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Microsoft fixes QuickTime, but says it didn't break it

But check the small print of the patch posting -- it confirms Tevanian's claims

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In one of life's more bizarre coincidences, Microsoft today denied that it had deliberately broken Apple's QuickTime with Internet Explorer 4.0, said the problems Apple had were because of poor Apple programming and, er, posted a fix for the problem. "Apple's shoot-from-the-hip allegations and their decision to blame their own development mistakes on Microsoft in a court of law is not only wrong, but is harmful to the entire software industry, and more importantly it's harmful to our mutual customers," said Tod Nielsen, general manager of Microsoft's Developer Relations Group, who was not, we believe, saying this inside the court. But the text of Microsoft's post is rather more enlightening. "Mindcraft [which was involved in the fix] examined several cases where QuickTime multimedia plug-ins did not run as expected in Internet Explorer 4.0. The company discovered three root causes for the problems... Version 2.0.1 of Apple's QuickTime Plug-In fails to provide the resources, outlined in Netscape's instructions, that tell Internet Explorer that it can handle files with 'aifc', 'qt' or 'vfw' filename extensions..." A swift look at these "Netscape instructions" reveals that they're an unsupported guide to how you hack the Windows registry. As Apple software VP Avie Tevanian himself said in his testimony, Microsoft doesn't tell you how you do this, so it's revealing that Microsoft uses Netscape for the instructions. The instructions themselves, incidentally, were posted quite recently -- 24 April 1998. When was it Apple had the problem? Problem two is that IE "automatically gives precedence to ActiveX controls [such as ActiveMovie and WindowsMedia player] over plug-ins [such as the QuickTime Plug-In]. This can be overridden by use of the EnablePlugIn registry key, but Apple did not use this override key". Another one of those registry things, right? Tevanian makes the point that Microsoft is using the registry to police and restrict access, Microsoft seems to be confirming it. And for problem three, "Internet Explorer prompts the user either to play or to save audio files referenced using an HREF HTML tag in full-page mode. This means that, in some cases, audio files cannot be launched automatically. This is a feature of Internet Explorer, although users and installation programs can override it. Internet Explorer also gives precedence to ActiveX controls that support progressive download, although this can be overridden". So the Apple's poor programming problems seem to have stemmed from the company not doing workarounds for features introduced in IE 4.0. If they didn't know how to do this, Apple's developers must be very stupid people, right? Decide for yourself. Microsoft says: "Apple's developers wrote the QuickTime installation program incorrectly, ignoring specific directions provided by Netscape." These "instructions" can be found here -- again, judge for yourself. Oh, and Microsoft also says: "As in the Apple case now, RealNetworks created its own problem by incorrectly writing the installation program for its add-in media player, and then blamed it on Microsoft. RealNetworks has since admitted its error and corrected it." Not to our knowledge it hasn't. ® Complete Register trial coverage Click for more stories Click for story index

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