Mozilla has recently lashed out at an announcement that Windows 8’s RT version (which is intended for systems with ARM hardware installed) will only be able to run Internet Explorer. Mozilla is the creator of the popular Firefox internet browser, and they say that Windows 8’s browser locking is a return to the dark ages of the PC.

Since many of today’s personal computer manufacturers use ARM hardware for their machines, this is posing a serious problem for internet browser companies that compete with Internet Explorer. Windows 8 has two environments: one, the Classic environment where users can perform all the normal PC tasks; and two, the Metro environment where users have quick and easy access to all of their applications.

As of now, Windows 8 does not allow any other internet browser to function in the privileged Classic environment, which has provoked the ire of Mozilla and, presumably, other internet browser companies as well.

Mozilla sees Microsoft’s decision to only allow Internet Explorer as monopolistic. By effectively crushing competition from Day 1, Microsoft has created anxiety among the online freeware community. If Microsoft locks users into using Internet Explorer, what other applications are they going to force users to adopt?

Indeed, Mozilla is calling on the infamous Department of Justice-Microsoft settlement as precedent for ruling out monopolistic practices like this. Whether this will have any effect on Microsoft’s policy going forward remains to be seen.

The Windows 8 operating system is expected to be released later this year. It features a more streamlined interface that will work better with users of tablet PCs and smartphones. However, early adopters of the Windows 8 beta for desktop and laptop computers have also been impressed by the new operating system’s sleek interface.

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