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Bad Timing

Opera fired a broadside at Microsoft today.  In accompaniment, Håkon Lie posted “an open letter to the Web community” in which he says:

To those of you who build and shape the sites and services we use everyday — and who will create those in the future — I ask for your support. You will be the ones who ultimately benefit by having a Web that works seamlessly and effortlessly across devices, browsers and is equally open to everyone. That new day is just over the horizon…

Yes, it is.  Or maybe it was, until this happened.

Look, the time to file this motion and make this appeal was in 2005, when Internet Explorer had been dead in the water for years and it was genuinely holding back web design.  Then there’d have been a case to make.  When IE7 came out in late 2006, it wasn’t a great leap forward for web development, but it did bring IE more or less in line with where browsers were at the time—which was, frankly, a pretty large leap.  After all, they were doing five years of catch-up with a pretty small team.  Now we have IE8 in development, and there is a real chance that it could push standards support forward in a significant way.

But not if developing the browser becomes more of a liability than just walking away from it altogether.

They can’t do that, you say?  Oh, but they can, and at a corporate level would probably love nothing more than to do so.  With Silverlight, there’s the opportunity to create browser-like internet applications that support no open standards, answer to no external specifications.  The IE team would likely disagree strongly with such a course, but cut funding to the team and there’s little they can do to change it.  If you think web development is horrible now, how about a future where there literally are entirely different browsers to support?  Or a future where the open web is largely shriveled and dead thanks to wide-scale abandonment by the Windows community?

I am not advocating that we hold ourselves hostage to what Microsoft, or indeed any company, might try to do.  We’re already held hostage enough to the glacial pace of the W3C (and Mr. Clarke has some ideas on how to fix that).  What I’m advocating is that rather than attacking the laggard right when he’s showing promise of catching up and being part of the team again, it might be better to help him along, maybe even say a few words of encouragement.  Unless, that is, this attack springs out of some sort of perceived threat—in which case, just say so, and don’t use web standards as a fig leaf.

I wondered, upon having this instinctive reaction unfold, whether I was completely off my rocker.  But then I asked myself what I’d think if, say, Opera or Microsoft or anyone had pulled a similar move against Netscape circa 2001, when Netscape 6.0 was out and causing widespread grief while the programmers struggled to update and fix its standards support.  The answer came back the same.

It’s the wrong move at the wrong time, sending precisely the wrong signal to Microsoft about the importance of participating in development and support of open standards, and I can only hope that it comes to a quiet and unheralded end.

62 Responses»

    • #1
    • Comment
    • Fri 14 Dec 2007
    • 0001
    Eric Meyer wrote in to say...

    Quick note: this all comes just as I’m about to go largely offline for a week-plus, so comments that get moderated will likely stay moderated. If you’ve posted here before, use the same e-mail address you used then and no problem. If you do get moderated, I’ll review and approve as soon as I can, but it could be a while. Pingbacks and trackbacks are still accepted, so you can always post elsewhere and get the two posts linked together. Sorry about this, but nobody at Opera consulted me on the timing of their announcement. The nerve!

    • #2
    • Pingback
    • Fri 14 Dec 2007
    • 0031
    Received from RefreshCleveland promotes design, technology, usability, and web standards in Cleveland, Ohio » Blog Archive » Andy Clarke's rallying cry for CSS...

    […] hours after I read Mr. Clarke’s post and wrote about it above, I saw (thank you Snitter) that Mr. Meyer has crafted a post in response.   I left my own comment on Andy’s blog and as I said, as an industry we can and should […]

    • #3
    • Comment
    • Fri 14 Dec 2007
    • 0038
    Chris Blown wrote in to say...

    While I understand your sentiments, its a clear case of too little too late in my opinion. As a small company, developing for IE costs us money, lots of money. Not a day goes by that we don’t have to work around some strange issue. Fundamental issues still remain broken in IE7. This is not because MS can’t fix them, they clearly have ulterior motives. Silverlight is definitely one motivation, which may inevitably set us back years. What about Flex you say? At least Adobe are appearing to be open about mxml and its associated tools. Its fairly ridiculous that we are even having to discuss this 10+ years later..

    • #4
    • Pingback
    • Fri 14 Dec 2007
    • 0157
    Received from Shallow Thoughts » Browser Wars 2.0

    […] to Eric Meyer and David Mead making comments via Twitter, and because of Andy Clarke’s comments on the CSS […]

    • #5
    • Comment
    • Fri 14 Dec 2007
    • 0337
    kimblim wrote in to say...

    I couldn’t agree more! I have been trying to tell people that IE7 is not all that bad and that we should encourage Microsoft to keep updating their browser.
    I too remember when Netscape 6 came out, and I remember all the developers being really enthusiastic about it – when IE7 came out, all we heard was bi***ing (sorry) and moaning.

    • #6
    • Comment
    • Fri 14 Dec 2007
    • 0340
    daaku wrote in to say...

    Do you really believe Microsoft Windows is singlehandedly significant enough that if Microsoft stopped bundling a web browser, the web would die? We have bigger problems with Microsoft than Opera’s complaining about if that’s true. I guess we don’t know, but I really hope it isn’t.

    I think its true IE7 has done *a lot* of good for web developers. But I think Opera’s got it right- only by forcing IE7 to be compliant will other compliant browsers have a chance.

    Think about the aggregate resources we spend on making sites working in IE. Would we (_in aggregate_) spend the same amount on making sites work as well in Opera?

    Why would we if Opera is only contributing 10% of what IE does? Logically, we would only spend 10% of the resources. THIS is why standards exist.

    • #7
    • Comment
    • Fri 14 Dec 2007
    • 0709
    Antony wrote in to say...

    I’ve got to wonder: is the web experience really better now with all these browsers our there? Would things really be so much worse if IE had ‘won the browser wars’?
    Imagine IE6 only – no Firefox, no Opera, no Safari. Cross-browser compatability problems disappear. (Let’s ignore Linux, Mac for the sake of the argument…)
    This isn’t a troll – I’m seriously interested in opinions.

    • #8
    • Pingback
    • Fri 14 Dec 2007
    • 0750
    Received from WebLite » A week is a long time…

    […] move against Microsoft. Something that’s provoked a passionate reaction from the likes of Eric Meyer and Andy Clarke, both very aware of the ramifications this is already having on the politics of the […]

    • #9
    • Comment
    • Fri 14 Dec 2007
    • 0801
    pauldwaite wrote in to say...

    [IE 7 is] a clear case of too little too late in my opinion. As a small company, developing for IE costs us money, lots of money

    I don”t quite understand how a browser upgrade can be too late. Is everyone going to stick with IE 6 because they”ve been using it for so long? I doubt it.

    As for too little, the game”s not over. IE 8 is on its way. The IE team can”t magically make IE support the entirety of CSS 3 overnight.

    • #10
    • Pingback
    • Fri 14 Dec 2007
    • 0842
    Received from Patty Bradley-Diehl » Blog Archive » Opera files antitrust complaint with the EU

    […] complaint against Microsoft is viewed as bad timing by some, and is certainly nothing new. Microsoft has been attacked many times over the years for bundling […]

    • #11
    • Comment
    • Fri 14 Dec 2007
    • 0900
    Brendan Cullen wrote in to say...

    I don”t quite understand how a browser upgrade can be too late. Is everyone going to stick with IE 6 because they”ve been using it for so long? I doubt it.

    Paul, then why hasn’t IE 6 been phased out and replaced yet with IE 7? People who don’t take their computers much past word processing are tragically, ridiculously fearful and resistant of any changes what-so-ever.

    • #12
    • Comment
    • Fri 14 Dec 2007
    • 0921
    beth wrote in to say...

    With this timing, it seems like only Opera will be hurt by this and not Microsoft, which ultimately harms all of us developers.

    • #13
    • Comment
    • Fri 14 Dec 2007
    • 1023
    Jive wrote in to say...

    I really think IE8 needs to support SVG. Just think of how many more new apps and growth the web could have with that standard. The only thing holding it back is IE.

    • #14
    • Comment
    • Fri 14 Dec 2007
    • 1029
    Rob wrote in to say...

    <blockquote.Now we have IE8 in development, and there is a real chance that it could push standards support forward in a significant way.However, Bill Gates has already said IE8 won’t have everything web developers want them to have. Chris Wilson has also been wishy-washy as to what improvements IE8 will have.

    With Silverlight, there”s the opportunity to create browser-like internet applications that support no open standards, answer to no external specifications.

    And then there is XUL.

    how about a future where there literally are entirely different browsers to support?

    You mean like now?

    rather than attacking the laggard right when he”s showing promise of catching up and being part of the team again, it might be better to help him along, maybe even say a few words of encouragement.

    He is not making any promises.

    the wrong signal to Microsoft about the importance of participating in development and support of open standardsWait a minute. Are you blaming Opera and us for all this?! Microsoft caused their own problems. Place blame where blame is due.

    • #15
    • Comment
    • Fri 14 Dec 2007
    • 1119
    Geoffrey Sneddon wrote in to say...

    However, Bill Gates has already said IE8 won”t have everything web developers want them to have.

    Creating a browser in the time between IE7 and even the end of next year which has equal standards support to other browsers (i.e., Fx/Saf/Op) would require a vast number of people, if it isn’t totally impossible. The IE team have limits to how much they can achieve: anyone who knows them will know they most certainly want to support standards. They have nothing to do with Silverlight whatsoever, or anything outwith of IE/Trident, so you cannot accuse the IE team themselves of trying to avoid open standards being used (though it is highly questionable what you can say about middle/upper-management and open standards).

    Chris Wilson has also been wishy-washy as to what improvements IE8 will have.

    If you were in the position of deciding what information to put out, would like to risk repeating what happened with Vista: promising far more than can be achieved?

    The one thing that must not happen is what happened before: further development of IE being abandoned. As we saw with IE6 being the latest release for five years, it simply is a terrible situation for the web.

    • #16
    • Pingback
    • Fri 14 Dec 2007
    • 1135
    Received from In Defence of Internet Explorer, Not Opera

    […] Meyer made a great point earlier; the time for this lawsuit was years ago. When IE6 was holding us back, and IE7 had taken 5 years to develop. But IE7 isn’t holding us back […]

    • #17
    • Comment
    • Fri 14 Dec 2007
    • 1228
    Molly E Holzschlag wrote in to say...

    I can’t comment as to what is in or isn’t in IE8. However, I can say this couldn’t have come at a worse time both for W3C process and Microsoft advancement.

    I know that most people, up to and including my friend and colleague Hakon Wium Lie, would be very surprised to find out what a piss poorly timed response this was.

    Or maybe that’s the point? Confuse Microsoft so much they focus on the legal issues rather than ALL THE PROGRESS people such as Chris Wilson and myself have made with in that organization to move things forward?

    Thanks Eric, for speaking up about this issue.

    • #18
    • Comment
    • Fri 14 Dec 2007
    • 1258
    Jeff Croft wrote in to say...

    I agree completely about the timing of this filing. Like you said, this made sense in 2005; it doesn’t today. Everyone knows that the IE team at Microsoft has been making sincere and significant efforts towards being a solid member of the web standards community.

    That having been said: is anyone really surprised? Both Microsoft and Opera are ultimately about making money. This is a move that Opera thinks can make it money, in one way or another. It may completely backfire, but make no mistake about it: this was done out of a desire to make money, not out of a love for the web. The same goes for Microsoft. IE7 was a better browser than IE6 because that stood to make Microsoft money. Period. Back in the day, IE 4 and 5 gave us proprietary features because that stood to make Microsoft money.

    Don’t be fooled into thinking anyone involved is doing this stuff purely out of love for the web. These companies have commercial agendas, and they always will. They’re always going to be willing to make a move like the one Opera just made if they believe such a move will make them boatloads of green.

    • #19
    • Comment
    • Fri 14 Dec 2007
    • 1323
    Thomas Tallyce wrote in to say...

    @chris blown

    “Fundamental issues still remain broken in IE7. This is not because MS can”t fix them, they clearly have ulterior motives.”

    I don’t think that the lack of development in the year leading to IE7 can be blamed on that. I imagine that an enormous amount of engine refactoring is going on in what is a very complex bit of software that has to support at the same time both new web standards and maintain backwards compatibility to sites. Trying to do that with a seemingly fundamentally broken engine (Trident) that wasn’t touched for 5 years is surely no small engineering feat.

    • #20
    • Comment
    • Fri 14 Dec 2007
    • 1407
    Shelley wrote in to say...

    “I know that most people, up to and including my friend and colleague Hakon Wium Lie, would be very surprised to find out what a piss poorly timed response this was.

    Or maybe that”s the point? Confuse Microsoft so much they focus on the legal issues rather than ALL THE PROGRESS people such as Chris Wilson and myself have made with in that organization to move things forward?”

    No offense, Molly, but the day you started getting paid my Microsoft is the day I took a lot of what you’re saying regarding IE with a lot of salt.

    “I don”t think that the lack of development in the year leading to IE7 can be blamed on that. I imagine that an enormous amount of engine refactoring is going on in what is a very complex bit of software that has to support at the same time both new web standards and maintain backwards compatibility to sites. Trying to do that with a seemingly fundamentally broken engine (Trident) that wasn”t touched for 5 years is surely no small engineering feat.”

    There is no reason, though, that MS can’t keep web developers in the loop about what is to come. Will IE support CSS 2.1? Which of the IE bugs will be fixed? How about support for XHTML and SVG?

    Telling people these will be supported in IE 8 does not give away state secrets. Certainly doesn’t give the competition and edge — hello the competition is already there, been there, done that. Nor does it hold the development team to a standard it can’t meet. Every development team has a set of goals for a new release. Are we saying that Microsoft is incapable of establishing a set of goals, and then meeting them?

    Contrary to what Eric says, this is perfect timing. This is using Gates own poker playing mindset, and calling the company’s bluff. Microsoft, lay your cards on the table, or quit the game.

    As for IE being abandoned: the best for the web right now is if this were to happen.

    • #21
    • Comment
    • Fri 14 Dec 2007
    • 1447
    Molly E Holzschlag wrote in to say...

    I just think that progress was being made in the “tell us” department at MS and this is scrambling up that process by sending the people who are in the way of transparency into freaking out about this rather than focusing on the conversation with the community, which is what many folks within MS and folks like me are trying to do.

    What does anyone do when they’re threatened? Usually shut down all communication. Which is exactly what we as developers and designers of the Web are largely advocating MUST END.

    For the record, not all of us are in this to make a paycheck. It IS about the Web for me, and that’s why I call foul to this kind of play.

    The point is not to make anyone wrong, at least my point is. The point is to work to find solutions where everyone can be fairly represented. Microsoft has sucked at keeping transparency, I called foul. Opera is being manipulative, I call foul on that too. They are all being pushed by agendas, personal or otherwise. It’s time for change, but what the answers are, I don’t know. What I do know is if we don’t stop rivalries and find common baselines, the Web as we know it is in jeopardy, certainly the “crisis” I’ve been eluding to is really happening, and progress, innovation, improvements and everything we desire is compromised.

    • #22
    • Comment
    • Fri 14 Dec 2007
    • 1529
    Jeff Croft wrote in to say...

    “For the record, not all of us are in this to make a paycheck. It IS about the Web for me, and that”s why I call foul to this kind of play.”

    Let’s just assume that’s true. I find it hard to believe that you would do all this for free — but, I can accept it. Even if it IS true, you can’t logically expect others to act the way that you do. If you think that Opera or Microsoft will act out of pure love for the web and not out of commercial agenda, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. One will always set out to crush their competition. That’s how the corporate world works. People need to understand this in order to come up with solutions that will work. Hippie solutions where everyone is expected to do things out of love, peace, and happiness are just not practical when you’re dealing with cutthroat corporations. That’s all I’m saying.

    • #23
    • Comment
    • Fri 14 Dec 2007
    • 1634
    Tim Wright wrote in to say...

    I think everyone needs to relax. IE is one of the giants in the industry, they’re clearly making progress with IE7 and now IE8. Given, its not as good as it could be, and we don’t know any of the standards that IE8 will employ quite yet. But really… don’t we have enough browsers in the testing suite without Opera climbing passed 2% market share?
    Personally, I have very little touble using progressive enhancments in regards to IE6 and 7.

    my2cents

    • #24
    • Comment
    • Fri 14 Dec 2007
    • 2257
    Ian Muir wrote in to say...

    I think Eric nailed it on the head. Making things harder for Microsoft and the IE team doesn’t help anybody. They still have a vast majority of the browser market. What do you think will take longer, better support from Microsoft or 80% adoption rate of Firefox?

    Keep in mind that the average web user likely doesn’t care about standards and is perfectly happy with IE. For many, switching to Firefox is fixing something that isn’t broken.

    @3: If fixing things for IE7 is really causing that much havoc at your company, it’s time to re-examine how you do things. I’ve been designing with CSS for years and fixing IE issues generally accounts for less than 10% of my time. If you can name more than 3 “Fundamental issues” that apply to more than 1% of the general web audience, I would be speechless.

    • #25
    • Comment
    • Sat 15 Dec 2007
    • 0028
    hcabbos wrote in to say...

    Ian, I couldn’t agree with you more. I read Chris’s statement and thought to myself…what am I doing wrong then?! I’ve been designing and developing sites for about 10 years. I can’t say that in the last 5 years IE has caused me that much grief. For instance, it’s box model is a little different but an additional 3-5 lines of CSS fixes that. I’m not trying to oversimplify things but come on…enough of IE bashing and the sometimes underlying need to “fight the man” which is Microsoft. Let’s use our energies and work with what we’ve got. Everything in its own due time. Make the web experience better for each and every client we take on. Work within budgets, achieve their goals, and get on with it. It’s a formula that’s worked for me.

    • #26
    • Comment
    • Sat 15 Dec 2007
    • 0959
    Alan Gresley wrote in to say...

    IE8 will support the standards or it will continue in the great IE tradition.

    I praised Håkon Lie for his courageous move. After a year of rumor about IE8 it took Molly E Holzschlag to cautiously question Bill Gates about transparency before anything happened and what did happen, an announcement by Dean Hachamovitch that the IE team is indeed working on a new version of IE and that it would be called (drum roll) IE8. Is this a grand announcement? Surely not. Is there transparency? Surely not. Will IE8 support the standards? Who know but a guarded few. This is just one big game.

    Is Microsoft going to join the open web?

    • #27
    • Comment
    • Sat 15 Dec 2007
    • 1115
    Rob wrote in to say...

    Hmph. How many paid people are working on Firefox? How many work on Opera? But poor, poor Microsoft. We have to feel sorry for them? Be patient? Yes, it’s all our fault.

    • #28
    • Comment
    • Sat 15 Dec 2007
    • 1411
    Jeff Croft wrote in to say...

    Hmph. How many paid people are working on Firefox? How many work on Opera? But poor, poor Microsoft. We have to feel sorry for them? Be patient?

    Rob, I think you were trying to make the point Microsoft has more money and people, and therefore should be able to move faster and more efficiently. However, this logic is completely flawed. Smaller companies — especially those full of passionate people — always move faster than bloated ones.

    I don’t think we should feel sorry for Microsoft, but we do probably have to be patient with them The fact that they are so large and have a lot more legacy thinking and legacy people to deal with does inevitably make them slower.

    • #29
    • Comment
    • Sat 15 Dec 2007
    • 1440
    hcabbos wrote in to say...

    To me, it goes back to is there something insurmountable that IE/Microsoft is preventing us from doing? I just don’t accept that. I don’t have anything against Opera–I actually like their browser in OS X–but this whole thing is primarily self-centered.

    • #30
    • Comment
    • Sat 15 Dec 2007
    • 1723
    Rob wrote in to say...

    Jeff,
    Up above, it was also stated that the IE group is a small group. So the only legacy thing that would hold them back is management. But what difference does it make? Slow is slow. If this group was employed by you, would you just accept it as it is?

    Here’s my deal. I own some fast food restaurants. One down the street from me went up for sale so I bought it. Sales were poor, customers complained about prices and long times in the line. They were 95th in sales out of 100 stores. Within three months, I had that store at 28th in sales and wait times were under five minutes (if you were the last one in line).

    My point is, I could just say that restaurant crew is slow and expensive or I could fix it.

    • #31
    • Comment
    • Sat 15 Dec 2007
    • 1749
    Jeff Croft wrote in to say...

    @Rob: Your point is well taken. However, neither you, me, nor anyone else here can buy Microsoft and fix it. As it stands, Microsoft is a big, slow, bloated company. We pretty much just have to deal with it. We don’t really have a choice.

    • #32
    • Comment
    • Sat 15 Dec 2007
    • 1850
    Patrick Correia wrote in to say...

    Eric, I couldn’t agree more.

    I’m as frustrated with Microsoft as anyone at the glacial pace of progress in IE standards compliance. Towards the end of the long IE6 winter, I was actually starting to see the bright side of their apparent abandonment of IE development, as Firefox and Opera started to become real mainstream alternatives on Windows, and I shed a little tear when IE7 came out and was just better enough than IE6 that the momentum shifted back towards “it’s good enough for most people”. But now that they’re (apparently) back in the game, it’s counterproductive to the cause of advancing web standards to launch this kind of attack.

    But it’s not just counterproductive; Lie’s open letter is also dishonest. He says:

    Internet Explorer is the only modern Web browser that does not support Acid2.

    If you follow that link to the Wikipedia page, you’ll see clearly that mainstream releases of Gecko2 won’t support Acid2 until 3.0. So now the current version of Firefox doesn’t count as “modern”? If Microsoft released an unstable pre-release version of IE8 that supported Acid2, without committing to a final release date, do you think Lie would be satisfied?

    It’s a sure sign that your position is weak when you have to resort to intellectual dishonesty. And misrepresenting the truth, even trying to bolster your authority by linking to sources, hoping no one will click through to see that they explicitly disprove your claim — what else could you call it?

    • #33
    • Pingback
    • Sat 15 Dec 2007
    • 2136
    Received from Web design links for December 15th, 2007 - web design news

    […] to read the insightful comments on both posts, especially that of Jeff Croft on the latter article. Eric Meyer also had some great things to say on the topic. ¡Viva la Revolución de Web […]

    • #34
    • Comment
    • Sun 16 Dec 2007
    • 0005
    thacker wrote in to say...

    Microsoft shouldn’t be too overly concerned about any potential of the EU hindering further development of IE. On the surface, it looks at though Opera is attempting to use the argument of standards compliance or lack thereof, to have the EU force Microsoft to break IE out of its operating system. Such a move would give Opera a better basis for easier market penetration of their product. The complaint had to be filed before any beta IE8 was released to the public for Opera’s argument to be heard.

    Microsoft’s prior arguments, within both the previous DOJ and EU litigations, to keep the browser tied to the operating system succeeded. There should be no expectation that with a weaker claim that is presented by Opera that an order to separate the browser or, in the alternative, force Microsoft to include other browsers within their operating system product distribution will succeed this time.

    There is a caveat to that. My question is, what significant influence did prior litigation have on Microsoft in their retrenchment between the IE6 and the IE7 release dates?

    A real possibility exists that Microsoft’s acknowledgment of a new ‘presentation’ engine inside of Trident, spurred the timing of Opera’s complaint.

    I can understand and appreciate Microsoft’s silence over the last year. It would be ironic, if Microsoft’s recent attempt at disclosure contributed to the timing of the complaint.

    The worse thing that Microsoft could possibly do, at this juncture [couldn’t resist that Big Daddy George Bush euphemism], is too retrench, again.

    A timely release of an IE8 beta could very well take the air out of the Opera complaint, a successful summary judgment [whatever the EU compliment is], aside.

    • #35
    • Comment
    • Sun 16 Dec 2007
    • 0712
    Daniel S wrote in to say...

    Dear Molly,

    I know that most people, up to and including my friend and colleague Hakon Wium Lie, would be very surprised to find out what a piss poorly timed response this was.

    will they or we ever find out?

    It’s sad you can’t talk very clearly. I just wonder, did Opera’s step “just” hurt communication, or is it actually influencing IE8’s development?

    Was MS up to anything that they can’t do anymore now?

    • #36
    • Comment
    • Sun 16 Dec 2007
    • 1118
    Andy Clarke wrote in to say...

    Hi Eric, I’ve published my follow up CSS Working Group proposals today and would love to hear your feedback.

    • #37
    • Comment
    • Mon 17 Dec 2007
    • 0015
    Erik wrote in to say...

    @ Jeff

    We pretty much just have to deal with it.
    We don”t really have a choice.

    I disagree. If a decision made by the EU-Commission could speed things up, or at least force MS into a real browser competition, that was something we all could benefit from. That said, i don’t care if Operas complaint is self-centered.

    Regarding the “bad timing”. I agree. Personally i think that could have happened much earlier: and it should have been the web-authoring community filing that complaint.

    • #38
    • Comment
    • Mon 17 Dec 2007
    • 1137
    Eric wrote in to say...

    My my, lots of strong opinions flying around. But let’s be fair: no matter what you think of Microsoft, no matter the truth in those opinions, the team of developers that worked on IE7 and is working on IE8 has done a fine job so far. They communicated with users and developers, they allowed us to take a peek at what was being developed. They basically acted in a way no sceptic expected from a Microsoft team.

    I am an Opera user – from the days it cost money and I indeed paid for it – and I’ll probably keep on using Opera as my favorite browser. And yes, I think open standards are essential. But why attack a group of people within Microsoft who *are* making an effort to implement those standards? Let’s support them and help them get their point across within Microsoft.

    • #39
    • Comment
    • Mon 17 Dec 2007
    • 1219
    Rob wrote in to say...

    But why attack a group of people within Microsoft who *are* making an effort to implement those standards? Let”s support them and help them get their point across within Microsoft.Unfortunately for them, we don’t see any significant results of the efforts they purportedly make. People can talk all they want but I don’t have to say it’s the results that count.

    Well, I said it anyway.

    • #40
    • Comment
    • Mon 17 Dec 2007
    • 1220
    Rob wrote in to say...

    I really need to start hitting “preview” before I post.

    • #41
    • Comment
    • Mon 17 Dec 2007
    • 1454
    Alan Gresley wrote in to say...

    So it seems that both Molly, Eric and unknown others know more than the rest of us humble folk. I wish every success with IE8 but I would really like Microsoft to share with this world where they are at with this browser. Why announce a name and then leave us on the edge? It’s Christmas, the time for giving.

    • #42
    • Pingback
    • Mon 17 Dec 2007
    • 1916
    Received from ThePickards » Blog Archive » Opera: is the fat lady singing for the CSS group?

    […] a few people post about it in the internet bloggy communities. Eric Meyer has suggested that it is bad timing to come out with something like this when Microsoft have recently (with IE7) taken considerable […]

    • #43
    • Comment
    • Mon 17 Dec 2007
    • 2200
    thacker wrote in to say...

    Meyer–

    My apologies to you and your blog’s viewers. I was flat out wrong in my assumption that the EU complaint with Microsoft and Internet Explorer had been specifically addressed. It appears that it was not and that the initial EU Commission ruling applied to only server software and media players embedded into Window’s operating systems. Opera’s complaint may have merit and they may be using lack of standards support as how bundling IE may be harming consumers.

    Is timing of the complaint wrong, I don’t know. Would or will a version of IE, such as IE8, that is more standards compliant diminish Opera’s complaint, I don’t know. Will the complaint stall IE development, I don’t know and I hope not. Should support and encouragment from the outside be given to the IE development team, absolutely .. except when it comes to that EV cert thing. [I had to toss in that EV cert barb as I toss in hasLayout has become hasComplaint.]

    Opera and Microsoft know more about their respective businesses than I. Again, my apologies and I stand corrected.

    • #44
    • Comment
    • Tue 18 Dec 2007
    • 0049
    Geoff wrote in to say...

    I guess we can take it as granted that IE8 will have better standards support than IE7. They are hardly going to make it worse, are they?

    But why the f*ck can’t they tell us if they intend to support SVG?

    • #45
    • Comment
    • Tue 18 Dec 2007
    • 0950
    Dave Stevens wrote in to say...

    Thanks for speaking up on this Eric, I’ve encountered my fair share of problems with IE over the years like anyone else but I fully agree that this action by Opera is at completely the wrong time.

    I think that as soon as Opera move from having the “moral highground” of being able to let their software do the talking (as in, their browser supports the standards) to taking legal action to challenge a competitor they are only going to have a detrimental effect on themselves.

    • #46
    • Comment
    • Tue 18 Dec 2007
    • 1153
    Jack wrote in to say...

    We can only hope,,, and then roll with the bunches. Yes it would be great if all the browsers stood behind one standard. And as a web designer it would make life easier for me and my viewers. But life goes on and the dance changes. MicroSoft is going to do what MicroSoft does best, support it’s own services. OK maybe it will have some compliancy (is that a word?), or not. Maybe the viewers will have to go back to the old days of using 2 different browsers. Or maybe the browsers will be able to switch to different modes. Well, Merry Christmas and Bah hum bug, or what every fits.

    • #47
    • Pingback
    • Tue 18 Dec 2007
    • 1800
    Received from UnboundedExistence.com | Dangler To The Rescue

    […] I think it would be of interest to someone to point at Eric Meyer’s blog post, “Bad Timing.” And this has as much to do with me as it does anyone. I’ve taken my fair shot at […]

    • #48
    • Pingback
    • Tue 18 Dec 2007
    • 2219
    Received from SitePoint Blogs » Clarke Calls for CSS Working Group to be Disbanded

    […] echoed by many in the web design community. CSS expert Eric Meyer considers the Opera move to be bad timing, coming right when Microsoft was showing promise with IE7 and the upcoming […]

    • #49
    • Pingback
    • Wed 19 Dec 2007
    • 1052
    Received from Opera Sucks, At Least Some People Have Sense

    […] force them to follow web standards. And its the lamest thing they could do. At least some people have sense and are not taking […]

    • #50
    • Pingback
    • Wed 19 Dec 2007
    • 1821
    Received from Holy Standards Support, IE8! :: Unintentionally Blank

    […] their monopoly in the browser department and their lack of support for standards (which caused some ripples around the rest of the […]

    • #51
    • Comment
    • Thu 20 Dec 2007
    • 0724
    Niko Neugebauer wrote in to say...

    This is good news – whatever you stand for, whatever you believe in or not. We need a better, more standard web where we write our code without regards on the browser.

    IE8 is passing ACID2 test – isn’t it what we all wish from Microsoft ?
    Whatever the reason behind it – i do not care as long as web gets better. Will i use IE8 – no, but do i need it to be standards compliant – YES.

    • #52
    • Comment
    • Thu 20 Dec 2007
    • 0726
    James Oppenheim wrote in to say...

    What about IE8 suggesting that they now render the Acid2 Face correctly in standards mode.Surely this is a major step in the right direction or at least a change in thinking.

    • #53
    • Pingback
    • Thu 20 Dec 2007
    • 0857
    Received from Un passo al giorno ~ Davide Bocci in...

    […] Bad timing […]

    • #54
    • Comment
    • Thu 20 Dec 2007
    • 1702
    Rowan wrote in to say...

    “As far as Microsoft is concerned, I have not received any instruction to change my participation in W3C in any way because of this or any other lawsuits. Personally, I love working with Håkon and all CSSWG members… whatever Opera’s intentions are, I can’t imagine it involves not being interested in working together on a standard that is worth implementing. I am certainly interested and plan to keep doing that, to the best of my abilities and any time that I can afford to invest.

    http://www.w3.org/blog/CSS/2007/12/19/signal_to_noise

    • #55
    • Pingback
    • Thu 20 Dec 2007
    • 2349
    Received from Pixel Acres » Blog Archive » Web standards take a beating

    […] a long time now, and Opera’s suit has seen the gloves come off. As Eric Meyer observes, the timing might be bad, but I’m pleased to see the web community’s frustrations out in the […]

    • #56
    • Comment
    • Mon 24 Dec 2007
    • 0630
    Federico MP wrote in to say...

    Netscape 6.0 did not have the same market share as IE so it was not a menace for the open web.
    And when will it be the right time? When browsers implement CSS N and IE starts considering implementation of CCS N-10? Why should Opera or whoever complains wait for IE8 which we all know will have less standard support than most of the other browsers?
    Have you think that MS might be using its poor standard support on purpose as a lock-in technique?
    And why we should try to be nice and comprehensive about MS when all other browsers vendors have a headache every time they have to use reverse engineering on IE?

    • #57
    • Comment
    • Fri 28 Dec 2007
    • 1213
    Felix wrote in to say...

    A lot of people are asking why Microsoft cannot simply say what features will be in IE8. It’s a fundamental part of development that things change. Planned features can often run into the brick wall of being too difficult to implement (into the upcoming version without huge delays, typically) or completely degrading performance (with the same caveat). Implemented features may be removed or downgraded later for performance or security reasons. Many things can change, and it’s quite common for the final product to have a few feature differences to the initial planned product. Usually when something is announced, even cautionally as just being worked on, people rely on it and start hatin’ when it’s not in the final thing. It’s by far safer and easier for a development team to keep stumm on features and dates, because not everyone appreciates that these things often don’t go to plan.

    • #58
    • Comment
    • Wed 2 Jan 2008
    • 0755
    Eric wrote in to say...

    Federico: I’m sorry, but “poor standard support” is just nonsense. IE wil pass the Acid2 test with IE8. Firefox will pas the test with FF3. Does that mean Firefox also has “poor standard support”? The IE-team has made a leap forward with IE7 and seems to be doing the same with IE8. Although every browser has its own weaknesses and strengths, IE is adopting the open standards faster than I would have dreamed possible a few years ago. It’s easy – and popular – to keep bashing Microsoft, but especially IE has come a long way and that should be appreciated.

    • #59
    • Pingback
    • Thu 3 Jan 2008
    • 1250
    • #60
    • Comment
    • Mon 14 Jan 2008
    • 1817
    ADAC wrote in to say...

    I haven’t seen any responses to Antony.

    While I prefer using FireFox, he makes an interesting point.Many of our programming problems would disappear if we only had one browser to worry about.

    Be it FireFox or IE, it would sure be nice if someone won the war instead of the constant battle with the users and programmers stuck in the middle.

    • #61
    • Pingback
    • Sat 9 Feb 2008
    • 0420
    Received from Web Development 2.0 » Blog Archive » Web standards take a beating

    […] a long time now, and Opera’s suit has seen the gloves come off. As Eric Meyer observes, the timing is bad, but I for one am pleased to see the web community’s frustrations out in the […]

    • #62
    • Comment
    • Sat 11 Oct 2008
    • 1558
    Cliff Wells wrote in to say...

    “Or a future where the open web is largely shriveled and dead thanks to wide-scale abandonment by the Windows community?”

    I heard a prediction by John Dvorak in the same vein when Microsoft announced MSN. That the internet would become just a dark closet in the house of MSN. Didn’t happen then, and the web was really just an infant compared to now. It *could* have been killed, but wasn’t.

    Second, your statement assumes that Windows “community” means anything. There is no community, only users, most of whom don’t care about Microsoft’s corporate agenda or legal concerns. If Microsoft doesn’t provide a browser, they’ll use Firefox or Safari. People care far more about eBay and Amazon than they do Windows.

    Finally, if market trends are any indication, the time frame for Microsoft to deprecate the web would certainly be longer than the time frame for Apple to have eaten their lunch. Microsoft has larger concerns (losing the desktop – or more precisely – the laptop to Apple). I don’t think sudden risky moves (such as handing a key part of their desktop over to competitors) are in their immediate future.

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