In a rare display of public goodwill between Google and Microsoft, the companies are bonding over Microsoft's decision to actively participate in the HTML 5 standards process.
In a post to the The WHATWG Blog spotted by Ars Technica, Google's Mark Pilgrim, the company's leading HTML 5 evangelist, thanked Microsoft's Adrian Bateman for joining the conversation over HTML 5 development several weeks ago. "On August 7, 2009, Adrian Bateman did what no man or woman had ever done before: he gave substantive feedback on the current editor's draft of HTML5 on behalf of Microsoft. His feedback was detailed and well-reasoned, and it spawned much discussion," Pilgrim wrote.
Despite its role as the developer of the most widely used browser in the world, Microsoft had been practically silent on the development of the HTML 5 standard until August, when Bateman weighed in on some potential choices for how various tags will be implemented in the standard. Since then, Bateman has endorsed the use of the <video> and <audio> tags in the standard, something that Google and other browser developers are very keen in including in the final standard.
HTML 5 is a big part of Google's agenda for the next several years with respect to its Chrome browser and Chrome OS project. Google executives have chided Microsoft for its slow embrace of the project, which would make all browsers more capable of running applications, but have acknowledged that Microsoft's road to HTML 5 is complicated by the fact that many businesses have built applications around the current version of Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser and would be forced to modify or start over from scratch when the new standards are implemented.
"As you might expect, much of the discussion since August 7 has been driven by Microsoft's feedback. After five years of virtual silence, nobody wants to miss the opportunity to engage with a representative of the world's still-dominant browser," Pilgrim wrote.
Google and Microsoft, of course, are otherwise at each other's throats in the day-to-day competition to dominate the tech industry. There's a longstanding animosity between the CEOs of the two companies, and they are each attacking the other's backyard in hopes of defending their current dominant positions. Microsoft has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in developing a worthy competitor to Google search, and Google has taken aim at Microsoft's dominant position in office productivity software while unveiling plans for its own lightweight operating system.