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Thursday, June 05, 2003

As the Browser Turns...

Now, as reported by News.com again, Microsoft is backpedaling from a statement made by an executive that the current version of Internet Explorer will be the last standalone version, and that all future upgrades will be tied to Windows.

Many in the Net community have equated this statement with Microsoft using its browser monopoly to force upgrades to future Windows operating systems, and it's no wonder. If you can only get the latest browser functionality by upgrading to to Longhorn, that's the same thing as charging anywhere from $99 to $199 for an incremental version of IE. In other words, pure rubbish.

Now Microsoft is saying they aren't sure what they're going to do with future versions of IE. That's not very reassuring. Something needs to be done with IE, and many are even willing to pay for it, but not if it's tied to an OS upgrade. Sadly, the current state of browserdom is becoming just plain depressing. There has been no real innovation from IE in at least two years, and even though I admire upstarts like Mozilla, Opera and Netcaptor, as a web developer with tight deadlines, I only target my projects to be compliant with IE, since it's got a 90%+ market share.

So, what these upstarts need to do is start partnering with major search engines or portals and open a new front in the browser war, one that might have a slight chance of actually forcing Microsoft to be a good browser citizen by adhering to standards, and one that will give users real choice in a browser.

Posted by Cory Kleinschmidt




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