W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-web-plugins@w3.org > September 2003

Re: IE Thread

From: Jerry Mead <jerrym@meadroid.com>
Date: Mon, 1 Sep 2003 10:15:46 +0100
Message-ID: <002001c37069$a779f310$020a0ac0@zorro>
To: "W3C Public Web Plugins List" <public-web-plugins@w3.org>

On Sunday 31 August  Ed Millard wrote


I'm curious, if Microsoft links the .NET VM into the next version of IE and
runs it as an IE thread do they stop infringing the patent?  If so I imagine
they may actually be quite happy about this ruling, behind closed doors, and
perhaps they aren't trying very hard to find prior art to overturn the
patent.  If browser plugins are outlawed it does substantially more harm to
Microsoft's competitors than it does to Microsoft as long as Microsoft
the dominant browser.


It's probably worth remembering that Microsoft have let it be known that
IE6.0 SP1 will be the last 'standalone' version of IE for 'legacy' (i.e.
pre-Longhorn) Windows platforms.

It's almost certain that 'browsing' in Longhorn will be effectively
'built-in' to the OS and will be written in managed code. With a release
date of 2005+ for Longhorn, the company has plenty of time to address
non-infringement in their new code base, given that any appeal fails.

That leaves the current base of IE and WebBrowser to consider, and it's
quite hard to know what could or would need to be done without a more clear
understanding of the scope of the Eolas claim.

Support for Netscape-compatible plug-ins has already been removed from the
latest builds of IE. Deprecating support for the <object> tag is a further
possibility, but all that would mean is that the corporates who depend on it
wouldn't update to the neutered builds ... and it's possible that not even
Microsoft would be prepared to risk the row that would ensue over thousands
of broken corporate applications were that 'fix' to be incorporated and
pushed out alongside some new critical MSHTML security patch.

But as others have noted, until we see a technical FAQ (and preferably a
transcript of the recent meeting) from the W3C to base any comments upon,
most of what can be contributed here is just going to be speculative and
probably not very helpful.

Jerry Mead
Received on Monday, 1 September 2003 05:27:49 UTC

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