Feeds

The Browser Wars are back: Opera smacks MSN

Think Personal

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Opera Software has rebuffed Microsoft's ever-shifting explanations of why the upstart browser found itself blocked from the MSN website.

Microsoft originally blocked Opera access, then enabled it after stories in The Register - widely followed-up elsewhere - highlighted the Redmond-spun incompatibilities.

Microsoft offered a series of excuses for blocking the alt.browser, originally claiming that Opera didn't support XHTML, which turned out to be wrong, before conceding that its programmers explicitly looked for and blocked the identification strings that Opera sends to web sites in a typical HTTP connection sequence.

"Unfortunately their marketers continue to spread inaccuracies, and has yet to fulfill its public promise to open its portal to all Internet users," says Opera Software in a statement.

There's a nice irony to this.

Key web developer Hakon Lie, who developed the Cascading Style Sheet format for Microsoft, in a brief spell working for The Beast, is now a technical lead for Opera Software.

But more seriously, the stakes are deadly high. Opera has been chosen as the preferred browser by the big mobile phone vendors as they seek to turn the humble voice phone into a ubiquitous data-enabled smartphone: Symbian, which is essentially the cellphone industry's we-don't-do-Microsoft joint venture, blesses Opera as its browser of choice. (The lion's share of mobile handset operators - Nokia, Ericsson/Sony, Motorola and Matsushita - are Symbian shareholders, and practically all of the others are licensees).

With personal smartphones predicted to eclipse PCs in volume in the next few years, and with phones being a piece of very personal technology that penetrates markets far deeper than the more versatile but unwieldy PCs (think: Mom), Microsoft faces an end-run around its PC franchise. The bulk of consumer e-commerce transactions will be conducted on such simple personal communications devices that cost the punter next to nothing. And Bill Gates himself knows it, as his own accounts of meetings with Nokia attest.

So what might seem a trivial skirmish really does prefigure a much deeper industry war. On the day that the DoJ apologized for daring to suggest that the first Browser War showed anti-competitive behaviour, the Browser War Version Two strikes back. And this time it's personal: very personal. ®

Related Stories

New look MSN turns away non-MS lovers
Opera and Mozilla get MSN support
Berners-Lee slams 'blatant' MS browser tactics
Symbian's Myers on Microsoft, antitrust and those memos

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
China hopes home-grown OS will oust Microsoft
Doesn't much like Apple or Google, either
Sin COS to tan Windows? Chinese operating system to debut in autumn – report
Development alliance working on desktop, mobe software
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
Eat up Martha! Microsoft slings handwriting recog into OneNote on Android
Freehand input on non-Windows kit for the first time
Linux kernel devs made to finger their dongles before contributing code
Two-factor auth enabled for Kernel.org repositories
This is how I set about making a fortune with my own startup
Would you leave your well-paid job to chase your dream?
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
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?