Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Internet Explorer The Internet Bug Microsoft

Microsoft Wins Browser War, Abandons 'Innovation' 794

Posted by michael
from the freedom-to-stagnate dept.
rocketjam writes "Web developers are expressing frustration with Microsoft's apparent abandonment of its 'operating-system-integrated' Internet Explorer web browser. An article on C-Net points up the efforts of the Web Standards Project as well as Adobe Systems to prompt Microsoft to fix long-standing Cascading Style Sheet bugs in IE as well as continuing to add other improvements which have virtually ceased since Microsoft won the browser war. While alternatives such as the Mozilla Project and the Opera browser still exist, their marketshare is miniscule." In a related story, an anonymous reader points out that the bugs aren't just in rendering, they're security holes as well: "iDefense and eEye have basically said that Internet Explorer is full of holes and just surfing the Web using it is "unsafe". There's 31 un-patched holes in IE, but MS won't talk about it... It took them nearly a month to roll out a new patch after this one was found to be more or less useless."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Microsoft Wins Browser War, Abandons 'Innovation'

Comments Filter:
  • by BrokenHalo (565198) on Thursday October 09, 2003 @10:50AM (#7172112)
    Maybe said developers will start coding more standards-compliant webpages.

    Huh. I wish.

    • by Transient0 (175617) on Thursday October 09, 2003 @10:52AM (#7172147) Homepage
      of course few people are producing fully standards compliant web pages. the reason is that there is little motivation to do so when the browser with the majority of market share won't display them properly.
    • Purists (Score:3, Interesting)

      by NDPTAL85 (260093)
      According to the purists, some effete board such as the W3C sets the standards instead of the market leader Microsoft Corporation (who really sets the standards).

      • Re:Purists (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Published standards are legitimate; anybody can implement them. Nobody but Microsoft can implement Internet Exploiter's soi-disant "standards".
        • by 0x0d0a (568518) on Thursday October 09, 2003 @11:54AM (#7173025) Journal
          The problem with Microsoft is that because they're a monpolist (well, and because Slashdot doesn't like 'em, frequently for good reason), *any* deviation from published standards gets 'em raked through the coals. I doubt Mozilla, Opera, Konq, etc are fully standards-compliant either. Linux certainly isn't -- Linux says "this POSIX standard is broken", and it just gets ignored. The thing is, they don't catch flak for it.

          So while I agree that "embrace and extend" *is* a real tactic that Microsoft has used historically, every time they deviate from a standard, they aren't deliberately out to get folks.

          In good news for Mozilla, once a Microsoft product starts to stagnate, it tends to stay stagnant. So if the Moz people can keep trudging along, AOL or Dell or someone can ship Windows bundled with Mozilla (or Linux just plain catches on on the desktop), they may have a much better shot.

          Microsoft dissolves development teams once a development project is over, and can have a tough time finding people to start up a long-dormant project. The Samba people have said it before in frustration, when they tried tracking down a Microsoft SMB developer to answer a question at a networking conference. There just wasn't anyone left who *knew* how Microsoft's SMB implementation worked. The Samba lead said in frusteration something along the lines that they knew Microsoft's SMB implementation better than anyone left at Microsoft.
    • by kontos (560271) on Thursday October 09, 2003 @10:54AM (#7172180)
      No, their problem is that they have a choice to make: a standards compliant website that doesn't look right in IE, or an IE compliant website that is not standsrds complaint, but looks good to 90 percent of their users.
    • Heck, I would just be happy if they would quit using flash-like crap for vital parts of the web structure. If a table is 1mm off, I'm not going to cry about it.

      Davak
    • Hey Dumbass (Score:5, Insightful)

      by GusCubed (619933) on Thursday October 09, 2003 @11:08AM (#7172386)
      What?

      The developers are complaining that they have to create non-standards compliant websites because 95% of the userbase use a non-standards compliant browser.

      You make it sound like it's the web developer's fault that MicroSoft have produced a crappy browser.

      To belabour the point: developers produce sites that work best with the most widely used browser - if the browser doesn't work in the logical and 'correct' manner, then a lot of time is spent hacking and trial-and-erroring trying to get the effect that the client wants. Clients aren't going to give a sh*t whether their site is fully W3C compliant and looks exactly as it should in Opera, Mozilla, Safari, Konqueror or whatever if it doesn't look as promised in IE
    • by Oddly_Drac (625066) on Thursday October 09, 2003 @11:14AM (#7172471)
      "Maybe said developers will start coding more standards-compliant webpages."

      Actually, I do. The main problem is that the customer throws a fit if the page doesn't display 'correctly' in a browser with the largest market share, which means you end up compromising the stylesheets and markup to please them, usually squeezing your budgets because you're competing with 'HTML 4.01 transitionals'.

      So please don't blame developers; we've been badgering MS on regular occasions to fix their browser to match the recommendations that they helped to write in the first place.

  • by jolyonr (560227) on Thursday October 09, 2003 @10:50AM (#7172118) Homepage
    Wait - Microsoft are going to be the first browser developers to release the new innovative "Do you want to run this plugin? [OK]" pop-up technology! They're way ahead of the game!

    Jolyon
    • by mblase (200735) on Thursday October 09, 2003 @11:13AM (#7172447)
      The crazy thing is, CSS support is the least of IE's complaints. The security holes are a bigger one. Lack of native popup blocking. No tabs (which I've really gotten used to). And I really like Mozilla's integrated bookmark bar and search bar.

      IE is simple (mostly), but there's LOTS of room for improvement. It's no longer the best browser by any measure. Monopolies suck, plain and simple.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 09, 2003 @10:50AM (#7172121)
    this is a classic sign of monopoly. no incentive to change, no incentive to repair, no incentive to improve, no incentive to innovate.
  • No big surprise (Score:3, Insightful)

    by buffer-overflowed (588867) on Thursday October 09, 2003 @10:52AM (#7172139) Journal
    Integrate browser into OS. Continue working on OS, ignore browser.

    Would work fine if the browser wasn't a point of failure for the OS. How do they expect to secure the entire package when pieces of it are so full of holes?

    Just an honest question.

    MS needs to either secure IE, or remove it from their core OS installation (make it an addon) if they're really serious about security IMO.
  • by tcopeland (32225) * <{moc.dnalepoceelsamoht} {ta} {mot}> on Thursday October 09, 2003 @10:53AM (#7172163) Homepage
    ...but "winning" seems to be accurate if the stats at thecounter.com [thecounter.com] and W3Schools [w3schools.com] are at all trustworthy.

    On the other hand, I'm not sure if, in these numbers, "Netscape" includes "Mozilla".

    P.S. This HTTP POST request sent by Mozilla.
    • I, and no doubt many many others, use any browser BUT Internet Explorer. However, there are lots of pages, including banking sites, that refuse to load properly or let you continue, simply because your browser doesn't return MSIE 5 or 6 headers.

      I myself use Opera, or Firebird, but I also have Proxomitron running in between to filter all the crap out before it ever gets to me. Part of this filtering includes sending a fake referrer header to make sites think I am using MSIE, since usually they work just fin
  • Safari (Score:4, Funny)

    by Nexum (516661) on Thursday October 09, 2003 @10:54AM (#7172169)
    Let's get Apple to port Safari to Windows just like it is doing with iTunes.

    It's a bloody great browser... although having thought about it, theres no reason for Apple to let the hoardes have its pretty software for nothing...

    I can tell you this though... if you think your browsing and computing experience is slowing down in terms of innovation and invention, switch to the OSX platform... my god, there's enough new stuff every week to make you do a sex wee.

    -Nex
    • The Safari engine is KHTML. There already are several KDE on Windows projects which will get you what you want.
    • I just got my new PB - let me tell you, it has sex wee all over it. I mean, it's really cool.

      If everyone got to use a mac for a week, then had to go back to windows, I don't think we'd have much of a problem - OS X is sweet to geek, and easy to Mom.

    • galeon is better (Score:3, Informative)

      by Ender Ryan (79406)
      If you think Safari is so hot, try Galeon 1.3.9 on Linux. It is by far the greatest browsing experience ever, period. It is 200% more stable and has more features than safari, and the moz rendering engine is far more complete and robust.

      Unfortuneatley, Camino development seems to be very slow, otherwise it would be the best browser available for OS X.

      Not that I'm knocking Safari, it's an excellent browser, in fact, it's better than vanilla Mozilla.

      Windows needs a feature complete browser based on mo

    • Re:Safari (Score:4, Informative)

      by tangent3 (449222) on Thursday October 09, 2003 @11:47AM (#7172912)
      Safari is based on the KHTML engine, so the closest I've see to getting Safari ported to Win32 is the khtml-win32 [sourceforge.net] project. Another possibility is kde-cygwin [sourceforge.net] for the whole kde package...
  • Let's wait a year (Score:4, Insightful)

    by chia_monkey (593501) on Thursday October 09, 2003 @10:54AM (#7172179) Journal
    Let's see what happens after a year or so. First, the whole security thing is a BIG issue now. It's no longer a discussion amongst geeks. As more and more companies and the government buckle down on their security initiatives, they will either force Microsoft to have a secure browser (anyone want to predict the probability this will happen?) or they will abandon IE for more secure browsers.

    Safari is making (understatement?) inroads on the Mac side and Macs are picking up momentum. Safari can tandem on that aspect alone.

    Let's not forget...the tide really can change. Remember when Netscape was the undeniable champion? Look where they are now. Who's to say this can't happen to IE?
  • the big mo (Score:5, Informative)

    by sstory (538486) on Thursday October 09, 2003 @10:54AM (#7172184) Homepage
    I switched to Mozilla a few months ago. Not out of zeal, but because Mozilla's better software. And it's hard to beat that native pop-up blocking. Using Mozilla, I forget that the web is infested with pop-up ads. When I have to use IE for some reason, I'm quickly reminded.
    • Re:the big mo (Score:3, Interesting)

      by DrEldarion (114072)
      I find the Proxomitron to be a far better pop-up blocker, and it's VERY useful for other things as well.

      For instance, on the VBulletin forums I frequent, I've added a search box to the top of every page, a quick reply to the bottom of each thread, a sliding sidebar for a quick-jump to each forum, blocked the "edit" button for any post that's not mine, made it stand out more when people are quoting me, and a bunch of other little things.

      It's really nice to be able to change any web page to suit my needs/wa
      • Re:the big mo (Score:3, Interesting)

        by KrispyKringle (672903)
        I used to use Proxomitron on my Windows machine all the time (back when I had a Windows machine). But it is important to note that it is no longer in active development, and may concievable have security vulnerabilities. You may want to consider alternatives. I use Privoxy on my Linux and Unix machines, and while it's not as user-friendly as Proxomitron, it's easily as effective. There are many other alternatives as well, but I haven't tried them (and yes, Privoxy runs on Windows).
      • Re:the big mo (Score:3, Interesting)

        by cjpez (148000)
        I find the Proxomitron to be a far better pop-up blocker
        Now, I'm not saying that Proxomitron isn't as good as you claim, but how exactly could it do better than blocking *all* popup ads I don't want to see? I haven't seen a popup ad since Moz added the feature.
    • Re:the little mo (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ansak (80421)
      I've come to appreciate Firebird even more. It even tends to launch faster than IE on my computers (and MUCH faster than Mozilla itself). And my experience with Firebird leads me to the impression that the pop-up blocker is even more effective than Mozilla's.
      • Re:the little mo (Score:3, Insightful)

        by DarkSarin (651985)
        I have to agree. Firebird is better than Moz. The only complaint I have is that, under linux, I haven't figured out how to get thunderbird to open links in Firebird directly. Right now I have to copy/paste, but that seems to work.
    • I *LOVE* the big mo (Score:3, Interesting)

      by McSpew (316871)

      I've been testing Mozilla since the 0.6 release, I think, and I switched to it as my primary browser just before it went to 1.0. The straw that finally broke the camel's back was that IE couldn't properly render sites that were being Borg'd into MSN (i.e., ESPN). Mozilla had no such problems.

      Tabbed browsing and popup-blocking were merely the icing on the cake, but now that I use Mozilla as my primary browser, I cringe when I'm forced to use IE for anything.

  • by jmo_jon (253460) on Thursday October 09, 2003 @10:55AM (#7172186) Journal
    Really, why should they add more feauters now when they've won. It's sad but still true, average Jennie won't download a 5-15MB browser when she gets it with her 'internet ready' computer, esepcially not when most large websites 'optimize for ie'. The users thinks the problems is with opera/mozilla/ns when they can't use sites they've always been able to access with their beloved explorer
    • by Soulfader (527299) <sig@@@sigspace...net> on Thursday October 09, 2003 @11:04AM (#7172338) Journal
      It's sad but still true, average Jennie won't download a 5-15MB browser when she gets it with her 'internet ready' computer, esepcially not when most large websites 'optimize for ie'. The users thinks the problems is with opera/mozilla/ns when they can't use sites they've always been able to access with their beloved explorer
      That's odd; the hassle of downloading a setup package doesn't stop such people from downloading new media players, Kazaa, and all of the other garbage that I'm always finding on people's systems. In my experience, the real problem is just that people don't seem to know that any viable option exists. The last time they used Netscape was 4.0, and they've never heard of anything else.

      My father-in-law runs into problems with IE all of the time, but he just considers it part of the computer-using experience. He is very suspicious of the fact that I use something not-Windows on our computers; I think he thinks I'm a closet commie or something...

  • by mopslik (688435) on Thursday October 09, 2003 @10:55AM (#7172188)

    ...other improvements which have virtually ceased since Microsoft won the browser war.

    This is hardly surprising. Microsoft's intention was never to build the greatest browser, but to simply build a browser that would net them the largest market share. With the other big player out of the way now, there's little incentive for further "innovation".

    IMO, this is one of the fundamental differences between Open Source and commercial standard development. OS projects are often made "for fun" or "for advancement of technology X", whereas commercial projects are usually (!) made "for profit". Both have their places, they just use different mind-sets: academic or business.

  • Browser Wars Over? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Kandel (624601) on Thursday October 09, 2003 @10:55AM (#7172201) Journal
    "While alternatives such as the Mozilla Project and the Opera browser still exist, their marketshare is miniscule."
    A small current marketshare can in no way infer that "The Browser Wars are Over" and that Internet Explorer will ALWAYS be the de-facto standard. Sure, Mozilla may have not have a huge marketshare at the moment, but then again, neither does Linux in terms of common Desktop usage to the average user.
    I feel that when Linux really takes off as a real Windows alternative to the average user, Mozilla will really begin to shine, and it's market share will increase as Linux's market share increases.
    The Browser Wars are certainly not over yet...they are just being postponed for a little while. :P
  • by TimTheFoolMan (656432) on Thursday October 09, 2003 @10:55AM (#7172204) Homepage Journal
    In related news, ruthless dictators neglect the human rights of their people.

    Phlegm at 11.

    Tim
  • It's such a pain that IE has such a gigantic marketshare, because if it didn't, we would see a huge migration amongst the web development community towards Mozilla (and derivitives), Opera, Konqueror, etc. which would inevitably, over time, mean a similar migration amongst users.

    Unfortunately, I don't suppose developers can afford to ignore IE's lack of support for basic standards like CSS. Damn monopoly.

    If only they could, we could finally start to see the web returning to using standardised, open techno
  • Use the holes in IE to create a worm that installs Firebird, and removes IE with litePC.com's XPlite.

    (Most) People only use IE because they are scared to install some software (I don't want to break my computer!) or they don't know there are options (What are you using - why do I get all these pop-ups?)

    Use MS tactics! Force a new browser on them!

    • Of course then you could be prosecuted and sent to prison. Imagine if you did this to Ashcroft's PC... damn, you'd be in Guantanamo and nobody would know you were gone.
    • by RevAaron (125240) <revaaron@hotmaiCHICAGOl.com minus city> on Thursday October 09, 2003 @11:12AM (#7172434) Homepage
      (Most) People only use IE because they are scared to install some software (I don't want to break my computer!) or they don't know there are options (What are you using - why do I get all these pop-ups?)

      Having done actual helpdesk/tech support work for a number of years, I feel somewhat qualified to say something here.

      The above is true, but very far from being the whole story. A lot of users use IE for a much better reason than just ignorance: because the web pages they view look right in IE. I've known plenty of folks who didn't want to use Netscape 4.8 (at least when that was an option), Netscape 6/7, other Mozilla derivatives like Firebird- not because of a lack of knowledge, but because those browsers did not handle the pages they viewed very well.

      IMHO, things are a lot better in this regard today, although there are still some of these issues.

      Standards? Users don't give a flying flip about standards. They just want the page to work as expected, as they used to. I personally am not aware of big chunks of implementation that IE supports that Mozilla does not. Hell, I don't know any pages that don't work fine in Mozilla (but do in IE) at all- but I do know that I still hear these complaints, even though none of the pages I browse have any issues. But then again, I can do the vaaaaast majority of my browsing using links in graphical mode.

      Use MS tactics! Force a new browser on them!

      In the Mac world, there is Safari. I'd guess that around 60% of Mac users now use Safari, instead of IE or Moz, a higher percentage when looking at Mac enthusiasts. Apple is in the position to ship Safari with new machines, or with the OS. These users may have used IE in the past, but when they try Safari, they find they like it and that it supports the pages they need to use. No wonder they keep on with it.
      • Hell, I don't know any pages that don't work fine in Mozilla (but do in IE)

        The only time I ever problems with Moz is when the page authors use JavaScript trickery to handle things differently between IE and NS/Moz. Much as I used to like JavaScript, I now firmly believe that it's an Evil (tm) technology
  • First we take over the world

    Then we allow it to fall into chaos

    um... 3. PROFIT!!!!! (sorry couldn't help it)

  • and their customers lose. Surprise, surprise.

    Here's to hoping they lose some of their latest lawsuits, and start being held responsible for the incredibly shoddy quality of their software, so the people can benefit. After all, it isn't like MS has been helping anyone else--including their shareholders--with that gigantic lump of cash they've been hoarding, illegally obtained through their extortive monopoly practices.
  • At least from the statistics of my site [devsdeals.com], IE has dropped from 95% to around 75% in the last year and a half. Netscape varients are up to about 20%.

    Maybe this means we will start to see some more innovations to recapture market share.
  • is legal (e.g. EULA components where you agree to be harvested for your organs if you die or are incapacitated or in the vicinity of a hospital or if Bill needs/wants them) and financial (e.g. charging you a separate licensing fee for each organ harvested), then you stop wondering about those pesky "standards".
  • by kevin_conaway (585204) on Thursday October 09, 2003 @11:00AM (#7172269) Homepage
    Tell your friends about Firebird. If anyone ever voices a complaint about IE or any other browser for that matter, i point them in Firebirds direction.

    It really is a wonderful browser that is lightweight, fast and it has a host of cool features like popup blocking, password manager (for the less paranoid), tabbed browsing.

    Their market share is miniscule because no one knows about it!
  • by FunWithHeadlines (644929) on Thursday October 09, 2003 @11:00AM (#7172273) Homepage
    As someone who has been following the computer industry since the late 70s, and thus has seen Microsoft's actions from their earliest days, this is hardly new behavior:

    • Word Processors: When WordStar was king and WordPerfect came along and dominated, Word was the upstart. Microsoft kept throwing more and more features into the product. Fast forward a few years: Word is king, innovation slows to a trickle. The Word you use today is like the Word you used half-a-decade ago.
    • Programming Tools: When Borland was kicking Microsoft's butt in IDEs and compiler technology, Microsoft had to add features like mad to get their market share back. Fast forward a few years: The Visual IDEs are king, innovation slows to a trickle.
    • Web browsers: When Netscape was king, blah, blah blah. The IE you use today, blah, blah, blah.
    Monopolies traditionally stagnate as often as they can get away with. Ain't nothing new here. Move along.

    • by stratjakt (596332)
      Word Processors: What else can they add? Word integrates with every thing else in the Office suite, has about every feature I can imagine..

      Programming tools: the Vis Studio IDE, frankly, rocks. I can dynamically recompile code, make changes in a C project as I'm stepping through it. Dyn-o-mite! Again, I can't think of anything I would want it to do that it doesnt.

      If anything, these have too many features that I never use.
      • by SirSlud (67381)
        To associate innovation with the addition of features shows just how fucked up IT research and development is.

        I'll tell you what I think is true innovation: making the product more efficient, more capable, but reducing the complexity of the interface and reducing the number of 'features' needed to achieve the same goals.

        As long as innovation is associated with 'new features' (read: new menu items/buttons), I will continue to cry.

        We should be focused on inter-app communication/co-operation .. not just rac
    • by Dragonfly (5975) <jddaigle.mac@com> on Thursday October 09, 2003 @02:09PM (#7174657) Homepage
      It's true, other programs have been "king of the hill" before, only to be dethroned. But look at your examples and tell me who did the dethron-ing? Microsoft.

      What we have today is different than what has happened before. Before, one company dominated word processing, another had a lock on spreadsheets, another was the king of databases. But look at the situation now. When it comes to "productivity applications" (i.e. the programs that 90% of users use 90% of the time), the leaders are products FROM A SINGLE COMPANY.

      Word Processing: Word
      Spreadsheets: Excel
      Presentation: PowerPoint
      Planning: Visio
      Database: Access
      Web Browsing: IE
      Email: Outlook

      It goes on and on. No one is going to dethrone MS because they control the whole field. No one can get money and mindshare by succeeding in one area and then move into others, because MS controls ALL the areas. MS makes sure that most PCs come with MS applications that do everything, obviating the need to purchase any other software. If you're Joe/Jane User with limited funds, and your $500 Dell comes with programs to do all the things you need to do, why in the world would you spend more money or more time installing other programs that do the same thing?

      Microsoft has a lock on the whole computer, especially now that they're extending their reach into the BIOS. The only reason they need to add more features now is to force users to upgrade their computers and feed the upgrade cycle.

      As long as people can spend less than $1000 on a complete system that comes ready to use and has software that does everything they need it to pre-installed, and works pretty well most of the time, no one is going to switch to anything else.
  • I'm using mozilla firebird. When I submit a comment here on slashdot, it doesn't render the comment approved page correctly. Sometimes it just shows the background, and never loads the text. When it does show the text, it's overlapping the toolbar on the side.

    Is this a slashdot problem or a mozilla problem?

    Anyways, improve mozilla, and get the word out, and people *will* use it. Developers - stop kludging your sites for IE, stop putting "this site is best viewed by IE" on your front page, put "this si
    • Sites should be designed for standards compliance, or atleast designed and tested on mozilla, on the basis that pretty much everyone can run mozilla, regardless of their choice of os and/or hardware, and theres always the possibility to port it to a new platform.
      Altho i would much prefer all browsers to be standard and have absoloute freedom of choice as to what browser i use, there would inevitably be bugs in various browsers... But so long as the site displays in mozilla, then virtually everyone should be
  • Maybe it's time... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MP3Chuck (652277) on Thursday October 09, 2003 @11:01AM (#7172285) Homepage Journal
    ... to go back to the "Page best viewd in" messages on the bottom of pages. But this time with a little link to Firebird. If people start coding for the standards-complient browsers instead of IE, people might realize what they're missing out on. Or just get frustrated (and/or curious) to the point of installing it.
    • If people start coding for the standards-complient browsers instead of IE

      You don't work for a PHB do you?

      I agree completely, I just don't think it'll happen any time soon.
    • "If people start coding for the standards-complient browsers instead of IE, people might realize what they're missing out on."

      Customers and money, you mean?

      The sad thing is that standards-compliant doesn't pay the rent, and there are a large number of us trying to create standards compliant while trying to earn a living. It's a difficult balance to trade off, and after _two_ years of struggling and quietly putting in CSS whereever possible, my boss starts asking about it.

      Hoo-bloody-ray.

      There's a c
    • by jafuser (112236) on Thursday October 09, 2003 @11:43AM (#7172859)
      The problem is, you can code for "standards compliant" all you want, but until that standard is used by > 2/3 of your visitors, then you're wasting your energy.

      When it comes to real-world business, ideology is about as useful as a money shredder. You don't tell your customers to upgrade or change browsers. You adapt to your customers, or your competition will.
  • by KarmaOverDogma (681451) on Thursday October 09, 2003 @11:01AM (#7172288) Homepage Journal
    I remember very well the MS site reading in bold headlines "U.S. Department of Justice Vs. The Freedom To Innovate" when they were in the thick
    of their Anti-Trust lawsuit with the USDOJ.

    I guess this is Microsoft's new form of "Innovation."

    Proof positive of the negative impact of Microsoft's monopoly in the browser market coupled with the fact that they received little more than a slap on the wrist from the USDOJ in the end.

    Use IE only when you *have* to.

    .
  • by Krapangor (533950) on Thursday October 09, 2003 @11:02AM (#7172301) Homepage
    Microsoft is a company, not a carity organisation. Improving IE would cost them money without getting any revenues - they are giving IE away for free.
    Innovation and improvement made only sense when they had something to achieve: pushing Netscape out of the market. But this is no longer the case.
    I would not even blame them. If the customers were keen on good browsers, they would rush to pay money for better versions like Opera. But they aren't. They are simply whining that MS is not innovating, but they won't do anything themselves.
    • by BenjyD (316700) on Thursday October 09, 2003 @11:12AM (#7172439)
      Of course IE gets them revenues - it is basically only usable on Windows, and therefore another way of locking people into Windows. Yes, there was a Mac version, but it wasn't (from what I've read) a very good version, and has been left to die now.
      How many web sites still say "requires IE5+" or whatever? How many websites rely on IE's quirks? By abusing their monopoly position, MS made "the web" and IE synonymous for most users, and required for many things (online banking, for example, often requires IE).
      Of course customers want good browsers. They just can't see them past the big blue e on their desktop.
      • In Microsoft's defense - Mac IE used to be at least decent, but then started falling behind and was put out of it's (and our) misery. In my experience, it always worked better than Nutscrape on that platform.

        Now that Safari is here, there's no need for any other browser. It's small, it renders well, it's free, and it's pretty generic. I use it on a daily basis - I've quit bothering with other browsers on the Mac (don't ask me about Opera - I refuse to use software produced by whiny-ass bitches).

        Of course
  • If every regular slashdotter were to introduce 5 people to the wonders of choice and get them using mozilla or opera on thier windows platforms and then ask those 5 people to introduce 5 more, the word would get out that there is an alternative.

    The fact is, 90% of people who surf the net consider that iexplore is the only option - they consider it as being 'the world wide web', rather than software used to access it.

    You don't need to educate them too much - just say "hey, try this alternative software tha
  • Stupid IE tricks (Score:4, Informative)

    by kurosawdust (654754) on Thursday October 09, 2003 @11:03AM (#7172317)
    my personal favorite is when you send a form request via a submit button that uses a specified image (instead of the ubiquitous grey button), IE for some reason will totally ignore the "submit" POST request. I have long since stopped trying to understand why, and thus chalk it up to a master plan that will not be fulfilled until my pants are running Windows CE.

    (PS - you can still get your page to work with IE if that situatioin applies to you, you just have to get the submit button title from the x and y click coordinates titles [which IE is so thoughtful not to ignore])

  • by weston (16146) <westonsd@@@canncentral...org> on Thursday October 09, 2003 @11:07AM (#7172385) Homepage
    This is a central question that I've been asking in every "What makes you think MS is evil?" discussion I've had lately:

    Why is Microsoft, the player in the browser market with the most resources by an insane margin, have the piece of software that's the most egregious offender in terms of standards compliance?

    You can come up with a lot of answers, but I've come to believe that it's because they understand something:

    (1) The lock in principles that we're all familiar with

    (2) You more easily make money by letting others waste their time making things work than by wasting your own resources

    (3) It's possible the IE 6 codebase really is hard to polish and move forward at this point.

    Focus on #2 for a moment. They steal time from every single developer who has to use their products to deliver a product -- and that's everyone who's delivering a web application, at least. How do they steal it? Just recently I lost hours of my time (and possibly business) because of some bug that makes images that display all right and proper in every browser -- except IE. You just had to know that in certain situations involving nested, CSS positioned divs, unless you set the most immediately containing div to position: relative, the images would not render. Anyone here who's ever tried CSS positioning and the accompanying loosely semantic markup knows what I'm talking about. This happens in a hundred small ways.

    It's not just IE, either. I have to use MS Word XP at work to occasionally do *page layout*. Nevermind that it's the wrong tool for the job, we know that, it's just that sometimes our customers demand stuff in that format. The gyrations necessary to do things in those programs are ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous. I've used two other word processors who make it an order of magnitude easier -- hell, sometimes I'd rather do page layout in the same bug-ridden CSS/XHTML combo I mentioned above. Again, who is the player with the most resources? Who does not have the easiest or most powerful toolset?

    Seriously, someday I think people will wake up and realize that Bill has been wasting several GDPs worth of people's time, and that's how he's amased his wealth -- Microsoft would much rather let customers and developers waste their time than spend their own dimes creating truly effective software.
  • by mblase (200735) on Thursday October 09, 2003 @11:08AM (#7172390)
    Try Avant Browser [avantbrowser.com] if you must use IE. It adds a shell around the browser for tab integration, popup blocking, and all those other goodies you like best about Opera and Mozilla.

    Sadly, it can't do anything for IE's HTML or CSS support....
    • I agree with this. I stopped using the normal IE a few months ago and now I only use Avant Browser. What I really missed from IE was tabbed browsing and popup blocking, and Avant offer these two. It's really great. I've used tabbed browsing in Mozilla, and I think I've read somewhere that there is now a popup-killer built in the browser, but Mozilla never really did it for me. I always found it slow to start, huge memory hug (IE is too, but it's already loaded whether I use it or not, while Mozilla just add
  • I now have a few members of sales using Mozilla's Firebird for a lot of things, as well as our content development staff.

    One guy's IE install was corrupt, and since we're a web based company, this was a serious issue for him. I installed Firebird as a stop gap measure until IE was working again. Set up tabbed browsing, showed him how to block pop ups and went on my merry way. I had IE fixed later that day.

    Thing is, he's still using Firebird as much as he can. He came down later that day, AFTER IE was
  • (-1, Redundant)
    Isn't it funny how huge corporations, governments, and software firms (Like Adobe) will dump tons of money into Microsoft's products, kiss Microsoft's ass, partner with Microsoft, and never get attention to all of the horrible flaws that need fixing? Maybe eventually it will dawn on them that the reason competing products have a small market-share is because the same people who complain about their Microsoft woes refuse to support try the competition for once?
  • Long Time IE User (Score:5, Interesting)

    by acousticiris (656375) * on Thursday October 09, 2003 @11:13AM (#7172453)
    I was a long time IE user, and even advocate in some cases.
    I also work with several people who felt the same way.

    In January or so I switched over to Opera because I got sick and tired of the pop-ups and IE had no good defense against them.
    I had been using Mozilla at work for some time--having to develop for both IE and Mozilla platforms--but I hadn't been too impressed with it until about the end of the summer.
    These security holes and the apparent lax nature by which MS is handling them in IE have actually scared most of my coworkers away from Internet Explorer for their day-to-day ops.
    I mean, of course, when you go to the MSDN web site, you can't find a damn browser out there other then theirs that displays their pages with any kind of reliability (and I'm sure that's intentional). But for almost anything else, most sites written for IE display relatively well in Mozilla, better IMHO in Opera, and seem to display almost the same as IE in the latest build of Konquerer. And quite frankly, things seem quite a bit zippier in any one of those than in IE.
    Most people won't switch because their too lazy to download the latest builds of the alternative platforms...fear though, is quite a powerful motivator.
  • by Paulo (3416)
    ...about 4 years ago, when so many of these same web developers were saying "Netscape sucks!!! Everybody should use IE!!!"

    Well, you got what you asked for. What are you whining about?
  • by pheph (234655) on Thursday October 09, 2003 @11:17AM (#7172506) Homepage
    Wehile we're on the topic of IE and web-standards, I thought i'd express my frustration with IE and its inability to handle PNG transparency at ALL! Not one bit. PNG not only offers transparency, but partial transparency [w3.org], which can really improve the look and ease of development of many modern web sites... But we're forced to use the unremarkable GIF which only offers binary transparency...

    Oh IE, why can you not support an open standard [w3.org] correctly?

    • by Bishop923 (109840) on Thursday October 09, 2003 @11:49AM (#7172942)
      Actually you can use a IE only CSS Kludge [alistapart.com] to get Full Alpha-Transparency Support. I agree though it should be completely integrated.

      Something else about PNGs that I have found rather odd is that IE will render the colors a shade or two darker than Photoshop and even other browsers. I can make a PNG with a color like #3366CC and IE will render it closer to #0066CC. Very subtle difference but noticeable.
      • by _xeno_ (155264) on Thursday October 09, 2003 @12:32PM (#7173539) Homepage Journal
        I can make a PNG with a color like #3366CC and IE will render it closer to #0066CC. Very subtle difference but noticeable.

        First of all, I think the difference between #3366CC and #0066CC is quite noticible, but that's beside the point. The reality is that IE is actually operating the way it's supposed to - the PNG standard includes a feature called "gamma correction" where a gamma number is stored into the PNG image and the given viewer is supposed to correct for the gamma on their system.

        Obviously, something's wrong with the gamma support in one of the applications - either Photoshop is saving an incorrect gamma value, or IE is using an incorrect gamma correction routine and is making the image darker than it really is.

        For web use, you should disable gamma correction by not saving it to the PNG file - this will prevent gamma correction from taking place and make a #3366CC color come out as #3366CC in any viewer so that it matches an HTML #3366CC. It's a simple checkbox in the Gimp (where I do most of my simple PNG editing - I'm a programmer, not a graphic artist), but I don't know how to do it through Photoshop. I'd imagine it's possible, though.

  • by joenobody (72202) on Thursday October 09, 2003 @11:36AM (#7172758)

    Pivx was the company that had a website with a list of 31 vulnerabilities [216.239.57.104] in Internet Explorer. Two days ago they pulled it [pivx.com] with what sounds like a nice way of saying they were pressured to do so.

  • by Camel Pilot (78781) on Thursday October 09, 2003 @11:53AM (#7173010) Homepage Journal
    I have been watching the browser stats at my wife's Hot Sauce store [slashdot.org] and mozilla ranks lower than all the search engine spiders! Sad indeed.

    Is there some global browser stat site similar to what netcraft is to servers?

    To encourage participation I recently added a browser aware cart (flexcart) that gives a 5% automatic discount if you are using a 1.0+ mozilla client.

  • by digitalgimpus (468277) on Thursday October 09, 2003 @11:55AM (#7173039) Homepage
    Everyone I have shown Mozilla, has made it (or Firebird) their default browser. They were blown away by the speed, and features. Typing to find links in a page, tabbed browsing, popup blocking... very cool stuff.

    Then when they hear that it's more secure, and won't automatically execute everything it downloads (like those stupid virus IM's spreading over AIM)... they love it.

    So I suggest every geek pass a few copies around. If everyone does it... and a few others spread the word... Mozilla will get around.

    Mozilla has had 0 marketing to this point. Start the effort.

    I've turned out dozens of people. If everyone does the same, the userbase will grow very fast.
  • by LoRider (16327) on Thursday October 09, 2003 @11:56AM (#7173049) Homepage Journal
    Oh my gosh! Microsoft has abandoned innovation! What are we going to do now that Microsoft has stopped innovation? Will we be able to recover from this - WILL WE!?

    Everytime I have to open IE for testing, I am amazed at how little has changed since really IE 4. I can't stand not using a tabbed browser.

    The reality is that Microsoft never did innovate. Just because Bill Gates says they are innovating doesn't make it so. As with any industry often the most innovative ideas come from the little companies that have a reason to think outside the bun.

    "Microsoft stops innovating." Everytime I type that I laugh and laugh. What's next? "Bodybuilder becomes president..."
  • BIG problem. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SharpFang (651121) on Thursday October 09, 2003 @12:07PM (#7173185) Homepage Journal
    I love Mozilla. It's great. But I have lessons in high school, with bunch of idiots who love hip-hop, gangsta, graffitti, this kind of junk. Installing Mozilla is one thing. To make it usable though, you need to install Flash, Java, possibly some other plugins and the process isn't trivial click-through. So for now they just won't do it - too stupid for that. And even if they did, sites MSIE bug-for-bug compilan won't display properly - so they won't use Mozilla - and I assure you a huge majority of computer users is like that.
  • by TeknoHog (164938) on Thursday October 09, 2003 @12:28PM (#7173490) Homepage Journal
    Scientists have discovered that the liquid phase of dihydrogen monoxide has a peculiar property called 'wetness'.
  • by penguin7of9 (697383) on Thursday October 09, 2003 @12:33PM (#7173549)
    Sure, they added lots of gimmicks and features, and they made IE prettier and a bit more usable than when it started. But I don't recall much "innovation", as in "genuinely new ideas".
  • Web Developers (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Johnny Mnemonic (176043) <[mdinsmore] [at] [gmail.com]> on Thursday October 09, 2003 @01:08PM (#7174017) Homepage Journal

    Those same "Web Developers" that are complaining about IE's lack of progress are the same ones that helped IE to it's monopoly by refusing to code and test against other browsers. So they really only have themselves to blame.

    The monster that they helped to create by being lazy and not regressing against other browsers and platforms is something that they'll have to live with now.

    Just don't let it happen again, kay? We have another chance with media standards--all you fools who only support WinMedia, once it becomes the standard, innovation will stop with it, too.
  • by tregoweth (13591) on Thursday October 09, 2003 @01:21PM (#7174179)
    Microsoft "abandoning 'innovation'" is like hippos abandoning spaceflight.
  • by LardBrattish (703549) on Thursday October 09, 2003 @09:22PM (#7178895) Homepage
    My copy of Mozilla reports itself as IE (the default case) as does my copy of Opera. Haven't checked Firebird or Safari but I can make an educated guess at the former ;)

    Can we really trust these statistics if browsers default to misrepresenting themselves as IE?

    I know quite a few people who moved from IE when they realised it was keeping undeletable hidden logs of the pages they visited (guilty conscience I suppose ;) and changing the preferences to make Mozilla or Opera correctly report their version is not way up on most peoples list

    Just my 5c

FORTUNE'S FUN FACTS TO KNOW AND TELL: #44 Zebras are colored with dark stripes on a light background.

Working...