Feeds

Berners-Lee slams ‘blatant’ MS browser tactics

Good old, bad old days

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Tim Berners-Lee, The father of the World Wide Web and director of the W3C standards organisation, has attacked Microsoft over last week's blocking of people with non-MS browsers from using its MSN.com site.

In an email interview with CNET, Berners-Lee said: "Obviously this was a blatant attempt to use the leverage of some content to produce domination at the software layer."

He continued: "I have fought since the beginning of the Web for its openness: that anyone can read Web pages with any software running on any hardware. This is what makes the Web itself. This is the environment into which so many people have invested so much energy and creativity. When I see any Web site claim to be only readable using particular hardware or software, I cringe - they are pining for the bad old days when each piece of information needed a different program to access it."

Microsoft was widely criticised last week when users of other browsers including Opera, Mozilla and some versions of Netscape were unable to access the redesigned MSN.com site. They were given an error warning and advised to "upgrade" to Microsoft's Internet Explorer.

Microsoft initially blamed other browsers for their failure to comply with W3C standards - which really got people's backs up. Within hours MSN started working again with the other browsers and Microsoft changed its explanation. It was now "an error" and the company "took immediate steps to correct that mistake".

Berners-Lee is not impressed: "Control over a person's desktop and their browser is control over their whole Net-mediated perception of the world out there," he wrote. "It is very powerful."

CNET quotes several people touting alternative browsers who say that traffic and downloads from their sites have rocketed in recent days. You can read the full story here.

Related Stories

Opera and Mozilla get MSN support
New look MSN turns away non-MS lovers

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
Microsoft EU warns: If you have ties to the US, Feds can get your data
European corps can't afford to get complacent while American Big Biz battles Uncle Sam
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.