QuirksBlog - Browser Wars
Part of Browsers.
Recently I held a presentation at a local Microsoft conference in the Netherlands.
Slides are here. Fanatical followers
will recognise most of the topics I discussed from earlier slide shows, but the last one,
about the changes to the market share of IE6, 7, and 8, is new.
Basically, IE6 will continue to exist
when IE7 has all but disappeared, and, contrary to what you might expect, this situation
will create exciting opportunities for Microsoft’s competitors.
Besides, last week the news came that Microsoft
is going to voluntarily de-bundle IE from all Windows 7 machines that will be sold
in Europe, and I continue to have my doubts about that affair.
So it’s time for a special State of the Browsers IE edition.
There’s some browser news to discuss, and I thought I’d bundle it all in one entry. Maybe I’ll even do this more often; it seems a good feature for this blog. But I’m not promising anything!
This weekend I started testing some new browsers, and meanwhile I’ve updated the HTML and CSS tables. There were no surprises. I’m continuing with the Events tables, but they’re so large and sometimes so complicated that I’m not sure when I’ll finish.
In this installment we’ll take a look at IE8RC1 and some reactions to it, Safari 3.2, Chrome’s lack of a “Check for updates automatically” feature and Opera’s antitrust complaint.
Last Friday a press release announced that the European Commission has sent a “Statement
of Objections” to Microsoft. This is a formal notice that the EC is investigating objections made
to Microsoft’s trade practices; in this case the
tying of Internet Explorer to the Windows operating system.
The latest EC vs. Microsoft fight has entered its second round. Since browsers are involved, this
conflict is important to web developers. If Opera gets its way, new Windows computers in the EU will
have either zero or five browsers installed on them.
Opera's antitrust complaint against Microsoft has become the talk of the town. Right now everybody focuses on Opera's anti-Microsoft stance and the effect Opera's action may or may not have on W3C Working Groups. Jeremy provides a useful summary.
What's lacking in the current discussion is an appreciation of the potentially disastrous consequences of "asking the European Commission to require Microsoft to follow fundamental and open Web standards accepted by the Web-authoring communities."
I found only one article that clearly points out this danger, but the author seems to think that the European Commission is a court of law. It isn't. It's a political body peopled by politicians.
The advanced state of institutional chaos at European Union level has required the Commission to take on some judicial powers in order to get anything decided, but in the end its functions are political, and its members are guided by political considerations—most notably the careful hoarding of powers they have been granted.
So Opera is asking a political body to take control of web standards in the name of "Web-authoring communities" I'm part of—but without considering the consequences of its actions and without consulting said communities.
Opera's request is putting us all in appalling danger. Therefore I'd like to ask Opera to drop it. Now.