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"It's not precisely 'running a browser in Classic' that matters for Windows on ARM," Dotzler said. "It's that running a browser in Classic is the only way that Microsoft has allowed us to get access to the APIs that a browser needs to deliver modern capabilities and performance in Classic AND Metro."
Abandoning Its Pledge
Following the expiration of its antitrust settlement with the U.S. government in 1996, Microsoft voluntarily pledged to be principled and transparent as it developed new versions of Windows.
"These voluntary principles are intended to provide the industry and consumers with the benefits of ongoing innovation, while creating and preserving robust opportunities for competition," said Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith. "The principles incorporate and go beyond the provisions of the U.S. antitrust ruling."
Among other things, Microsoft promised to configure Windows-based PCs to use non-Microsoft programs instead of -- or in addition to -- Windows features. What's more, Microsoft said it would "create and preserve opportunities for applications developers and Web site creators to build innovative products on the Windows platform -- including products that directly compete with Microsoft's own products."
By denying third-party developers access to the Windows RT APIs necessary for building a modern browser, Microsoft is abandoning its pledge, Dotzler and Anderson said.
"It means that IE on ARM has access to win32 APIs -- even when it's running in Metro mode -- but no other Metro browser has that same access," Dotzler said. "Without that access, no other browser has a prayer of being competitive with IE."