Firefox finally available on Microsoft Store


The availability of Firefox on Microsoft Store allows Windows 10 S users to choose a browser while allaying one of Microsoft’s most vocal critics.

On Tuesday, Mozilla Firefox became the first major browser to be added to the Microsoft Store, a major push for those hoping for more browser choice within Windows 10 and 11. According to Mozilla, the change came in the wake of the Microsoft’s change to its Third-Party Browser Authorization Policy. “Until recently, Microsoft policies required all web browsers to use the engine the firm built into its platform, which meant we were unable to ship the Firefox you know and love to the Windows Store,” said said Mozilla in a blog post. “Now that Microsoft has changed its policy, we are finally able to offer Firefox with our Gecko engine,” continues Mozilla.

Some small browsers, little known to the general public, are already in the Store application, but Firefox is the first major browser to appear. This is important because Microsoft operating systems like Windows 10/11 Home in S mode (also known as Windows 10 S or Windows 11 S) prohibit third-party app downloads as a security measure.

Mozilla Firefox is finally available on Microsoft Store. (Credit: Mark Hachman/IDG)

Mozilla has spoken in the past about the need to provide access to third-party browsers. In 2015, Mozilla wrote an open letter to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella about changes to default apps in Windows 10 after updates. When the Firefox 91 update was released, the developers changed its installation process, which allowed it to become the default browser on Windows 11. Namely, Microsoft requires users to set a browser by default for each file type in Windows 11: .HTM, .HTML, .PDF, .XHT, and so on. It’s a confusing mix of file types and configurations.

Microsoft keeps control of its default apps

Unfortunately, even with the addition of Firefox to the Microsoft Store, the default browser issue does not completely change. When downloading Firefox through the Store, it will parse server-side HTML (or web pages hosted on a server) by default, which should account for the majority of requests. But, according to the Windows 11 settings page, Edge will always open PDF documents and process HTTPS and HTTP requests unless the user manually changes the default apps.

Does adding Firefox to the Store allow other browser vendors to offer their products there? Microsoft did not respond to the request made by PCWorld and one can strongly doubt a positive response. According to StatCounter, Microsoft Edge controlled 6.8% of the US browser market last October, while Firefox accounted for just 3.2%. Chrome accounted for just over 50%. It’s likely that Microsoft will be generous to a smaller rival rather than undertake a drastic change in browser choice.


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