August 24, 2004 4:00 PM PDT

Browser campaign slams IE

A group that prodded browser makers toward better standards compliance is urging people to abandon Microsoft's Internet Explorer.

The group has set up a Web site reminiscent of Apple Computer's "Real People" ad campaign, which urged people to switch from Microsoft's Windows operating system to the Macintosh. The site features first-person testimonials of people who switched from IE to alternatives.

"IE was a constant pain," reads the testimonial of entrepreneur David Catherall. "IE didn't feel intuitive at all and appeared to have been built by geeks with geeks in mind--not novices. As time went on, I became more aware of and worried by the holes in the software which could lead to security issues."

Published by the Web Standards Project (WaSP), the campaign bears the sunny title "Browse Happy," but its message is a dark warning.

"Internet Explorer can make your computer unsafe," the site reads. "Why not switch to a browser that's more secure? Many already have. Read their stories, and choose a browser that's right for you."

The site is soliciting more testimonials from people who have switched from IE to an alternative browser.

Microsoft declined to comment directly on the site but expressed confidence in IE's ability to retain its massive following.

"We believe that customers will choose the browser that best meets their needs," a Microsoft representative said. "We believe that most will continue to choose IE when they evaluate all of the factors: end-user functionality, site and application compatibility, developer extensibility, enterprise manageability, and security backed by the processes and engineering discipline employed by Microsoft."

Microsoft's security practices, however, have led to a virtual outcry against the Web's leading browser.

WaSP cited recent recommendations by the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team--a computer security partnership between the U.S. government's Department of Homeland Security, the public sector and private sector--against using IE because of its security problems.

"New security flaws are reported at an alarming rate, and major security organizations like the U.S. Department of Homeland Security now recommend against its use," WaSP wrote on its Web site. "Internet Explorer, once the cream of the crop, is now a liability."

For alternatives to IE, the site lists the Mozilla Foundation's open-source browsers Mozilla and Firefox, Apple's open-source based Safari browser for use with recent versions of the Macintosh, and Opera Software's browser.

The Mozilla Foundation said it welcomed the campaign and acknowledged its similarity to Apple's conversion crusade--with a caveat.

"It's just like Apple's thing," said Mozilla representative Bart Decrem. "But it feels very grassroots. This is one of hundreds of examples of individuals and groups organizing themselves and spreading the word about modern Web browsers--foremost among them Firefox. So in that sense, it's very different from Apple's thing. It's the community organizing itself."

WaSP was founded in 1998 by Web site developers fed up with having to code their sites to work with an ever larger pool of nonstandard browsers. Last year, the group declared that it had accomplished its goals in promoting better standards compliance by Microsoft and other browser makers.

Microsoft last year said it planned to abandon development of a standalone IE, preferring instead to focus on integrating Web functionality into its new operating system, code-named Longhorn.

With Longhorn facing repeated delays, the company in recent months has been trying to resuscitate IE and its image. Amid speculation that IE's position might be eroding, Microsoft has made incremental improvements in the browser, mostly focused on security, through the recent Service Pack 2.

The company also hired an evangelist, Dave Massy, to promote IE. Massy did not respond to queries on this story.

WaSP blamed IE on a host of Internet ills, some only tangentially related to security.

"For those still using (IE), the Web is becoming an unpleasant place," the group wrote on its Web site. "Pop-up windows, insidious spyware, and viruses that transmit through its lax security make life difficult and costly for users. Innovative features available elsewhere that make the Web quicker, more accessible and more useful haven't found their way into IE. Microsoft has been slow to respond to these problems."

14 comments

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Amen!
Been there, done that, life is sweet without $mall$oft.
Posted by (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Amen!
Been there, done that, life is sweet without $mall$oft.
Posted by (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
"Innovation" stops after market locked up
Why should Microsoft invest any further in it's browser (another idea it stole)? It locked up the browser war/market and it no longer had an incentive
(no competitor can compete with the Windows DISTRIBUTION advantage) to improve it's product.

This is a classic sign of a monopoly that is not good for consumers.
Posted by technewsjunkie (1265 comments )
Reply Link Flag
"Innovation" stops after market locked up
Why should Microsoft invest any further in it's browser (another idea it stole)? It locked up the browser war/market and it no longer had an incentive
(no competitor can compete with the Windows DISTRIBUTION advantage) to improve it's product.

This is a classic sign of a monopoly that is not good for consumers.
Posted by technewsjunkie (1265 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Nothing New
Why is everybody complaining? Most web sites are designed for IE. Try going to most banking sites and connect with non IE browsers. For this reason I do not do any online banking. I know that IE is pure crap and is a security risk. I own four different computers running Mac OS X, Win2K, Linux, and FreeBSD. Take a guess which requires the most handling and rebooting and updating.

I use alternative browsers, and any site that says IE required I don't visit. I don't do business with those sites online or offline.

Just my way to let the world know that IE should go the way of the dinosaurs.

Bill
Posted by wrwjpn (113 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Nothing New
Why is everybody complaining? Most web sites are designed for IE. Try going to most banking sites and connect with non IE browsers. For this reason I do not do any online banking. I know that IE is pure crap and is a security risk. I own four different computers running Mac OS X, Win2K, Linux, and FreeBSD. Take a guess which requires the most handling and rebooting and updating.

I use alternative browsers, and any site that says IE required I don't visit. I don't do business with those sites online or offline.

Just my way to let the world know that IE should go the way of the dinosaurs.

Bill
Posted by wrwjpn (113 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Did anyone else...
Did anyone else almost choke on their tongue with this statement? "And security backed by the processes and engineering discipline employed by Microsoft."

Robert
Posted by (336 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Did anyone else...
Did anyone else almost choke on their tongue with this statement? "And security backed by the processes and engineering discipline employed by Microsoft."

Robert
Posted by (336 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Weaning the masses from IE
IE's market dominance has nothing to do with any intrinsic merits. I don't believe a sane browserless person would opt to install IE on his/her system. But the fact is that IE is pre-installed on most PCs and the majority of users can't be bothered to install an alternative (and go through the hassle of importing bookmarks, addresses and the like).

It is the average user's apathy (and ignorance) that gives inferior products such as IE, WMP, Word etc. the lion share of the market.

IMHO, the challenge MS-alternatives face is not technical (it seems not that difficult to come up with something better than a MS product) but psychological in nature.

Yuki
Posted by (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Weaning the masses from IE
IE's market dominance has nothing to do with any intrinsic merits. I don't believe a sane browserless person would opt to install IE on his/her system. But the fact is that IE is pre-installed on most PCs and the majority of users can't be bothered to install an alternative (and go through the hassle of importing bookmarks, addresses and the like).

It is the average user's apathy (and ignorance) that gives inferior products such as IE, WMP, Word etc. the lion share of the market.

IMHO, the challenge MS-alternatives face is not technical (it seems not that difficult to come up with something better than a MS product) but psychological in nature.

Yuki
Posted by (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
non IE browser MOZZILLA FireFox
Just downloaded and used the Mozzilla Firefox browser. Can I tell you how much better this browser is over Internet Explorer 5.0. IT'S light-years ahead. It does everything that IE does, but about 4 times faster. I've got a cable broadband connnection and it creep'ed along with IE. Not so with Firefox. It blazes along. I think it's because IE gets loaded up with viruses and other ad ware that makes IE a target that isn't worth having anymore. I realize that there are websites that are catering to IE, but this Firefox really smokes compared to IE. Oh by the way, I use adaware by lavasoft to "cleanse IE and windows daily, which it did ok. But there were some coolwebsearch crappo that infiltrated through and aren't cleansed by adaware or stopped by norton. Why is it so difficult to stop these darn malware or adaware programs. It should be illegal for them to do this.
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Speed up Mozzilla Firefox
If you want to make it even faster, read this manual: <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.mozzilla.pl/speed-up-firefox.html" target="_newWindow">http://www.mozzilla.pl/speed-up-firefox.html</a>
Posted by tojan3 (2 comments )
Link Flag
non IE browser MOZZILLA FireFox
Just downloaded and used the Mozzilla Firefox browser. Can I tell you how much better this browser is over Internet Explorer 5.0. IT'S light-years ahead. It does everything that IE does, but about 4 times faster. I've got a cable broadband connnection and it creep'ed along with IE. Not so with Firefox. It blazes along. I think it's because IE gets loaded up with viruses and other ad ware that makes IE a target that isn't worth having anymore. I realize that there are websites that are catering to IE, but this Firefox really smokes compared to IE. Oh by the way, I use adaware by lavasoft to "cleanse IE and windows daily, which it did ok. But there were some coolwebsearch crappo that infiltrated through and aren't cleansed by adaware or stopped by norton. Why is it so difficult to stop these darn malware or adaware programs. It should be illegal for them to do this.
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Speed up Mozzilla Firefox
If you want to make it even faster, read this manual: <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.mozzilla.pl/speed-up-firefox.html" target="_newWindow">http://www.mozzilla.pl/speed-up-firefox.html</a>
Posted by tojan3 (2 comments )
Link Flag
 

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