Microsoft's Internet Explorer market share is back on the rise thanks to its use in Windows Phone 7 smartphones. But it won't have everything its own way as Mozilla plans to bring Firefox to Windows 8 tablets.

Firefox in the Hole

With the majority of Apple users sticking with Safari on the iPhone and iPad, and the Android Browser dominating on that platform, Microsoft might have hoped it would have things its own way on Windows 8 devices with Internet Explorer 10. However, Firefox, IE's bitter rival in the desktop browser wars, plans to appear on Windows 8 ARM tablets to continue the fight.

While you can get Opera and several other browsers on iOS, and Firefox is available on Android, most users seem to stick with their default browser, leading to rocketing market share and usage, essential for negotiating those search tie-in deals.

So, the news that Firefox plans an ARM version for Windows , depending on getting appropriate API access rights, might put an overall dent in Microsoft's browser share in the long term, as many millions of desktop users are happy using Firefox for their browsing experience.

Learning Opportunities

Cunning Plans from the 'Fox

According to the Firefox developer blog, the company is planning a new full-screen browser for the Metro interface, featuring its Gecko screen renderer and the multi-function Awesomebar. It uses Windows 8's touch interface and, presumably, cloud access to your desktop bookmarks and other information. The app will also have a home tile to offer live information, perhaps updates to sites you currently have open.

With a customer preview of the full Windows 8 coming at the end of the month, developers will want to get a move on to meet the launch of the ARM tablets and phones later in the year. Will Firefox also appear on those Windows 8 Phones, the company would hope so, as they have the potential to bring a massive number of users.

Those ARM tablets will of deep interest to enterprises with their Office 15 suite, and could see hosts of other developers looking to bring their apps to the Metro side of the Windows duopoly. Symantec has already announced a for-Windows-8 edition of the 360 security suite and is looking at an ARM version.