Blog Post

Coming Soon: A Mozilla App for the iPhone

Stay on Top of Enterprise Technology Trends

Get updates impacting your industry from our GigaOm Research Community
Join the Community!

Earlier today when I interviewed Mozilla CEO John Lilly onstage at the Play conference, an annual confab organized by the students of the Haas School of Business at the University of Berkeley, he hinted that the company was going to launch a brand new application for the iPhone, though he declined to reveal any details. “Mozilla will release an app to the iPhone App Store in the next few weeks,” Lilly said. “It’ll surprise people.”

Later, I sat around gabbing with Lilly and Jay Sullivan, Mozilla’s VP of Mobile, talking about Weave and the Awesome Bar, which is a way to get access to all your browsing history and bookmarks by just typing them in the URL bar on your browser. And while we were talking about Weave, I asked them if it was going to be part of this new, mysterious iPhone app. Lilly and Sullivan smiled and remained silent. Interestingly, they didn’t correct me.

About two years ago, Mozilla Labs announced a project called Weave, which was essentially a way for Firefox users to upload their personal browser preferences — from bookmarks to history to customizations — to Mozilla’s servers and then be able to access them from Firefox on any computer or device. Weave was going to become a key component of Mozilla Services.

Now, I am kinda intrigued about this new application and most importantly wondering if Apple is going to approve it. The iPhone maker has been pretty hostile toward anyone making apps that compete with what Apple thinks is the core functionality of its phone. And 330 million people know that Mozilla makes browsers and mail clients. Interestingly, Mozilla Weave is pretty competitive with Apple’s dot.mac service.

If you’ve got any tips for me, send them to om + tips at gigaom

98 Responses to “Coming Soon: A Mozilla App for the iPhone”

  1. Here is the magic bullet for mozilla that changes EVERYTHING!

    Objective-C bindings for XUL (the moz GUI toolkit used to build ffox etc).

    The rendering engine (gecko – in C++) is not the issue.

    The issue is that moz placed a bad bet on trying to clone msft’s component model (COM) & it it has dragged them down ever since.

    If moz were able to use ObjectiveC to implement XUL then ffox on osx mobile (aka iPhone/itouch) would be able to offer a smoother native user experience.

    afaik the c++ mixin for objectivec is only avail on mac osx, not mobile osx — so the choice for seamless calling of cocoa is either native or none at all.

    Ps: hopefully the iPhone version of ffox is also the occassion to break with the COM-based component model & will presage a shift on the desktop version of ffox as well!

  2. Mozilla releasing a browser built around the iPhone’s webkit would be very interesting! As long as they don’t try to mess with the WebKit engine, Apple would not have much excuse to reject the app considering how many alternate browser shells are currently available on the app store. This is something I wish Google would do with Chrome – though I can’t imagine it ever happening.

  3. i like the iphone when it is jailbroken :) I like to have more choices and its no surprise to me that majority would like that choice as well.

    Its that “close” nature of Apple which I am not in favor of …. this is basically a “blanket” method of saying “NO” to next phase of innovation on their device or platform. Why is apple so afraid?

  4. timjones17

    wondering if Apple is going to approve it
    ditch the i-am-an-overhyped-feature-Phone, and go with a smartphone. Can you get apps for an iPhone anywhere else other than the Apple App Store?