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Opera declares war on Microsoft!

Matthew Pennell

December 13, 2007 at 8:01 AM

Alright, not exactly war, but Opera announced today that they have filed an antitrust complaint with the EU against the Redmond colossus, asking the Commission to “…compel Microsoft to give consumers a real choice and to support open Web standards.” HÃ¥kon Wium Lie, Opera’s CTO and the father of CSS, has also published an open letter to the web community asking for our support.

Microsoft may feel justifiably angry at this move, given the positive feeling they have built up this year — largely as a result of Molly Holzschlag’s advocacy work from within and a seemingly more open attitude under Chris Wilson. What do you think — is Opera’s action a necessary move, or a mistake that risks awakening old prejudices?

Comments

Ward

December 13, 2007 at 12:33 PM

I think thats a bit optimistic talking about “the positive feeling” Microsoft has built up. I think anyone in the know feels that whatever Microsoft has “achieved” with IE 7 in the long view adds up to pretty half-assed given the time line and end results divided by their financial resources and browser share. Really…

Dave S.

December 13, 2007 at 1:30 PM

As I said to Chris Mills at Opera, I’m not sure I understand this move.

Didn’t the US/EU government already do this once? It’s not clear to me how this isn’t a re-hashing of the old anti-competitive suit(s) of the late 90’s. The arguments and suggested remedies sound fairly similar.

I’m sure a lot of web designers are thrilled to see web standards being such a big part of the suit. I just haven’t seen a list of what standards they need to support before this point is satisfied. CSS2.1? Progress on CSS3/HTML5? SVG? etc. etc.

Also, IE8 has been announced, but without details of what it will bring to the table. If it changes dramatically for the better, what does that mean for this complaint?

These are the things I’d like to see Opera address before making a decision whether I’m for or against the suit.

Damien Buckley

December 13, 2007 at 4:13 PM

I think its high time that browser vendors were brought into line with web standards so the rest of us can carry on our business without the moving target that is web development due mainly to IE’s oddities. At the end of the day there are regulations for electricity delivery, television, radio and telephony, why not the web? Can you imagine developing for television and not being sure if the formats you work to will actually display properly? Its ludicrous.

Eric Meyer

December 13, 2007 at 7:03 PM

Mistake.

Chris Blown

December 13, 2007 at 9:09 PM

The fact that it has to get to this stage is pretty sad really. I can’t help but think that MS has ulterior motives other than backwards compatibility. Call me paranoid but I support Opera 100%.

Brad K.

December 13, 2007 at 11:04 PM

Hmm. As I recall, the last time I tried to get CSS and HTML to display the same, I had to code separately for IE and for standards-compliant browsers. Wait! That was this afternoon!

I think the second part of the complaint, open standards compliance, is decades overdue.

josephdietrich

December 14, 2007 at 3:22 AM

An old saw in sociology is that revolutions happen when things start to change for the better, not when they are terrible, because the change isn’t happening fast enough. Still, it sure would be nice if IE supported the same stuff as the rest of the market ASAP (where ASAP means “yesterday”).

On the other hand, I thought that the W3C “standards” were actually “recommendations,” with all the semantic differences that implies. So I’m not sure they’ll get very far arguing that line in court.

Erland Flaten

December 14, 2007 at 6:04 AM

Why not fire Ballmer?

It is very important to keep the pressure up on Microsoft. Most people are still on IE 6. That browser sucks. Fine with some good folks in MS but its to few. There is lot of tallent in Redmond, but the company cant move quick enough because of their size? Strategy? Dont know..Ballmer?

MS has done a very bad job pushing IE7. I wonder why. Ballmer?

I talk with a friend of mine that is TV producer and on how much budget assigned to deal with basic technical problems. I won. With unbeatable problems in simpel presentational prosedures in CSS/html and mediafiles. but my TV friend doesent exctly looking forward tothe HDTV age when that old industry will have probs….

I have a feeling that time has frozen on how the web is developing on the presentation devices – excluding iPhone. I work with content and is pretty irritated every time I have to drop an article, image or something because a float is floating away. I would like technically skilled folks to do real development and not bug navigation.

Also W3C should have frontend for a audience that is not developers and experts. Giving advice on which platforms are OK. Like saing XP and IE6 is not recomended.

My last remark. I guess there will be even more debugging and less development and content when XHTML 5 and HTML 5 have their debut. Two flavours is just what the rocksolid browsers and unbuggy DW CS3 needs for Christmas…

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