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Re: Standards

From: Beton, Richard <richard.beton@roke.co.uk>
Date: Thu, 07 Oct 2004 11:52:10 +0100
To: www-validator@w3.org
Message-ID: <41651FDA.2020403@roke.co.uk>

Tim Jackson wrote:

> <snipped>
>As a general rule, Mozilla and Opera are by far the best at rendering
>things according to standards. They are both pretty good. IE sucks
>extremely badly and has some huge bugs which only serve to demonstrate the
>utter incompetence and ignorance of the people who developed it. Just to
>make life even harder for you, the ways in which it sucks vary
>considerably between versions and even between platforms (IE5 on Mac is
>substantially different to IE5 on Windows, for example. In fact, they're
>pretty much different browsers.)

I find myself surprised that I am inclined to defend Microsoft (well 
parts of that large organisation at least, and only to a limited 
extent).  It seems to me the MS problem is cultural and commercial 
rather than technical.  It's a bit rich to label them as technically 
incompetent, when clearly /some/ things they do suggest evidence to the 

My reading of the situation is this: IE6 implements a particular set of 
features and MS consider it adequate for many of their customers.  They 
take this further and don't spend the money fixing the problems (viz web 
standards) because they don't see that as giving them a pay-back.  
Worse, better standards compliance probably erodes the IE6 
near-monopoly.  That would be commercially unwise, from their point of view.

So please don't describe MS as incompetent. Arrogant maybe.  And very 
very frustrating for the rest of us, especially anyone like myself who 
thinks that web standards are a Good Thing.

Here's something to illustrate this.  I once spoke to a MS CTO, someone 
responsible for FrontPage development.  I asked him why, out of the box, 
FP has all the non-standard options enabled.  Why doesn't it generate 
web-standards-compliant code by default, with options for others to 
depart from this if they see fit.  His answer was illuminating but 
annoying: FP does what it does because it is bought by large corporate 
buyers who want it this way.  His answer didn't mention that this 
behaviour also serves to promote IE over other browsers, but he wouldn't 
admit that, would he? 

It's about customer lock-in.  Which is why the rest of us have a duty to 
advocate [web] standards for the benefit of all customers who shouldn't 
be locked in (monopolies are not good for customers).  Likewise, the 
growth of competing products (for examples, Mozilla Firefox and Linux) 
will give MS cause to treat the standards more seriously.

My own personal view.


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Received on Thursday, 7 October 2004 10:54:00 UTC

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