Opera’s Antitrust Complaint: Microsoft Must Support Standards

Opera has filed an antitrust complaint with the European Commission against Microsoft, alleging that Microsoft has illegally stifled competition in the browser market by tying Internet Explorer to Windows and by failing to support web standards.

If this all sounds a little familiar to you, it’s because Microsoft fought a similar battle with the U.S. Department of Justice in 2001 and lost. Based on that ruling, Microsoft went to work making it possible for all of the bundled applications within Windows to be overridden by 3rd party alternatives. This facility exists today in the form of the Set Default Programs application in Windows XP and Windows Vista.

Set Default Programs window

While these measures have satisfied the U.S. Department of Justice, they have not satisfied the European courts. According to Opera’s press release, in September the European Court of First Instance ruled that Microsoft has illegally tied Windows Media Player to Windows, despite the ability to override the program’s file associations using the Set Default Programs facility in Windows, and despite the availability in Europe of Microsoft’s special ‘N’ editions of Windows, which do not include Windows Media Player, as required by a 2005 European Commission decision.

Off the back of this latest ruling, Opera is seeking to have the Commission apply the very same logic to Internet Explorer, and force Microsoft to distribute Windows either without Internet Explorer (something that Microsoft has consistently maintained is impossible in practice), or with alternative browsers bundled in.

On top of the bundling issue, Opera’s complaint also seeks to require Microsoft to implement support for web standards in Internet Explorer. This will be a much tougher one to prove. Although Internet Explorer is certainly the least standards-compliant of the major browsers today, each and every release of Internet Explorer has included improved standards support. It seems that Opera is saying that Microsoft’s slowness to develop Internet Explorer is in itself an illegal and anti-competitive act.

So what do you think? Is Microsoft doing enough to enable users to choose alternative browsers in Windows? And should browser makers be legally required to support web standards, whether they have the programming resources to devote to doing so or not?

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  • http://www.tyssendesign.com.au Tyssen

    Like I said earlier today on a mailing list, my latest computer with Vista came pre-intalled with Windows Mail, Windows Media Player, Microsoft Works and Roxio CD Creator (this one may be more of an HP choice than MS); should I also expect my system to be preinstalled with Eudora/Thunderbird/Lotus Notes, RealPlayer/Quicktime, OpenOffice and Nero? Is it reasonable for any OS vendor to have to install any more than one type of any application? For the less savvy users, having more than one option may actually make things more difficult for them.

    Surely it’s any manufacturer’s right to choose what components they use in their own product (as long as there aren’t health and safety concerns involved)?

    Should Apple be forced to install browsers other than Safari on their OS?

    (And just so you know, I’m no MS fanboy.)

  • http://www.splintered.co.uk redux

    to be honest, i fail to see the merit of this complaint. leaving the standards thing aside (which i do feel is a bit frivolous), let’s look at the browser issue: could MS ship an operating system without a browser? of course not…how would people be able to get online the first time around (to download an alternative browser, for instance)? so it’s really a case of bundling other alternative browsers. which one should they choose, then? opera? firefox? safari for windows? why should they be obliged to give a leg up to competing browsers?
    maybe if the complaint was focused more towards the deep integration of IE into the actual OS, it would have some more merit…but that doesn’t appear to be the case. maybe i’m missing the big picture here, but it seems futile…

  • http://www.sitepoint.com/ Kevin Yank

    Maybe all that’s required is for users to be given an explicit choice of applications the first time they use one of the Microsoft-bundled apps.

    So on a brand new Windows machine, the user clicks the Internet Explorer icon, and up pops a box that says:

    “This is your first time browsing the Web on Windows. For your convenience, Microsoft has included Internet Explorer – our very own Web browser – in Windows. But if you prefer, you can install a different browser and use that instead. Here are a few alternatives.

    “Click the Internet Explorer icon to start browsing with Internet Explorer, or click one of the other icons to learn about that browser, and even download and install it if you like.”

  • http://www.waterfallweb.net/ RockyShark

    I don’t understand Opera here at all. Isn’t their standards-compliance a competitive point of difference over IE?

    If IE was 100% standards compliant, that removes a possible reason for using Opera, doesn’t it?

    That’s like me taking my competitors to court and asking the court to rule they must be as good as I am!

    Weird… But it’s generating publicity I suppose. Maybe that’s all they’re trying to do.

  • http://autisticcuckoo.net/ AutisticCuckoo

    I don’t understand Opera here at all. Isn’t their standards-compliance a competitive point of difference over IE?

    Only among a small percentage of the web designer population. Among other user groups, very few even know what web ‘standards’ are, and even fewer care.

    I think Opera’s frustration is that they have to reverse engineer and emulate so many of IE’s weird bugs and quirks. A majority of those who publish things on the web still design for IE only. If other browsers are to stand any chance whatsoever of increasing their market shares, they must be able to render those non-compliant pages properly. A non-technical user seeing a broken page in Opera is more likely to blame Opera than the author/designer of the page, although the latter is to blame in 99.999% of the cases.

    The people at Opera ASA are very good at making web browsers. Unfortunately they appear very inept when it comes to public relations. They didn’t make their browser free until Firefox had already taken a significant market share, and by then it was too late. And now this.

  • chrisdavidmills

    Hi there,

    Chris Mills here from Opera. Thanks first to Kevin for posting about this – it’s nice to see a good discussion about it. Let me address a few points that have come up above.

    If IE was 100% standards compliant, that removes a possible reason for using Opera, doesn’t it?

    That’s like me taking my competitors to court and asking the court to rule they must be as good as I am!

    This is an interesting point of view – I can certainly see your logic ;-) The thing is, we are not doing this for any kind of marketing gain – we are doing it purely because we care about web standards, and the open web – we want to see proper standards compliance across all browsers, to make the lives of everyone involved in making the web easier. Just think if MS were to support SVG for example – a great technology that has been all but killed by MS not supporting it. It would give people a great open alternative to Flash, which would also be more accessible. Of course, I suspect Adobe would have a lot to say about this too ;-)

    So on a brand new Windows machine, the user clicks the Internet Explorer icon, and up pops a box that says:

    “This is your first time browsing the Web on Windows. For your convenience, Microsoft has included Internet Explorer – our very own Web browser – in Windows. But if you prefer, you can install a different browser and use that instead. Here are a few alternatives.

    “Click the Internet Explorer icon to start browsing with Internet Explorer, or click one of the other icons to learn about that browser, and even download and install it if you like.”

    Exactly – this is the kind of approach that could work in the future. We are certainly not asking for Windows to come without IE – that would be just as unfair as the current situation with IE – we are just asking for them to at least acknowledge the existence of other browsers, and allow consumers a genuine choice.

    The people at Opera ASA are very good at making web browsers. Unfortunately they appear very inept when it comes to public relations.

    I can’t comment on what Opera has done in the past, but things are changing for the better since I joined 4 months ago. There has certainly been a shift towards better public relations – part of the reason why people like myself have been employed.

    If you have any question about the antitrust complaint, or anything else to do with Opera, feel free to mail me at cmills [at] opera [dot] com.

    Thanks again,

    Chris Mills
    Developer relations manager
    Opera

  • http://www.keystonecapitalchorus.org DaveMaxwell

    So on a brand new Windows machine, the user clicks the Internet Explorer icon, and up pops a box that says:

    “This is your first time browsing the Web on Windows. For your convenience, Microsoft has included Internet Explorer – our very own Web browser – in Windows. But if you prefer, you can install a different browser and use that instead. Here are a few alternatives.

    “Click the Internet Explorer icon to start browsing with Internet Explorer, or click one of the other icons to learn about that browser, and even download and install it if you like.”

    Exactly – this is the kind of approach that could work in the future. We are certainly not asking for Windows to come without IE – that would be just as unfair as the current situation with IE – we are just asking for them to at least acknowledge the existence of other browsers, and allow consumers a genuine choice.

    Maybe it’s me, but this makes no sense to me. What company in their right mind would openly advertise that other competitive products are available? Would that mean that the first time Office is opened up, they’d have to post a message stating the availability of open office, zoho, etc.?

    Would you require something similar out of Apple? Have them advertise in their startup that alternatives to Safari exist? Or is it just because the market size of Microsoft that makes them a target.

    Why are browsers not part of OEM installs similar to what is done with CD/DVD software, media players, office products, etc.? Netscape used to be a default install, why hasn’t a browser company paid Dell or someone else to have their browser be the default browser for their systems? There used to be MS pressure to keep them out, but IIRC, that was one of the things that got smacked down by the justice department a few years ago. If a company paid one of the computer makers enough, they should be able to get their browser installed and set to the default. IE wouldn’t have to be uninstalled, just not set to the default.

  • meh

    DaveMaxwell: “What company in their right mind would openly advertise that other competitive products are available?”

    They wouldn’t have to if they hadn’t abused their market position to stifle competition.

    And remember that IE being bundled is merely one part of this. The other, and more important part, is the way Microsoft consciously undermines open standards and replaces them with lock-in technologies.

  • drhowarddrfine

    Tyssen,
    No one is trying to force MS to pre-install anything, but pre-installing IE at the expense of other software is part of the issue.

  • http://www.assemblysys.com/dataServices/index.php mniessen

    A non-technical user seeing a broken page in Opera is more likely to blame Opera than the author/designer of the page, although the latter is to blame in 99.999% of the cases.

    Maybe the next step should just be for Opera to sue web developers who don’t use standards, because they are the reason Opera renders broken pages…

    What company in their right mind would openly advertise that other competitive products are available? Would that mean that the first time Office is opened up, they’d have to post a message stating the availability of open office, zoho, etc.?

    Would you require something similar out of Apple? Have them advertise in their startup that alternatives to Safari exist?

    Exactly. And what products should they list as alternative browsers? Following the “logic” of this whole concept, any developer whose product is not listed could complain that it’s unfair business practice and that by giving the choice between more well-known browsers will just leave no place at all for smaller browsers.
    Anyway, most consumers wouldn’t care about a choice and many would not want to install another browser if they already have one that’s working. Those who do care already know that there are alternatives and are able to download and install them.

    It seems that the recent losses of Microsoft at European courts has opened the door for many frivolous lawsuits.

    Just my opinion…

  • wwb_99

    Funny, Opera is using a Microsoftesque tactic–legislate your opponent’s advantages away–to save their skin.

  • malikyte

    @DaveMaxwell: That’s what an anti-trust lawsuit’s about, to either split up a company, or require changes because it has grown so large they hold a monopoly in some area of the market.

    I respect, as a company, the reasons behind why Opera is taking this step. However, I think they will have a very difficult time. I realize Europeans may have a better idea of what technology is and how it effects our daily lives, but will they know the difference between support of HTML 2.0 and HTML 4.0? I’d imagine that IE5 even supported HTML 2.0 standards. So then, where do we draw the line exactly on “standards support/compliance”? What if HTML5 comes out before this case is finalized? Will it supersede XHTML 1.1, 1.2, or 2.0? From the small amount of information I’ve read, HTML5 is actually one step forward and two steps backward. So, I ask again, which standards compliance would we be aiming for, and how could it be defined to the courts as the “proper” standard when there are so many for the web today?

    I personally think that any step forward for Internet Explorer is a good step, regardless of how it comes about, so good luck. I think you’ll need it.

  • Joe Brinkman

    That Microsoft’s implementation does not include support for every standard, or that Microsoft’s implementation is buggy should not be a legitimate reason to sue them. They made a business decision to create a crappy browser and the market seems to be responding just fine by shifting in droves to FireFox. This would seem to indicate that no legal action is needed since consumers are clearly able to make up their own minds and don’t seem to have an issue with changing browsers when they feel that a truly superior option exists.

    I don’t want courts dictating which web “standards” are mandatory any more than I want courts to tell me to buy a blu-ray or HD DVD player. Let consumers make up their own minds and keep the courts out of my technology decisions. Just look to the patent system to see how well courts understand technology and you’ll know where I am coming from.

  • madr

    The big difference between Apple/Safari and MS/IE is that Safari is standards compatible. Apple is actually making a lot of efforts to make Safari a better browser, since they don’t take marketshare for granted. I cannot say that MS does not do the same with IE, but come on: They have more people, more money, more of anything, and really should have done better over the years. Netscape saw that NN4 was crap, and realized a complete rewrite was necessary, with the Gecko engine as result.

    IE6 was around for 5 years, and instead of rewriting the Trident engine for IE7, they continued with it. IMHO, this was truly sad, and I support Opera 100% in this. Web Standards is better for anyone, and if MS cannot make anybody pleased with their own products, one should question for other compensations.

  • mihd

    we are just asking for them to at least acknowledge the existence of other browsers, and allow consumers a genuine choice.

    @chrisdavidmills good idea but theres a flaw

    average user doesn’t know what a “browser” is, or care for that matter, for most people the internet is the little E icon at the bottom left of the screen, and if they knew what a browser is (like most geeks) wouldn’t they use opera or Firefox already ;)

    also lest say the have a screen first time a user goes online

    who gets to decide what browsers go there?
    will they have to list all 200+ browser?
    if they list browser X but not browser Y would we be back to square one?
    what if some browsers are spyware supported (i.e google toolbar on firefox) what then?

    anyways fairplay to yee, all publicity is good publicity they say ;)

  • wwb_99

    A little history lesson is in order here. Yes, IE6 sat for 5 years or so. Largely because Microsoft was being sued about IE and it did not make sense to invest resources in improving something that was going to get your company broken up. Which was a real possibility in the Clinton administration, though it went away after the ascent of Bush II. The net effect was that the development window for IE7 was closer to 1.5 years, not 5 years.

    The second thing is the part of compatibility many of us cutting edge web-devs forget: that whole generation of very IE-specific intranet line of business applications. Microsoft needs to keep those things working or many of their customer base (corporate IT) will get very, very upset. Nothing screws the pooch like a standards-compliant browser update eliminating your ability to enter or track orders. So, to some extent they are stuck between a rock and a hard place as making the huge changes necessary to get the rendering engine up to modern snuff will likely break a lot of these very, very important applications.

    I will also remind us all that many, many people are perfectly happy with IE. Most of the world does not care a lick about web standards, they just want a safe, friendly browser that works fast. And IE tends to do that more often than not.

    In any case, attempting to shoehorn your way into market share by legal fiat is really a bad thing. Make a better browser rather than get a judge to force it upon users Opera.

  • israelisassi

    I’ve never met anyone who actually uses Opera for their day to day browsing. If Opera can’t compete is it necessarily Microsoft’s fault? The public and time will decide which browser wins no matter how they are marketed.

  • dustbuster

    While I applaud Opera’s initiative and guts in going after Microsoft I’m not entirely sure this will achieve the results they are looking for (Internet Explorer implementing 100% web standards), though I hope it does.

    Should they be doing this? Maybe they should be putting their money into other directions.

    Why are most sites still designed for Internet Explorer? Because most people on the web use Internet Explorer. This is tailoring your product for the market. If Opera really wants all browsers to be 100% web standards compliant they just need to get their browser into the hands of end users, like Microsoft did with Internet Explorer. Once it has the market share Internet Explorer will be forced to be 100% standards compliant in order to stay competitive.

    Like @DaveMaxwell said, Opera should work out deals with suppliers like Dell to have their browser made the default one. Or bundle their browser with downloads the same way AOL sent out CDs with books. The Google Toolbar is now included in many downloads, why not have Opera do the same?

  • http://www.deanclatworthy.com Dean C

    I think it’s a massive PR stunt by Opera, and it’s worked. It even got coverage on BBC national news today.

  • http://www.geobop.org/ geosite

    wwb_99ss wrote…

    Funny, Opera is using a Microsoftesque tactic–legislate your opponent’s advantages away–to save their skin.

    BINGO. Microsoft could be described as a law firm that sells software on the side. Seriously, Bill Gates’ father is a very powerful attorney who has long used his law firm to lobby for Microsoft. If you want to fight M$, you need to use M$’s tactics, to some extent at least.

    But how does Opera compete with Firefox, which is not perceived as a giant security hole manufacstured by a corrupt corporate behemoth? Firefox, of course, is an open source program that has received abundant publicity. It has also been somewhat politicized as the logical alternative to the corporate way.

    With this lawsuit, Opera is now stepping into the ring in a David vs Goliath drama that could greatly enhance its reputation.

    Here’s the important question: Will web designers and geeks just sit quietly on the sidelines, watching the proceedings and occasionally posting their varied opinions on blogs? Or will they help inform and educate the public?

    The average person is not a geek. They need to understand some of the major differences between browsers, as well as the organizations that make those browsers. They need to be aware of the existence of standards and what those standards mean.

    My advice to Opera is to hit the media and blogs hard, doing everything you can to publicize this lawsuit. I would also post lots of questions, asking people for suggestions. (You won’t see Bill Gates asking his customers for suggestions for improving IE!)

    Ask people what they think about browser wars, standards, corporate corruption, competition and so on.

    In fairness, I must admit that I haven’t done my part to publicize Opera. That’s largely because I’ve been captivated by Firefox, which is both more popular and more politicized. I was further encouraged by Google’s referral program, which includes Firefox. Indeed, I’ve even publicized Firefox during runs for public office.

    But I plan on revising my websites to publicize Opera, too. Indeed, I would encourage geeks and non-geeks alike to use Firefox AND Opera (and Safari is you own a Mac), because there are so many differences between browsers.

  • the peregrine

    I’ve seen that Opera’s people are engaged meaningfully in a number of W3C working groups, and they care about web standards as a principle for improving their own product as well as all user experience on the Web.

    Web accessibility is part of my job, which involves a constituency of people with various disabilities, and I can attest that Opera has the best understanding yet of what it takes to design an accessible interface and make it work in accordance with the very well-considered standards set forth by the W3C.

    Microsoft has impeded the widespread acceptance of web standards that would have demonstrable benefits to everyone. They did this at first by inventing their own proprietary tags, and they’ve done it more recently by dragging their feet on standards-compliance issues others addressed long ago. So developers still have many excuses for presentational hacks, etc., and we have a generation of web developers and designers who don’t see the point of standards compliance because of Microsoft’s dominance. That’s a damned shame, because Microsoft’s prominence has nothing to do with the quality of their browser.

    Nobody is better equipped than Opera to argue the case for IE’s failures. They’ve proved what’s possible, and they’ve remained committed. With their inside knowledge, they can probably explain it in terms even a judge or legislator can understand, and that’s what we need.

    This is not a publicity stunt, IMHO. It’s a natural consequence of Microsoft’s longterm negligence. Somebody had to do it, and I’m glad to see it.

  • israelisassi

    Does any browser fully (as in 100%) support current HTML, CSS, and Accessibility standards as defined by W3C???

  • Ronnie

    Should Apple be forced to install browsers other than Safari on their OS?

    Well, Apple isn’t any better of MS with regard to forcing users to use their own proprietary software since for long time they even forced people to use their crappy hardware.
    That doesn’t mean MS wouldn’t do a great favor to their customers if they push them to use more solid and standard compliant alternatives to browse the web and let IE be a simple filesystem browser.
    Supporting standard is not frivolous, it is the way to go.

  • Ronnie

    For those who say IE covers 95% of the market share I wish to point out that in a very internet-oriented country like Germany figures are quite different. Firefox usage is estimated about 30% there. Do you want your site to look broken for 3 out 10 german users? This is why W3C standards are of paramount importance. You didn’t know that? Sorry but in that case you are not professional web-designers. I would never hire you or pay very little for a non-professional product.

  • http://www.pixelsoul.net pixelsoul

    The problem is that windows is on 95% of the desktops.. and that the average user think the little blue icon means the internet…

    It has nothing to do about Opera building a better browser because i think everybody knows it is allot better then IE 6 / 7..

    Because of the dominant position microsoft has to be stopped by creating crappy products, and therefor putting huge costs on webdevelopers creating hacks and debugging sites for their products.

    I think that with the start or install of the os the users should get the choice what browser they want to install.. If windows would not have a monopoly position on the desktop market it would not matter with what browser they bundle it.

  • the peregrine

    Does any browser fully (as in 100%) support current HTML, CSS, and Accessibility standards as defined by W3C???

    No. Does any car on the highway follow the speed limit 100 percent of the time? Yet by working in accord with other traffic on the road, we can usually travel safely and efficiently.

    The same principles apply to web standards as to the conventions of highway safety, or to all conventions of human behavior and interaction. Thanks to Microsoft’s foot-dragging, the information superhighway is clogged with millions of blue-haired old ladies in 1952 Studebakers. And all the mechanics who could be trained to tune up our fuel-efficient hybrids are stuck trying to keep those antiques running with salvaged parts.

    OK, so the analogy needs a little work.

  • israelisassi

    Witty analogy!

    Thanks to Microsoft’s foot-dragging

    I found this link interesting: http://www.quirksmode.org/css/contents.html

  • centered effect

    Kevin, To answer your questions:

    So what do you think? Is Microsoft doing enough to enable users to choose alternative browsers in Windows? And should browser makers be legally required to support web standards, whether they have the programming resources to devote to doing so or not?

    1. Why would a everyday user choose a different browser? Opera’s press release on thier site states to give users a genuine choice of standards. What does that mean to the everyday user who is not a web developer or a developer’s client?

    2. Is your question stating that standards should be legalized? If so, then obvious answer is yes.

  • Ronnie

    Point is: there are already a lot of everyday users (don’t know what everyday user means exactly anyway) using alternative browser. By not making its best effort to support standards, MS is taking advantage of its dominant position in a manner which is at least questionable according to European laws. Moreover, MS has been already charged by European courts for very similar reasons. So it owns a negative record, so Opera is asking European courts if those illegal practices were ceased or they continue. Personally I don’t know if MS is doing its best or not, but from a giant like MS I would expect them to have the best browser not the WORST for sure.

  • Jeremy

    First I would like to say, I am not a mac fanboi, or MS for that reason. I use both of them, because they both have their uses….

    With that said…

    Most of the time, as it has been mentioned above, the standards issues are an issue because of the hacks that call themselves web designers (and have driven the name into the ground) because they are using DIY web tools or frontpage, or just have absolutely no idea how to create a page. But I agree with the above posters, that this is nothing more then a publicity stunt by Opera. Everyone loves to jump on the ‘hate microsoft’ band wagon, but the irony is that mac is becoming even more monopolized then MS every year. They no longer offer the IE browser, just safari (you can’t even install IE anymore) even though they make sure to offer a MS version of Safari.

    You can’t expect MS to bundle competitors browsers in their package, or to NOT install their own browser in their OS install. Anyone that knows about opera, or Firefox for that matter can simply do a google search and download and install the software. A company should not be forced to market their competitors browser (and that is what it comes down to with Opera, they want to establish themselves as one of the big boys, and Microsoft isn’t giving it to them.

    If Opera was offered as a secondary browser install with the MS OS, then their profit share would skyrocket, and they would be playing with the big boys. I get analytics on all of the sites I manage, and literally 96% of the viewers are IE, maybe 3% are in Firefox and if they are lucky 1% goes to Opera. I mean this is no different then if Ubuntu sued MS, because they do not offer a dual boot with all of their installs. Each OS has the tools that they offer natively, they really shouldn’t be made to support competitors.

    Just one last point to my rant..that is CMS systems. If you install any CMS like WordPress, Typo3 or the majority of the other packages that people wish to have their website or blog created with, they can’t even properly edit their site. 90% of the utilities that come with the packages don’t even work in FF or Opera. Now these packages may not be 100% compliant, but they are well known and most people ask for them (well maybe not Typo3 but I despise Joomla). So what are we suppose to tell our client (that knows absolutely nothing about web compliance)

    “oh, I am sorry but your site you just paid $1000s for won’t function the way it should because it is not strictly compliant by every little standard”

    No…You get what they want working. I know that this really doesn’t have anything to do with the post, but that is a real world standard. So what are they going to do? They are going to use IE where everything works the way it should (basically because it isn’t as strict). Honestly I wish one of the browsers would just win the damn war, so we would just have to deal with one browser. I don’t really care if it is a monopoly.

  • Jeremy

    Just wanted to clarify something on my comment. I didn’t mean everything works the way it should in IE, I meant in regards to the CMS installs. I am quite aware that IE is a sloppy browser.

  • http://www.pixelsoul.net pixelsoul

    Everyone loves to jump on the ‘hate microsoft’ band wagon, but the irony is that mac is becoming even more monopolized then MS every year. They no longer offer the IE browser, just safari (you can’t even install IE anymore) even though they make sure to offer a MS version of Safari.

    Ummm lol.. you do know that IE for the Mac is also developed by microsoft and that after 5.5 it never was developed any further? That is MS fault not Apple.. also in this case Apple does not have a monopoly position on the market, if there was a healthy competition then it would not matter what OS ships what…

    If you install any CMS like WordPress, Typo3 or the majority of the other packages that people wish to have their website or blog created with, they can’t even properly edit their site. 90% of the utilities that come with the packages don’t even work in FF or Opera.

    I think you have never worked with WordPress cause with me 100% of the functions work in Firefox :) it’s a nonsense statement you are making.

  • loquacity

    In any case, attempting to shoehorn your way into market share by legal fiat is really a bad thing. Make a better browser rather than get a judge to force it upon users Opera.

    Opera and Firefox ARE better browsers.

    However so much web infrastructure has incorporated proprietary (and buggy) MS code that it is impossible to code for it.

    MS stifles competition by non-compliance with open and accepted standards. This in effect creates a proprietary MS standard that supports the MS business model and products while not supporting open standards. This is their way hanging on to market-share.

    What can you say about a mega-corp that does what is good for itself at the expense of it’s customers?

  • israelisassi

    What can you say about a mega-corp that does what is good for itself at the expense of it’s customers?

    Kind of sounds like a government…

  • Garrard

    “Should browser makers be legally required to support web standards, whether they have the programming resources to devote to doing so or not?”

    Given the circumstances, this question (meaning no disrespect) is absurd. We’re talking about Microsoft, which has more money than all the of other browser makers combined, to the odd exponent. Other browsers toe the W3C standard far more closely and consistently than Microsoft.

    That said, yes. Especially given the circumstances, which prove that other browser developers, even and espeically those with precious few resources ($$), seem to find little difficulty in hewing the line.

    Loquacity summarized it neatly: “MS stifles competition by non-compliance with open and accepted standards. This in effect creates a proprietary MS standard that supports the MS business model and products while not supporting open standards. This is their way [of] hanging on to market-share.”

    Israelisassi’s remark struck me as on point.

    Fie to MS, she cries, lamenting the fact that she does so from an MS machine.

  • coolmanlg

    I think we are all missing something here….the OEMS! What should be done is to ask the OEMS to install alternative browsers just like DELL chooses to install gooldesktop as its default search tool. Asking MS to do that will be a very tall order.

  • israelisassi

    I’m as interested/concerned with Opera browser as I am with Betamax… or for that matter VHS these days…

  • VinciSniper

    I really don’t think MS should be forced to pre-install or bundle anything. If you want to use another browser or media player, then go ahead and install it yourself. I only use Firefox of my Windows XP machine.

    Ff we really want a cause to champion, then somebody needs to talk to Adobe about Making their Creative Suite, and other software work on Linux.

  • Frank Daley

    loquacity has honed in to one of the key problems:

    MS stifles competition by non-compliance with open and accepted standards. This in effect creates a proprietary MS standard that supports the MS business model and products while not supporting open standards. This is their way hanging on to market-share.

    This is a classical warfare tactic by Microsoft. Microsoft is deliberately creating non-standard features within IE, and not supporting agreed industry standards (including standards it has actually promoted within the standards bodies) and is working to have as many web sites as possible implement non-standard IE features, thereby stifling competition.

    Microsoft’s continued anti-competitive actions must be addressed at all levels. What Opera is doing is simply utilizing one of the many options that need to be pursued to seek a level playing field in which Microsoft cannot use its massive market share as a weapon against competition.

    Thank you Opera for having the guts to take on a corporation that has time and again shown its only goal is to lock out competition.

  • agnomonus

    Sounds to me like Opera and the EU is trying to run Microsoft’s business. I say let Microsoft do what it wants and if the consumer doesn’t like it let them run Opera’s OS, oh yeah, they don’t have one. I don’t know what the beef is. It would be one thing if Microsoft made it so you couldn’t run another browser on Windows. That’s not the case. I have IE 7, Firfox 2xxxxx, Safari for Windows, Netscape something, and Opera whatever all running on my machines. I can do whatever I want. Microsoft can do whatever they want. And Opera – well Opera obviously wants us all to do what they want. And as for standards – I kind of like the way IE doesn’t implement standards. Go figure.

  • http://www.studiokdd.com/ kdd

    the way i see it is that web designers and developers can have a tremendous impact on how microsoft responds to the pressure we can generate.

    you have a client, you get your client to use opera or firefox or safari and screw coding for internet explorer. with your client using an alternative browser they will see their web site as designed with standards (actually recommendations).

    now the client starts getting emails from people using internet explorer. the client’s help desk can recommend a browser alternative and the visitor is happy. some visitors will let you know if something doesn’t look right or they will just accept the fact that things look weird and proceed on.

    designers who use wysiwyg editors and know nothing about html will still be microsoft compliant. as soon as designers get away from dreamweaver and other wysiwyg editors and learn how to code the more power designers and developers have in turning the tide.

    somebody’s got to start the ball rolling and i’m in. i don’t care if internet explorer breaks my pages, but i know it doesn’t by the way i code.

    maybe eric meyer is correct about this being bad timing. but i’ll say it again, you the designer/developer can have more impact on what microsoft does with making internet explorer more standards compliant than any court can.

    code for firefox. code for opera. code for safari. code for konqueror (sp?). let, rather, make microsoft play catch up by having their pages break. it’s all up to you. there are other developers and designers who have already stopped coding for internet explorer. i for another have stopped.

    when will you?

    dwain alford
    winfield, alabama
    member ~ web standards group

  • http://www.sitepoint.com/ Kevin Yank

    @Frank Daley:

    Microsoft is deliberately creating non-standard features within IE, and not supporting agreed industry standards (including standards it has actually promoted within the standards bodies) and is working to have as many web sites as possible implement non-standard IE features, thereby stifling competition.

    This seems like an outdated view to me. Can you give any recent (say, in the last 5 years) example of this?

  • P D Bishop

    Microsoft IE should support web standards to the full. Why? Quite simply it would be professional for them to do so. Web standards have been around long enough for all companies to adapt. Good luck to Opera for forcing the issue.

  • http://www.waterfallweb.net/ RockyShark

    @kdd:

    you have a client, you get your client to use opera or firefox or safari and screw coding for internet explorer. with your client using an alternative browser they will see their web site as designed with standards (actually recommendations).

    now the client starts getting emails from people using internet explorer. the client’s help desk can recommend a browser alternative and the visitor is happy. some visitors will let you know if something doesn’t look right or they will just accept the fact that things look weird and proceed on.

    Wow – your clients must be extremely patient and understanding! I don’t mean to start a flame war, but that will never work. Bottom line: clients don’t give a rats about web standards.

    I also recall little buttons that used to appear on websites: “Best viewed with Netscape”, “Best Viewed with Internet Explorer”. I am not going back to that.

  • ExPom

    And if Opera win, we’ll have the same fiasco we had with media player where millions of euros were wasted to achieve a moral victory.

    My guess is Opera are looking over the horizon to a day when IE is near 100% compliant and I think that will be far sooner then people think (MS aren’t entirely stupid [ok vista marrs my argument here, but...]and have a lot of spare coders around). What happens then? What reason can you put forward to use any other browser, or get it unbundled? Opera are trying to bureaucratise their way into the market share before it’s too late!

  • Richard Quadling

    The biggest issue for a one-man-band developer is that once you obey the standards as defined by W3C, you then have to spend weeks actually getting the pages to work in IE.

    I primarily build and test for Firefox with Firebug. This works great for me.

    But when things are what they should be in IE, I have no easy tools to find out what is going on.

    IE really is just a user’s tool. It is not a developers tool.

    It isn’t a toy/playground.

    If Microsoft obeyed the spirit and letter of the standards (when there is doubt, go with the spirit, but be prepared to change), then all the developers would be a LOT happy. I think more people would be happy to try a different browser, knowing it works the same as IE (I think that’s the main issue here, IE works differently to the other browsers).

    Richard.

  • spired

    IE bundled with Windows is a god send.

    I turned on my new windows machine, opened IE, went to Mozilla, downloaded FireFox, installed it, set it as my new default browser and have never used IE since. If IE were not bundled with Windows life would have been that little more complicated!

    For once I’m on Microsoft’s side.

  • lookingglass

    I am merely a user. I have been since the dawn of the PC, so I have watched this cold war of the IT world develop. I have always hoped it would get better but it hasn’t, and maybe, like the end of the real Cold War only a combination of people’s revolt and economic collapse will bring the wall down.

    The first problem with all wars is that both sides have right on their side. The second is that each fails to see that. The third that they can’t act on their own with this knowledge.

    The approach to standards is probably seeking to be far too involved and detailed. From my experience, on one side, an army of 60’s refugees is seeking to impose a utopia, rather than merely to compete or oil the wheels of commerce and consumer choice. On the other side, is commerce, faceless and careless, simply a part of the engine of our economies. The funding of one army is clear, but of the other, opaque. Microsoft, Nokia and Apple hold and protect virtual monopolies, and the finance flows. Somehow the “alternative” army is big enough and well resourced enough to take on the biggest global corporations there are.

    The monopolies of IT are different in scope and form to those that have existed before. Existing legislative forms have not been able to respond appropriately. Our legal systems are essentially national and based upon the defence of real property. Governments, unable and unwilling to combat them, have become complicit with them. The UK and other Eurpopean governments have sold monopolistic positions as a way of raising tax revenue from their populations.

    As a user I am sick to death of the confusion between “standards” and “functions”. I am also sick to death of “free” bundling! Both are slowing down development, and exploitation of the technologies to a snail’s pace. Yes things have gone a long way, but they should have been ten times or a hundred times further along.

    W3C needs a clear vision about what it is, what it isn’t, and why. Currently it seems having delusions of grandeur while being a simple lapdog of the global corporations. Somehow it still clings to its fig leaf, seeing itself as some sort of visionary leader with the world hanging on each syllable it utters. Its history shows why this is, but it needs to wake up and smell what its sitting in. They need to look at the de facto standards in all the other fields that make up our world for models and beacons.

    I don’t see any merit in discussing Opera’s motivation for the legal case it has filed. It is unknowable. The only thing that matters is that Opera has acted. It has done something real!

    The vast majority of this nonsensical and unreal debate about HTML standards is simply the impotent moaning of footsoldiers whingeing about pay and conditions! Sorry guys.

    We, the users, NEED standards, but the minimum, simplest, most elementary standards that can create an integrated future, to prevent waste and increase utility. These need to be agreed and implemented.

    Such an agreement on standards needs to be between all the parties. That includes governments, business organisations etc etc. The ONLY future for standards is to forge a new playing field out of the current Wild West. As with the real Wild West, the only losers are ordinary people. We are paying for services we do not need, for bloated systems, for crashes and failures, for never ending learning curves leading almost nowhere. We are froced to use computers because we can see so clearly that they MUST be beneficial. The reality is that the cost of PC crashes ALONE, to small and medium sized businesses in the UK has been estimated at £10 BILLION a year!!!

    The creation of standards now is a massive undertaking that a body like W3C just isn’t up to. In the beginning it was a simple technical matter, but IT is now a component of the real world. So W3C needs either to be reconstituted, or completely abandoned and an entirely new body created.

    We need people with the right skill set at its centre, not technical whizzes even if they also run big businesses. We NEED the skills of lawyers and politicians at its centre not simply well meaning amateurs, because we are NOT talking about IT. We are talking about laws, international agreements, consumer protection, and global economics. Like it or loathe it, IT is only virtual in a technical sense. It is not an alternative reality. Cut the electricity off and you’ll get the message.

    The argument over HTML is simply a minor, distracting skirmish in a real war over territory that all of us are becoming more and more contained within. We all need the IT world to step out of its 60’s haze. IT needs to get out more! We need IT to become part of a future we will want to be part of, not for IT to become our master, well-meaning or otherwise.

    So there! ;)

  • http://www.techxpertssolutions.com Techxperts

    Seems like a weak tactic by Opera. I’m definitely not the biggest fan of the Microsoft-bully, but c’mon, it’s not like a user can’t simply install and use the browser of their choice … MS shouldn’t be required to pre-package competitors browsers into MS O/S.

    On the other hand, I feel that the Web Development community at large should file a class-action complaint against MS for its lack of standards-compliance in IE.

  • Hame

    I had a virus attach itself to IE6 rendering it corrupt. I then attempted to uninstall IE6 via Windows XP control panel add/remove programs. Problem was MS has not provided that option. I believe this feature (lack of) is deliberate. I had to re-install Windows to fix it!! It would be nice if MS treated IE like any other app, after all, current best practise is all about losely coupled techniques is’nt it? I don’t see IE as a core component of the Windows kernel, so why can’t I uninstall it?

  • http://www.custom-toolbars.com milette

    No company should be forced by government to act as a distributor for another company’s products. Period.

    This applies to anything — not just software.

    Microsoft provides everything a user needs in their bundles, and they’ve bent over backwards to make it EASY for a user to swap-out whatever they want. I see no problem here.

    If Microsoft is forced to include ONE application — then it would follow that they would be forced to include ALL applications from any vendor who asked.

    As a result, Microsoft would have to ship a whole box of DVDs with every system — and then these pissy vendors would be crying and complaining when Microsoft didn’t ship the latest versions or if there were any incompatibilities whatsoever.

    This kind of wrong thinking by Opera (or any other vendor) needs to be stopped right in its tracks before it crushes the ability for ANY vendor to deliver a product without being forced to distribute their competitor’s products as well.

    Madness.

  • israelisassi

    I believe one of the most effective ways to stiffle innovation is to make everyone exactly the same. The W3C states on their web site that they provide guidelines. That doesn’t mean everyone should follow their guidelines 100%.

    Competition – you can’t have any if everyone is an exact clone of everyone else on the field.

  • http://www.manatrance.com Mana Trance

    It seems to me that what Opera is really doing is attempting to use an old marketing tactic – any publicity is good publicity – to boost their visibility. That it might aid their market share to take Microsoft down a notch is just a bonus for them.

    Personally, I think the war between standards and proprietary function is a little silly. The point of the Web is, ultimately, to provide information. Everything else is just bells and whistles. Doesn’t the way the message is sent depend on who the speaker is talking to? In other words…does it really matter whether we use web standards or proprietary code, as long as the message is delivered and absorbed successfully?

  • Anonymous

    As said above, if MS don’t adopt today’s standards and add the required modifications, some websites deveoped for other browsers may not function correctly in IE. The exact opposite can also conclude with the same result of not functioning properly. So yes it is painstakingly clear that if we all used one browser, with one offical standard way of working etc the problems would vanish overnight on some fronts. Leaving the older built websites needing modified to meet todays standard etc..

    That’s as simple as it can be.. But surely we are forgeting that some of those ‘older websites’ are also as mentioned above, extremely important business applications that can’t be messed with just to please a minority group (no offence). Unless people are prepared to put out money for re-development of their hobby website, business applications or whatever what Opera are suggesting is an almost impossible task that is going to leave a lot of people staying on older versions of IE anyway.

    So to conclude.. good idea in theory, but just take an hour of your time to read all the comments posted here, fight the urge to instantly dismiss comments you disagree with, and think about all angles. Think about what is being asked here and think about what it would involve. Wouldn’t it be a lot better to admit it’s not something that can change overnight or will be welcomed in the end when it causes so many sites to display incorrectly.

  • Peter the Programmer

    There is absolutely no question that Microsoft IS monopolizing the browser market by failing to conform to browser standards. The most stunningly clear example is their decision to revert to a completely non-compliant engine to display html email in outlook 2007.

    Sadly, the end user doesn’t give a rat’s behind about standards compliance – all they care about is the content and if it looks good that’s a bonus. Clients and developers are the people who suffer – now we have to design for a dozen browsers. Sure, as a developer we may get paid for it – but what about those of us who want to create our own web businesses? What about the clients who have to fork out thousands to accommodate this blistering incompetence? Besides, this is about way more than money. Every second that I spend making a compliant product compatible with one of Microsoft’s archaic products is a complete and utter waste of my time. I don’t expect that most people fall into this category, but some of us actually have a desire to do *USEFUL* things with our lives. Microsoft is single-handedly wasting humanity’s intellectual resources by undermining our efforts. I consider this to be grossly irresponsible.

    So what is the responsibility of the law? Of course, it is absolutely ridiculous to insist that Microsoft include other software with Windows. However, I believe that it is entirely valid to insist that they allow other companies to remain competitive by conforming to a single published standard – *in this case*. The point is that by intentionally failing to conform they are ambushing their competition. This is only because they have a dominant market share, and therefore are in a position to influence their competition’s value by undermining their functionality – and no matter how you feel about it, this strategy is illegal. Watch while they lose the compliance case – I’m going to grab some popcorn.

  • Lee

    This isn’t about punishing MS, not that anyone suggested that this is the case, however lets treat it as a punishment for a second.. Who then will be the real people being punished? Not MS I can assure you of that. It’ll be the millions of people that have had developers/designers that are a bit lazy (not all developers and designers I’ll add) and opting to go with the MS flow that’s going to end up with websites needing modified. Which put the same lazy developers/designers in the position to benifit in a MASSIVE way! Think of all those websites needing modified.

    That’s what I believe the real issue is here. Do you think that the standards are out of MS’s capability to adhere to? Obviously not, it would take very little time and expense to change the standards related issues surely.. so that makes me wonder is it clearly not the impact that this would have on the internet

  • TechiMi

    I’m not sure if Opera has a valid reason to sue, though the fact the IE once used to be able to be uninstalled, and is now tied to the operating system, could give them one. That being said, if I don’t want to use IE, I don’t. However, when I started Web Designing a few years back, I realized just how annoying trying to be all-browser compliant and standards compliant can be. While maybe we oughtn’t be able to force browsers to be standards compliant, I think they’re honor-bound to try. Standards were set up for a reason, and designers are going to use them, and end-users get the best results when they’re followed correctly. Sure, if all browsers rendered the same way, you might not have reasons to switch. Or you still might, it just wouldn’t be because of any kind of huge failing on one browser’s part.

    I’ve had users in my library get angry at me and my machines when Hotmail has hung up their session and not allowed them to print. But the bottom line is that happens because they’re not using the new version, written in code that can function outside of IE.

    To reach the most people, we need to be able to span browsers, and for one reason or another, a lot of people still write mainly for one. Their browser of choice. If that issue is going to go away, browsers of choice need to be a choice of preference, not a choice of function.

  • Rudolf B

    This is your first time browsing the Web on Windows. For your convenience, Microsoft has included Internet Explorer – our very own Web browser – in Windows. But if you prefer, you can install a different browser and use that instead. Here are a few alternatives.

    Exactly my idea. Far better then to dump a load of browsers on your system without asking. The problem then is of course, which browsers should be included. Who would decide that?

    I agree that it would be better if Microsoft complied to standards, BUT there is such a thing as intellectual freedom and thanks to that freedom we are no longer obliged to use the web safe colors for instance, which must have been invented by color blind accountants :-)
    Let’s not forget that by breaking away from standards produces new ideas and inventions.
    I would like to be able to create software in the way I like it, so forcing vendors to comply would be a bad idea.

    Furthermore, I am not convinced by the arguments the Opera spokesman, I think this is indeed a media stunt to get some hard needed attention.
    I haste to say that I’m neither pro MS, Apple or Linux, I use them all.

  • http://www.wifigator.com/ lorenw

    Opera’s argument is kind of lame.

    If you buy a car you will find you are stuck with the wheels, radio and floormats from various manufaturers that the auto company uses. They would not sell a car without a radio or wheels as it would be more work to remove it and many people are happy with it.

    I look at an os in a similar way. If you are not happy with the stock browser, just download what you want and browsers are free. Try em all, if you dont like ie, dont use it.

    My 2c

  • Ronnie

    I mean this is no different then if Ubuntu sued MS, because they do not offer a dual boot with all of their installs.

    Sorry but this analogy is a complete non-sense. Your site visitors want to see a site that works with their browser of choice, so you MUST follow standards to fullfil this requirement. Whatever os they boot is none of your (or mine) business. Total portability, accesibility and ubiquity should be the main features of web-applications. This is why HTML was invented. One of the reasons coz they are not sometimes is because the default browser of the most used os sucks big time when it comes to adhere to standards. What in reality happens is that you have to waste a lot of your developing time throwing around horrible hacks (or accept a broken site for some of your users). Needless to say I know better ways to spend my times rather than writing redudant code. And what puzzles me even more is all those VB extra-features that lurk inside IE. What the hell are they doing there if I can’t use them (same goes for XUL on Firefox)? Unless this stupid browser war doesn’t end the so-called Web 2.0 will remain the big bullshit it is now. Standards are IMPORTANT. Still rofling for what you just said.

  • langsor

    As much as I have issues with IE, as a full time web developer, I have to say that the courts should not be the medium to en-force MS to design a better browser. Likewise, where does that leave browser developers without MS’s resources–what precedent is being set here?

    IE should be forced to be standards compliant, but it should be based on education and market demand, not court order…otherwise there is no real justice served.

    About bundled software or software alternative…compare this to the automotive industry…this is NOT like saying all cars must have seat belts, airbags, or emissions control; this is like all cars must have a choice of stereo and upholstery, and someone else gets to tell the manufacturer that the stereo must play CDs and the upholstery must be stain-resistant…ridiculous.

    Again, this is about the consumer public becoming more technologically savvy…and will happen naturally over time and evolution of that technology. Until then…

  • dkeesler

    Opera makers are grasping at straws here. There are no anti-trust issues here, and everyone knows that. Whether your software supports standards, in full or in part, can not (and should not) be legislated, as long as consumers have a legitimate choice — and we do. We can run any browser we want on the Windows platform. You can set Firefox as your default browser, and neither Windows nor IE complains about that fact. The real issue is that IE, NS & FF are the big three and NS & FF are basically twins now — and, of course Google is now behind Firefox, so Opera is left odd man out. I think Opera is buying a lottery ticket on the chance that they can force MS to bundle Opera in the Windows product, and of course get some valuable publicity in the process. It’s a pipe dream. Opera’s best chance of success is probably to scale down and focus on the mobile/PDA market, or some other niche market.

    Here’s the irony. I have Opera installed, but never fire it up. Why? Because it’s built on the same engine as NS & FF. You only need to test pages in IE & FF. If it works in FF it will work in Opera. Maybe Opera should take a page out of IE’s playbook and get noticed by supporting some technology, or building in a technology that other browsers don’t have or don’t support very well (audio, video, etc.) But if you are the SAME as everyone one else, where will you get your competitive edge? I guess sue the competition and ask the courts to give you a free pass?

  • chrisdavidmills

    Hi – Chris from Opera here again. I thought I’d just clear up some confusion, as there is obviously a lot of confusion about our complaint.

    Here’s the irony. I have Opera installed, but never fire it up. Why? Because it’s built on the same engine as NS & FF. You only need to test pages in IE & FF. If it works in FF it will work in Opera.

    This is incorrect. FF and NS are based on the Gecko engine, wheras Opera is based on our own Opera rendering engine.

    I guess sue the competition and ask the courts to give you a free pass?

    I’ve said this a million times on forum comments, and here it is again – WE ARE NOT SUING ANYONE. WE ARE MERELY MAKING A COMPLAINT TO THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION TO INVESTIGATE MS’S PRACTICES. THERE ARE NO COURTS INVOLVED. WE ARE NOT MAKING ANY MONEY OUT OF THIS. WE ARE DOING THIS PURELY TO TRY TO GET MORE CONSISTENT SUPPORT FOR WEB STANDARDS ACROSS THE WEB, TO MAKE EVERYONE’S LIVES EASIER.

    Maybe Opera should take a page out of IE’s playbook and get noticed by supporting some technology, or building in a technology that other browsers don’t have or don’t support very well (audio, video, etc.) But if you are the SAME as everyone one else, where will you get your competitive edge?

    I thought I’d deal with this comment last – this further highlights why we are not doing for self-serving, personal gain reasons. This kind of action is the exact type of action that ruins the internet, and is the sort of action that MS have frequently done over the years. We would love for every browser to support the standards the same, so that every web user can use the web on every device, regardless of disability, web implementation technology, OS etc etc yadda yadda.

    There is evidence to suggest that MS is currently inhibiting the process of certain standards (such as ECMAScript 4), while at the same time pushing their own proprietary technologies, such as Silverlight – if Silverlight gained a significant market share on the web, this would just mean a further block to open standards, as it would only work on IE. This would damage FF as well as Opera, and would surely not be good for the Web. Surely you must see that?

    Oh, and BTW, I’ve just the read the news that IE8 passes the Acid 2 test – this is fantastic news, as it means MS are actually listening to the community, and to other browser vendors, and that we are starting to get what we want.

  • chrisdavidmills

    I believe one of the most effective ways to stiffle innovation is to make everyone exactly the same. The W3C states on their web site that they provide guidelines. That doesn’t mean everyone should follow their guidelines 100%.

    Competition – you can’t have any if everyone is an exact clone of everyone else on the field.

    Agreed, but this is not what we are trying to achieve. Even if every browser had completely identical support for current standards, there would still be all the different browsing features to choose from, and factors to consider such as speed, availability of developer tools (Opera is bringing out some great new developer tools next year, so watch this space,) and support for experimental new technologies such as CSS3, SVG video and 3D Canvas, for developers to start playing with.

  • ExPom

    Ok, so it’s early days and IE8 isn’t actually available yet, but will Opera be dropping it’s anti trust complaint with the EC now that MS can pass ACID2?

  • israelisassi

    and support for experimental new technologies such as CSS3, SVG video and 3D Canvas, for developers to start playing with

    Oddly enough, I don’t have any paying customers who are intersted experimental technology. I don’t mean that to sound disrepectful, just to point out the disconnect between engineers and consumers.

  • Conrad Pafford

    Absolutely, positively without a doubt it is Microsoft trying to mess with the distribution of other browsers. Opera is RIGHT! I am a web designer and for the most part many designers attempt to construct their web pages to work effectively with the most commonly used browser. Microsoft’s day is coming, too bad there is not much that we can do about the wealth that Bill Gates has accumulated already by selling “air” and things that should not be able to be copyrighted like the math and words it takes to create a program. Long live open source! Long Live LINUX!

  • Anonymous

    Competition – you can’t have any if everyone is an exact clone of everyone else on the field.

    Oh god. Making your div tag or the text-align property work the f… way it is described in the W3C papers has nothing to do with competition. It is about making things work the f… way they are expected. Imagine a complex multi-levelled application with multiple developers, you need a public, common and agreed interface to access its services and its internals. If one developer finds a way to make the interface work better, this is fine. But the interface has to be agreed again and eventually modified. If you don’t follow this procedure you are talking about mess. In short you are talking about the internet and the so-called Web 2.0 as they are now.

  • http://www.simplidsign.co.uk gap_tooth_clan

    Microsoft as a world leader in software development and Internet Explorer as the prodominent browser of choice, should really be leading the way for development into the future.

    For my company IE is definetely a hold up to the development process. The general web design process for us is: Make things look good in Firefox the spend the next week sorting things out for IE6 and IE7.

    IE is an inferior product in my eyes as a developer, as it creates so many issues. If developers controlled what browser end users would own, IE would fade into obscurity or Microsoft would have resolved these issues already.

    Most IE users never experience any problems with the browser because of the extra hard work of developers accross the world. So the real victim is the web developer, spending extra time and effort for IE becomes an extra physical cost.

    I dont believe this to be an ethical or fair way of conducting business. Is there anyway to hold Microsoft responsible for extra costs my company has incurred?

    In my experience open source is a much better model for creating software. Problems are logged and then the problems are resolved. Where as the Microsoft model tends to be, listen for years about peoples issues with IE6 and then ignore the majority of those issues in favor of new features.

    I am not a microsoft hater nor am i against windows being released with its own proprietory software (I cannot imagine users complaining if microsoft office was bundled for free, although i am sure there would be some law suits) I am just looking at the problem objectively. Microsoft should be listening to the people who create sites to be viewed on their software and listen to how they can make the product easier to use and develop for.

  • Anonymous

    IE is an inferior product in my eyes as a developer

    ..and as developer I am a customer too. I don’t give a f.. f.. if Mr John Newbie doesn’t care about making his dad’s grocery-shop site cross-browser.

  • israelisassi

    The children have arrived.. time for me to go…

  • http://www.custom-toolbars.com milette

    More FUD…

    if Silverlight gained a significant market share on the web, this would just mean a further block to open standards, as it would only work on IE.

    I guees the author of this bit of FUD hasn’t read about Silverlight support and development for both the Macintosh and Linux platform?

    There is a very simple logic about how Microsoft deals with all these so-called ‘standards’ — that is, to take and use what works for them, and to EXTEND them to suit their purposes.

    Standards should be in place to serve as a ‘baseline’ for compatibility, but not to restrict development of NEWER and BETTER standards.

    Most of the people who bitch about ActiveX have no idea what it is, or what it was designed to do. It is only unfortunate that so many evil people twisted this very cool and incredibly powerful technology for the wrong purposes.

    Another small point that most of the so-called ‘expert’ anti-Microsoft people seem to forget is that if it weren’t for Microsoft, they would HAVE NO WORK AT ALL because 90%+ of desktop and home systems simply wouldn’t exist. (Or at the very least, would be a decade behind where they are now.)

    Look long and hard what development system YOU have been using for the last 15 years. Be honest with yourself if nobody else — it was NOT Linux or OSS-based.

    (Oh, I forgot — probably 99% of the anti-Microsoft whiners reading this haven’t even known what a computer was for that long — oh well…)

    Now that IE has passed the test, I’m sure the whining won’t stop, but at least maybe we can get a break from the browser side.

  • Anonymous

    Look long and hard what development system YOU have been using for the last 15 years.

    I’m an MS (also) this is why I complain. People complain about the software they use. It is how industry works.

    Now that IE has passed the test, I’m sure the whining won’t stop, but at least maybe we can get a break from the browser side.

    IE8 is not out yet in case you didn’t notice. And it will take years before the previous crappy releases will disappear. When the damage done will stop, whining will
    stop. Anyway I can’t imagine who is not happy with MS finally taking standards into consideration. Point is some people like you continue to say standars are not important (at best) even now that the biggest player does. Once again innovation has nothing to do with implementing standards poorly. You are completly out of target.

  • http://www.dangrossman.info Dan Grossman

    The W3C standards are un-implementable recommendations, not laws. Nobody is forced to follow them, especially at the expense of their own users, just because Opera says so. I’ve uninstalled Opera on two machines because of this move. They’re being bullies, not looking out for anyone but themselves here.

  • Ronnie

    Nobody is forced to follow them, especially at the expense of their own users, just because Opera says so.

    I doubt very much MS made IE8 standard compliant because Opera told them to. Could it take a couple of days to do? They did because they thought it was time to do. Some people really don’t know what they talk about.

    I’ve uninstalled Opera on two machines because of this move.

    Well it is your right. If you think that helps. Chances are that if you now test your sites with IE8 they will be ok for your Opera users as well (without horrible hacks, see the advantage of following standards)

  • Anonymous

    The Microsoft IE issue is a continuous bane for web developers. IE is designed to elude the standards compliance so many other browsers strive to attain – it is not a coincidence that IE just doesn’t measure up. This is typical of a monopolistic company that owns over 90% of any market (the desktop computer market in this case) – elude standards just enough to urge developers to comply not to agreed upon standards, but to their standards.

    I agree that MS should include, at the very least, an option to disable IE. How much malware infects computers because of IE and the close tie to the OS? ActiveX, while allowing cool features, is a portal to the windows ‘kernal’.

    It would be reasonable for the EU and America to require MS to bundle multiple browsers with their OS so there are pre-installed options for the less technically inclined users. A market share level can be used to determine which browsers to include. That would require FireFox and possibly Opera to be included out of the box.

    Apple, with

  • jonas-e

    Some of you argue that it wouldn’t make sence for MS not to promote their own browser – or it doesn’t make sence that Opera says “we wanna complain that our competitor is not as good as we are”.

    The point is of course, that MS has a de-facto monopoly on workstation OS – giving them an unfair advantage to promote their own software. Futhermore, MS wants to define the web standards instead of W3C in order to gain monopoly of the web – just as they have achieved monopoly on workstation OS.

    But as redux says, there must be a first-time browser installed so you can go online and download the others. And in some cases – e.g. Windows Update, you need the ActiveX functionality of IE.

    I agree with Kevin Yanks – MS should have a first-time-on-the-web dialogue allowing you to read about and choose the alternative.