuart Parmenter explained in an official blog post

“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.”

Nevertheless, Parmenter emphasized that “much of the knowledge and work” would be leveraged to develop the browser for other platforms.

“We will be disabling the builds and test automation shortly, and developers shouldn’t worry if the tree breaks. 
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.”

However, Kevin C. Tofel of the mobile-centric Jkontherun reacted to the news with concern and speculated that Mozilla appeared to be “running out” of mobile options for Firefox.

“Mozilla doesn’t have many choices left. It could take the same approach that Opera is trying and attempt to get a browser through the iTunes App Store approval process,” mused Tofel.

“And unless or until RIM radically alters the BlackBerry platform, they’re not a potential development target either. Palm now offers a PDK, or Plug-In Development Kit, that supports C and C++, but I don’t expect Mozilla to focus on webOS given Palm’s current struggles. [So], there’s simply nowhere else for Mozilla to turn in the mobile space, given the constraints and the way it wants to code.”