Feeds

Opera chief: Microsoft's IE 8 ‘undermines’ web standards

Silverlight a lesson in openness

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

If Microsoft releases Internet Explorer 8 this week — as expected — then the company will likely be congratulated by many for doing the right thing and finally adding support for web standards to its browser.

For years, Microsoft has gone its own way online with its own IE rendering engine. That's forced web developers to either build one version of their web sites for IE and another for all those other browsers that do implement HTML and CSS in a broadly consistent way or simply to target IE and get to the others later — or never. That's distorted the market.

When IE 8 does arrive, though, whatever standards support it offers isn't going to satisfy the browser company whose complaint over lack of web standards support and bundling of IE with Windows spurred the European Union into investigating Microsoft last year. That case has now attracted the backing of browser competitors Google and Mozilla.

Opera Software chief executive Jon von Tetzchner told The Reg that while Microsoft is headed in the right direction, IE continues to undermine open standards on the web.

The fundamental problem is Microsoft's decision to allow users to continue to view billions of old pages optimized for non-compliant IE 6 and 7 that would otherwise be scrambled in IE 8.

As far as von Tetzchner is concerned, that's not just bad for companies like Opera that must continue wasting time and money simply updating sites built for IE 6 and 7 to work with their browsers. It also means that Microsoft continues to exert undue and damaging influence over the web.

"We want to see there's competition and a referee — to make sure everybody follows the rules and ensure there's competition in the market," von Tetzchner said.

Von Tetzchner has little truck with the dual rendering approach Microsoft's taken on IE, and he clearly believes Microsoft could have leveraged its size to kill the issue once and for all with IE 8.

"Microsoft has a unique position — the fact is, as soon as they have a browser out there they get massive volumes, people are going to code for them. It's only a matter of time. It's a lot more difficult for the competition," he said.

But the company's size and presence has a negative side. Von Tetzchner is worried that after Microsoft's hiatus on browser development in the early 2000s, the company is back in the game and that it can crush the competition by pumping out IE through Windows desktops.

This raises the further risk that the web becomes distorted, as innovation will be dictated at the pace Microsoft chooses to move at and on technologies that it favors. It's noteworthy that while Microsoft has adopted the World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C's) HTML 5 and CSS 2.1 in IE 8, it has not employed Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) that has been employed by Mozilla, Google, and Opera and is also from the W3C stable.

"The risk we are seeing is Microsoft is back and now working on the browser and the fact they didn't work on the browser gave room for the competition… if Microsoft provides a better product you might see a reversal of the trend — it's a dangerous thing for the internet," he said.

SANS - Survey on application security programs

Next page: EU backing

More from The Register

next story
Ubuntu 14.04 LTS: Great changes, but sssh don't mention the...
Why HELLO Amazon! You weren't here last time
Next Windows obsolescence panic is 450 days from … NOW!
The clock is ticking louder for Windows Server 2003 R2 users
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Microsoft TIER SMEAR changes app prices whether devs ask or not
Some go up, some go down, Redmond goes silent
Batten down the hatches, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS due in TWO DAYS
Admins dab straining server brows in advance of Trusty Tahr's long-term support landing
Red Hat to ship RHEL 7 release candidate with a taste of container tech
Grab 'near-final' version of next Enterprise Linux next week
Windows 8.1, which you probably haven't upgraded to yet, ALREADY OBSOLETE
Pre-Update versions of new Windows version will no longer support patches
Inside the Hekaton: SQL Server 2014's database engine deconstructed
Nadella's database sqares the circle of cheap memory vs speed
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.