Mozilla Firefox is Coming to the Microsoft Store

Posted on October 6, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Mozilla Firefox, Windows 10, Windows 11 with 37 Comments

Mozilla this week updated Firefox across desktop and mobile, and the firm revealed that the browser is coming to the Microsoft Store.

“Microsoft has loosened restrictions on its [Microsoft] Store [in Windows 10 and 11] that effectively banned third-party browsers from the store,” Mozilla explains of that latter update. “We have been advocating for years for more user choice and control on the Windows operating system. We welcome the news that their store is now more open to companies and applications, including independent browsers like Firefox. We believe that a healthier internet is one where people have an opportunity to choose from a diverse range of browsers and browser engines. Firefox will be available in the Windows store later this year.”

Nice.

Separate from that, the newly-released Firefox 93 for desktop now supports the AVIF image format, adds new PDF form-filling functionality, and blocks downloads that rely on insecure connections. On Windows, Firefox 93 will automatically unload tabs when available system memory is critically low. And on macOS, Firefox 93 works more reliably when users run the browser from a mounted .DMG file.

Mozilla also released two new mobile browser versions. Its minimalist Firefox Focus gets a fresh new look with new colors, a new logo and a dark theme, plus improved access to privacy tracking and blocking. And Firefox for Android added new password creation and sync features that work across mobile and desktop, plus password autofill functionality across the mobile OS.

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Comments (37)

37 responses to “Mozilla Firefox is Coming to the Microsoft Store”

  1. Pbike908

    I have been getting reacquainted with firefox...I have been using the android version on my phone. I am about ready to give it another try on windows. I am tired of autoplay html 5 videos on chrome based browsers.

    • miamimauler

      @Pbike908


      AutoplayStopper works well and is the Chrome Web Store.

      • bettyblue

        Not 100% for sure. Only Safari (for a long time now) and FF stop video/audio from playing. Its a complete mixed bag with Chromium browsers.


        FireFox is king for me right now. Safari a close second (I am 98% a Mac user). If Safari had Ublock I would go back to it.

  2. sherlockholmes

    Windows 11 makes no sense at this time.

  3. videosavant

    Firefox, the browser built by totalitarians, for totalitarians.


    #FreeBrendanEich

  4. sclitheroe

    Are you still using Firefox as your primary browser Mr. Thurrott? If so, how has it been now that its been at least a month

  5. WaltC

    I'm running build 22471.1000 Win11 in the Insider's group, Dev channel, and it's pretty sweet. The hardware security baseline requirements were nothing new for me as I had been running all of them for the last two years under Win10, where they weren't required but were fully supported. So going to Win11 was just like upgrading to a new build of Win10 in that regard--no change. I think I will wind up liking Win11 a lot--and people should realize that although Microsoft will support Win10 for ~3 more years or more, that all the development beans will be going to Win11 from now on...;)


    Good news about Firefox! I've been using FF x64 DE for several years now and have no desire for another browser--Edge is out--I could never get past the favorites being confined to the "wrong" side of the screen...;) You know, even IE let you put your favorites list of sites wherever you wanted them! FF DE is my cup of tea and I highly recommend it--Glad to see Microsoft has come full circle and is back to treating the browser as a separate piece of software instead of something ridiculously and indivisibly merged with Windows. IE began life as a separate piece of software, etc. Glad to see that Microsoft has finally figured out that the web browser can never replace the OS--as the long-deceased Netscape was so fond of saying...;)


  6. ontariopundit

    I told the internet so!


    If only I had bothered to turn my insights into a series of blog posts back in 2015. At that time I predicted (a) the demise of Windows Phone (easy), of Edge (easy) and pointed to the exclusion of 3rd party browsers (most notably Chrome) as being a big reason why the Windows Store wouldn't take off. And, more recently, the moment I heard about Windows 10 S and its restrictions I predicted its demise.


    You'd be surprised at how vehemently the vast majority of the fan base of Thurrott and Windows Central reacted to such notions. Windows Phone wasn't going anywhere--it was the future of Windows. Edge was great and would soon challenge Chrome. The Windows Store was already good and would only get better. Windows 10 S would challenge the non-existent threat of the Chromebook (never mind that it seems like North American schools are falling into the grip of 2021 Chromebook mania).


    From my perspective the Windows Store still has poor content and is still not particularly reliable when it comes to installing software. The intentional exclusion of Chrome (& Firefox) no doubt meant that people had no incentive to visit the Store to install some of the internet's most popular software. And, if you can't get the most commonly used 3rd party application(s) in the Store, what's the point of using it at all?


    It was a big mistake for Microsoft to try to replicate Apple's unique success. Apple had good security reason to exclude 3rd party rendering engines and a good strategic reason (control the ability to run 3rd party apps)... though (maybe) to be continued.

    • bettyblue

      All easy predictions that many knew. Add to that, Zune, Band and invoke. All dead on day one and I thought so when they launched. Add Cortona to that list.


      I personally think Surface is a failure. But it has its die hard fans. I also think that Game Pass saved the Xbox. That and Sony is a shadow of its self and does not have the financial might to dominate the gaming industry and buy up stuff like Microsoft is doing.


      Microsoft is basically a cloud subscription business and save for Xbox enterprise focused as well.

      • ontariopundit

        Yes, you're right. I totally forgot about Cortana and its unnecessary tie-in to Bing.


        For some of us with some perspective they were "easy" predictions but they weren't universally obvious.


        Windows Central and Thurrott, at various times, pumped these technologies as the next big thing. Obviously Microsoft--with its millions of dollars thrown at market research and some of the best and the brightest in the business--thought they were worth investing in.


        And, Microsoft was right, they were worth investing in!


        Back in the early 2010's Microsoft Internet Explorer suffered from a poor reputation and Google's Chrome was nipping at its heels. They had to respond and they did with Edge. But, with Edge they decided to re-invent the wheel when they could've simply repurposed any number of rendering engines like Apple and Google had so successfully. Building a new rendering engine probably tied up loads of engineering resources that should've gone to UI/UX instead. Edge had a terrible (from my POV) user experience.


        Windows 10 S was not at all a bad idea either. In fact, it was a downright good idea. Break with the past and ditch legacy software and legacy interfaces. Improve security, dramatically. What's there not to like?


        What killed it was a combo of the heavy-handedness with which Microsoft approached the availability of browsers and how Microsoft positioned Windows 10 S in the market. Cheap CONSUMER devices got 10 S and you could upgrade to 10 Pro for a nominal fee (or was it free). No high end machines (other than one Microsoft Surface laptop) shipped with Windows 10 S!


        Then there was the browser fiasco. Chrome is the single-most important application that runs on Windows and Google is the single-most important search engine that Windows users use. By prohibiting competing browsers (specifically the rendering engine) in Windows 10 S (using the lame excuse of "security") Microsoft was telling potential customers "you can't use the browser you use or the search engine you use".


        Consumers (& pundits alike) naturally responded with a big, giant "why would I want to run an operating system that doesn't let me use Chrome to browse the web or use Google to search the web and doesn't give me anything in return?"


        Yes, that's how Apple's iOS operates, however, Apple's iOS either mitigates against the problems or offers something compelling in return for giving up that choice.


        Chrome is essentially a repackaged version of Safari (both forked from the same original code base) so the rendering engine on Safari pretty much does what Chrome does. Apple allows you to change the default search engine for iOS from Google (plus, Google is what most people use anyway). And, unlike Microsoft Windows Store, the App Store is filled with the most profitable and popular applications on the face of the planet.


        Being locked to iOS is not such a bad thing given that any developer worth their salt is on iOS, and, even in 2021, you'll find many apps on iOS that are better on iOS (e.g. Peleton) or only available for iOS (a small but not so insignificant number... As a Windows/Android-only user I've run into situations where I can't access a small developer's apps because they're iOS only since that's where the majority of their users are).

  7. sharps

    It's stupid, but Firefox scrolling bugs me compared to Edge. Edge feels so much smoother.

  8. oasis

    Does this mean that we could now use Firefox with a Windows S-Mode laptop? Excellent!!!

    • eric_rasmussen

      That's an excellent point, I hadn't thought of that. Though certain apps in the store aren't available to S Mode, Windows Terminal is one such example. Firefox may fall into that same category, I'm not sure.

  9. sherlockholmes

    Whats the Microsoft Store? Oh yeah that thing I dont hAVE ON MY wINDOWS != eNTERPRISE ltsc VERSION :-)

  10. sherlockholmes

    Whats the Microsoft Store? Oh yeah that thing I dont have on my Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC Version. Sorry for the post before.

    • ontariopundit

      I noticed that my Enterprise version of Windows recently got the Windows Store. It's still very restricted in terms of what can be installed--and, true to form, works poorly--but at least it's there.


      I installed iTunes (by accident) from the Store without even bothering to check if it was already installed on the computer (a freshly imaged device). Lo, and behold, it was. The "real" version was apparently part of the default image (to manage iPads). Unfortunately, you can't have both the Store version and the "real" version installed at the same time.


      Luckily the Store version was only installed for one account so I simply fired up a second corporate account I have and it worked just fine.

  11. bats

    LOL....I can't believe that Microsoft is still gonna do that "store" thing.

    • bluvg

      I can't believe Microsoft would NOT do a store. Consumers are accustomed to the concept, and it's a better delivery model than ad hoc, free-for-all installs and installers. Maybe it will even kill off Installshield, fingers-crossed.

      • red.radar

        Is it better delivery model? Sure I will grant you that most times it’s convenient that applications and their updates are centrally managed.


        however it’s a bit of a mess to discover applications and your limited to just the simple front page that describes the application. Going to the website of the publisher offers more opportunities for information and more context clues that the app is legitimate.


        And best of all.. If the developer and platform manager get into a disagreement I don’t have to worry about software being de-platformed.


        seems like a lot of negatives for centralized updating.

        • bluvg

          Mess to discover applications rather than ad hoc applications strewn over the internet on sites of varying quality and discoverability? I disagree. Besides, an app store can link back to the developer's or app's site, so it's not either-or.


          If they get into a disagreement and get booted from the store, that doesn't mean you can't install it on Windows. But if the store is fair and successful, I would have second thoughts about any app not available through it.

      • wright_is

        Exactly, my wife was pleased as punch, when I upgraded her PC from Windows 7 to Windows 8 that she had finally worked out how to install software on it for herself.

      • Greg Green

        Consumers are accustomed to smartphones, pcs are what they use at work, if at all. The people using pcs at home still aren’t using the MS Store.

  12. blue77star

    Microsoft needs to let Store go. It makes no sense on desktop.

    • wright_is

      I disagree. I spend ages trying to show my wife how to find and install software in Windows 7. She just wasn't interested and called me, every time she wanted to have something installed.


      When I upgraded her PC to Windows 8, she came to me after 20 minutes, proudly announcing that she had installed the weather app on her own!


      A lot of people don't know how to find software on the web, or having found it, whether it is trustworthy. The lucky ones just call someone like me to install the software, otherwise they take a chance that warezrus.com is the legitimate place to download Adobe Acrobat...


      Is the app store 100% safe? No, none of them are, but they are safer than selecting websites at random and downloading files and installing them, without understanding what you are doing.


      For professionals and enthusiasts, finding the right installer online is relatively simple. But for the average user, it is a nightmare and can often lead them to downloading some malware - which the 6 month free trial of McAfee, which stopped getting updates 3 years ago, isn't going to help protect them against.

      • ontariopundit

        The issue with the Windows Store (or is it now called Microsoft Store, I can't remember) is that the quality of the software is low. In the past I've searched for apps, and, more often than not, the only thing on offer is amateurish junk.


        The few gems that are still left on Windows are invariably downloaded from a separate site.

        • wright_is

          But for somebody who can't get their heads around searching the internet, downloading from a reputable source and installing an application, it is better than nothing.

          • ontariopundit

            I wholeheartedly agree that the Store is good for less technical users. However, I also agree with those disparaging the Store idea on Windows as obsolete.


            Perhaps because I see Windows as being obsolete!


            When I see how Windows is evolving I don't see much of a future for it. I work in an environment where Chromebooks will become the majority computing platform by 2023 and will replace almost all Windows computers by 2025.


            I am, relatively speaking, a hold out. I cling to my Windows laptops and desktops. I order Windows desktops to replace Windows desktops. However, in many cases I hesitantly even recommend that people choose Chromebooks over Windows computers because mid-range Chromebooks do a better job of meeting their needs than do comparable Windows laptops.


            And, if the build and component quality of the Chromebooks that we were allowed to buy at work increased to match that of the HP ProBook line of devices that we can buy, I think I myself would even migrate to a Chromebook as my primary machine, and most fellow Chromebook holdouts would also switch. As it is, I already use a mid-level Chromebook as a secondary machine, and, I must say that I am using my (brand new) ProBook less and less because Windows simply "gets in the way".


            Windows is going to shrink in importance. Developers that are able to are migrating away from Windows applications to websites. This means that all you need is... Chrome :).


            Windows isn't going anywhere fast. It has legacy momentum going for it. But, ChromeOS will pose a significant challenge to its hegemony in the not-so-distant future. And, at the high end people seem to be migrating to macOS (certainly I see a lot more Macs running around at work nowadays... people would rather use their own device than a free, organisation-provided Windows laptop).

    • miamimauler

      @blue77star


      FWIW I disagree. In theory it is desirable to have a single place to safely download apps/programs from.


      I say in theory as it all depends on how MS implements it and only time will tell now that MS have opened the Store up.

      • ontariopundit

        "now that MS have opened the Store up."


        Too little, too late.


        People have spent 9 years (since Windows 8) ignoring the Store. Why would they suddenly discover the Store religion now? Developers have been burned too many times in the past by Microsoft abandoning technologies or changing the terms of service so they will be gun-shy to develop for the Store.


        For that matter, why would Google bring Chrome to the Windows Store quickly? Yes, Microsoft's Windows is still a huge market, but, comparatively speaking, Windows 11 is small and is unlikely to grow quickly since the overwhelming majority of Windows 10 computers aren't compatible with Windows 11.


        Keeping Chrome out of the Store for as long as possible may help encourage more organisations to switch to Chromebooks, without sacrificing market share to Firefox or Edge.

  13. jackb

    Microsoft Teams is not even in the Microsoft Store so why the hack would they put Firefox in there?

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