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Should Microsoft Switch To WebKit? 244

Posted by timothy
from the all-the-cool-kids dept.
DeviceGuru writes "Although IE remains the one of the top browsers on desktops, it's being trounced on tablets and smartphones by browsers based on WebKit, including Safari, the Android Browser, and Google Chrome. Faced with this uphill battle on handheld mobile devices, Microsoft MVP Bill Reiss has suggested that it might be time for Microsoft to throw in the towel on Trident and switch to WebKit (though Reiss later decided he was wrong). But although there are lots of points in favor of doing so, there are also some good reasons not to, including security and a need for healthy competition to avoid having mobile developers begin to target WebKit rather than standards."
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Should Microsoft Switch To WebKit?

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  • Polishing a turd. (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 12, 2013 @09:33AM (#42567115)

    Now if Microsoft would switch to something other than Windows 8 and RT, maybe companies like Samsung wouldn't be abandoning them in droves. And yet they get a multimillion dollar contract from the miilitary for the same crap and no one even thinks about investigating it...

  • Healthy competition (Score:2, Interesting)

    by TheP4st (1164315) on Saturday January 12, 2013 @09:47AM (#42567205)
    IE = healthy competition? I can only presume that the author is a MS shill, alternatively is too young to remember all the anti-competitive moves made by Microsoft during most of Internet Explorers history.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Browser_wars [wikipedia.org]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_v._Microsoft [wikipedia.org]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Union_Microsoft_competition_case [wikipedia.org]

  • by cbhacking (979169) <been_out_cruisin ... nOSPam.yahoo.com> on Saturday January 12, 2013 @09:57AM (#42567251) Homepage Journal

    Personally, I actually find IE's interface one of the better ones. I don't like the approach that most browsers have been taking recently of minimalizing the browser UI; IE is no better off there than Firefox or Chrome (though its badness is slightly different) but things like the colored and automatically-combined tab groups, the ability to cycle through tabs in last-used order, the Favorites sidebar and feed reader, and the "Accelerators" feature for things like translating a text snippet instantly are all features which I appreciate, and feel are implemented pretty well.

    Now, if it would just handle massive numbers of tabs more gracefully... there's a reason I use the "Ctrl+Tab cycles in last-used order" feature so much!

  • by Tei (520358) on Saturday January 12, 2013 @10:06AM (#42567323) Journal

    No true.

    The weak support for CSS and strange rendering, layout and JS interpretation are engine things.

    The slowness of JS is another engine thing.

    The bad security is again a engine thing (but may continue in other engine with the same people writting the defaults).

  • by denpun (1607487) on Saturday January 12, 2013 @10:24AM (#42567463)

    There is an update on MVP Bill Reiss's blog now.

    http://www.billreiss.com/follow-up-to-webkit-for-ie-hint-i-was-wrong/ [billreiss.com]

    Seems like he changed his mind. He is now against the idea and has instead suggested allow Win mobile devices to be allowed to change their default browser.
    Sounds like a good idea, effectively making IE, a tool used by the OS that has browsing functionality.

    Effectively what he is saying is that the other browsers, can serve as browsers while IE is now reduced to a tool!

  • by BZ (40346) on Saturday January 12, 2013 @10:52AM (#42567633)

    Everyone and their mother designing "mobile" sites. For some big names, Google, Disney, Comcast, DirecTV, Flickr will all sniff whether you're on "mobile" and either serve you WebKit-only sites or detect that you're not using WebKit and serve you totally different, mostly unusable, sites than they do to WebKit-based browsers.

    You should really try using a non-WebKit browser on Android. It's worse than trying to use a non-IE browser in 2000-2001 or so.

  • Wrong approach (Score:5, Interesting)

    by brunes69 (86786) <slashdot@@@keirstead...org> on Saturday January 12, 2013 @11:33AM (#42567879) Homepage

    Microsoft is a public corporation.

    The default opinion should not be "why SHOULD we switch to webkit", it should be, "why SHOULD we continue to invest tens of millions of dollars per year into developing, testing, and maintaining an engine that does not serve a competitive purpose anymore".

    Trident literally makes Microsoft NO money, and costs them a TON of money. They don't license it. It serves no marketing or branding purpose, because people using IE do not know or care what engine is running their web pages. And the original plan of embrace the web and extend it with trident-specific extensions failed, and doesn't look like it is going to succeed any time soon.

    So, why continue throwing all this money into this sinkhole? That is what I don't understand. As a shareholder, that is the question I would be asking.

  • by cbhacking (979169) <been_out_cruisin ... nOSPam.yahoo.com> on Saturday January 12, 2013 @12:28PM (#42568265) Homepage Journal

    Yeah. For the record, I'm aware that I can get all of these features, and then some, using enough Firefox extensions (although the implementation isn't always as polished). However, I appreciate the fact that they're built in, and that I don't have to worry if they're going to conflict, or leak RAM, or be broken by some update (less of an issue now). Still, I definitely keep Firefox installed. In fact, I keep all of the major browsers except Safari installed (I view Safari as offering basically nothing in exchange for its crap UI and since I don't have a Mac, I can't get the latest version anyhow). Chrome is "Safari (or more specifically, WebKit), but with a few more features and a slightly less-awful interface." Firefox is "Firebug and Gecko and don't open too many tabs or you'll have to restart it." Opera is "ALL THE FEATURES and Yet Another Rendering Engine but WHY are the keyboard shortcuts different from every other browser?"

    Obviously, the above is over-simplified... Firefox loses points (and value) by being single-process, but despite being multi-process IE also starts to struggle if you open too many tabs at once (and it's not system resources, it's just the browser acting up). I actually use Opera as my secondary browser - I really do like the less-minimal interface; I think the thing that honestly pisses me off most about IE is the removal of the title bar - but no matter how often or how much I use it, its commands always feel just a little alien to me (I may use the keyboard more than most people do when browsing).

  • by Billly Gates (198444) on Saturday January 12, 2013 @01:08PM (#42568569) Journal

    Right now I fear webkit will be the next MS, more than MS resurrecting from the dead.

    Have you tried browsing the web with Firefox on Android? It feels like Netscape during 2003 all over again where IE 6 is the only browser that worked well or at all. As mobile takes over webkit will be the next IE 6. [pcmag.com]

  • by Nerdfest (867930) on Saturday January 12, 2013 @01:12PM (#42568583)

    I too have that fear. The real basis for it is because Apple is the new Microsoft. Better design sense, but more greedy and evil.

  • by bedouin (248624) on Sunday January 13, 2013 @12:15AM (#42572475)

    Google could release AIDS and people would try it, then bitch when Google discontinues it even though there's other shitty web-based VDs out there.

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