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Microsoft's Forgotten Core Fonts Web Monopoly Needs Breaking

From: Maneesh Pangasa <maneeshpangasa@me.com>
Date: Fri, 07 Jun 2013 11:47:02 -0700
Message-id: <2FAC48AF-34EB-4C8A-B582-8BBA6E520D02@me.com>
To: "public-webfonts-wg@w3.org" <public-webfonts-wg@w3.org>
While Microsoft was a decade ago taken to court for antitrust violations in the desktop computer operating system and office applications market it's Core Web Fonts monopoly was never targeted. Microsoft's fonts are used to display most web pages on the planet. Even Mac and Linux users who have fled Windows to avoid dependence on Microsoft read most of their content using Microsoft fonts.

Microsoft's fonts monopoly is due to the Core fonts for the Web program it launched in 1996. Including 10 font families including names like Arial, Georgia, Verdana and Times New Roman were made available for free to the Web community on all platforms as Microsoft told the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) at the time an organization started to protect the open web from being fragmented by Microsoft and Netscape who were creating corporate fiefdoms where some web pages only work with a specific browser. The fonts have served us well. they've improved aesthetics and the interoperability of the Web and they look good in wide range sizes. Unfortunately, Microsoft decided to close the project in 2002. The fonts are still available to Nyone to use but not to change. it is illegal to add support for more non Western scripts. 

This font monopoly has long been forgotten by most but still exists.


The time has come to break the Microsoft monopoly on fonts. This is easier than it sounds. There are thousands of font families on the Web I would call Web fonts that are freely available for anyone to use. One such font family is called Goodfish an elegant serifed font on designed by Ray Larabie in 2000.. It comes in four variants regular, italic, bold and bold italic which are encoded as four TrueType files. When zipped the files take up 100k of memory. That's the same file size as a small photograph. Ray Larabie has generously allowed Goodfish and other fonts to be used by anyone for free, and there are many other web font designers. Some of their fonts look weird and some are only in the English alphabet. Some are only available for print and in headings. Still these fonts represent a huge untapped typographic resource for the Web.

In order to use Web fonts browsers must be modified to look for TrueType files inside the local machine. CSS2 style sheets can already refer to web fonts so there's no need for a new standard. 

To read more on this topic see this article: news.cnet.com/Microsofts-forgotten-monopoly/2010-1032_3-6085417.html

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Received on Wednesday, 12 June 2013 07:34:36 UTC

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