New look MSN turns away non-MS lovers

Brazil site's a pain in the nuts

Updated MSN's new look pilot site, a move to the look and feel of Windows XP, is suffering a few teething problems - some users can't get on it.

Microsoft intends to go live with the design as it launches Windows XP tomorrow, but it's already remade its Brazilian site as we highlighted in yesterday's article.

A number of readers wrote in to advise us of the following happy news when trying to access the site:
Microsoft VBScript runtime error '800a000d'
Type mismatch: '[string: "("]'
/include/browser.asp, line 45

More interesting though is the news that some browsers have been redirected to this link, which displays a notice in Portuguese informing readers (according to the Register's in-house Portuguese expert, Lester Haines) that "your navigator is not compatible" with this site and thus may not work properly. It helpfully directs them to download sites for IE and MSN Explorer (and reminds them that both are free).

The full untranslated text reads as follows, for those who want to see it, although the URL itself is pretty explanatory (www.msn.com.br/global/incompbrowser.asp):

Nota ao usuário:
Infelizmente seu navegador não é compatível com essa versão, ortanto não será possível visualizar todo o conteúdo que disponibilizamos especialmente para você. Para ver corretamente o novo portal MSN, baixe agora a versão mais recente do Internet Explorer ou o novo MSN Explorer. É grátis!

Se você acha que recebeu essa mensagem por engano, por favor confirme que seu navegador possui capacidade de visualização instalada. (No Internet Explorer, acesso pelo menu Visualizar | Opções).

So what's the deal? Which browsers are compatible and which have been sentenced to life without MSN? So far, it seems that Netscape 4.x is barred, while Mozilla and Opera 5 seem to be okay - Opera on Windows, not Linux, that is. Staff at the Reg accessed the site with both Netscape 6 and Opera 5 (on Windows).

Other readers have kindly pointed out other sites using the new MSN look and feel (although we're not sure what browsers will be able to see them). There is a beta site available, while another reader pointed out a Canadian MSN eShop site featuring similar flashy XP-like colouring. (Also seen on this site is a link to FutureShop, which recently ran a fantastic Windows XP "upgrade analysis" deal.)

Browser Access Update

A more comprehensive list of compatible and non-compatible browsers for MSN has been established by Reg readers.

http://beta.msn.com

IE 3 : Upgrade needed
IE 4 : OK
IE 5+ : OK
Netscape 4.x : Upgrade needed*
Netscape 6.x : OK
Mozilla 0.9.5 : Upgrade needed
Opera 5 : Upgrade needed
Konqueror 2.1 : Upgrade needed

* Crashes reported on version 4.61.

http://www.msn.com.br

IE 3 : Upgrade needed
IE 4 : OK
IE 5+ : OK
Netscape 4.x : Upgrade needed
Netscape 6.x : OK
Mozilla 0.9.5 : OK
Opera 5 : ASP error
Konqueror 2.1 : OK

When testing on a Linux platform, Opera, Mozilla, Galeon, Konqueror all failed, only Netscape could view the page (but with incorrect font sizes).

Opera 5 only works if its connection preferences are set to identify itself as either 'MSIE 5.0' or 'Mozilla 5.0', choosing 'Mozilla 4.76' or 'Opera 5' does not. Apparently many of Microsoft's pages have had this issue, although many have been repaired of late. OmniWeb 4.0.5 on Mac OS X.1 also failed to work.

Thanks to Lars Janssen, Michael Reed, Derek Tam, Vincent Giovannone, Aaron Petry and many, many others for their feedback. ®

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