September 30, 2004 4:00 AM PDT

IE--embraced, extended, extinct?

Despite all appearances, Microsoft insists it hasn't lost interest in Web browsers.

It has been years since Microsoft declared victory over browser pioneer Netscape Communications, and a long time since it last released a full upgrade to Internet Explorer (IE). Now critics say the company is fulfilling old predictions that it would embrace the browser and extend its capabilities, only to extinguish it.

Redmond rejects that notion, saying instead that the long wait for an IE update is an indication of the work it's putting into the next incarnation of the browser. If Microsoft's plans pan out, it will unveil dramatic new features that will take Web browsing to an entirely new level--in many ways stepping beyond the browser completely.

News.context

What's new:
Microsoft is facing growing criticism over its glaring neglect of Internet Explorer, but browser technology remains key to the future of Windows.

Bottom line:
Microsoft plans to unveil dramatic new features in future versions of its operating system that aim to take Web browsing to an entirely new level--in many ways stepping beyond the browser completely.

More stories on this topic

Because those features will be available only to people who also use the next version of Microsoft's Windows operating system, currently dubbed Longhorn, browser functions are expected to create a powerful reason for customers to upgrade.

"It's not accurate to say we're not doing work in this space," said Michael Wallent, general manager of Microsoft's Windows client platform and documents team. "My team, which is very large, has been working very hard the last three and a half years....We have not blown off IE at all. We care deeply about this market. It's supercritical."

Web developers and surfers alike might be forgiven for having suspected Microsoft of caring less than deeply about the browser.

Microsoft's last major browser release was in August 2001. The company in the summer of 2003 discontinued its browser for the Macintosh and said it would issue no more standalone versions of IE. Last month, the company released new IE security features in its Service Pack 2 (SP2) for the Windows XP operating system, but said only XP users would get those improvements.

Once praised for its standards compliance, IE is now denounced by Web developers as outdated. Meanwhile, there has been an outcry over the browser's lack of standards support for basic Web technologies like CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) and the PNG (Portable Network Graphics) image format, and for its lack of popular features like tabbed browsing.

Related coverage
IE gripes abound
Developers say IE lacks some
must-have features and standards.

At the heart of the controversy is Microsoft's longtime insistence that the browser isn't a standalone piece of software, as it is most commonly thought of, but merely a feature of the Windows operating system. In future releases of Windows, starting with the long-awaited Longhorn, Web browsing functionality will be embedded deeply within applications, reaffirming the Windows interface rather than the browser as the center of the computing experience.

Microsoft "would like to see rich application development move onto the client," said Paul Colton, founder and chief executive of Xamlon, which offers development tools that use the same approach Microsoft is taking with Longhorn. "They don't own the Internet. They own the desktop."

Microsoft, which makes most of its money from sales of its Windows operating system and Office application suite, refuses to characterize the Web browser as a threat to those businesses. But years ago, the computer industry and Wall Street alike saw that a highly functional Web and browser could indeed reduce the importance of both the OS and desktop applications, drawing consumers away from them.

That potential has been realized in some areas of computing, for example, Web-based e-mail. Microsoft anticipated that threat early with its 1997 purchase of Hotmail.

More comprehensively, the software giant met the Web threat embodied by browser start-up Netscape, which once commanded better than 85 percent of the market. Microsoft acquired browser technology from Spyglass that it turned into Internet Explorer. Through a relentless campaign that was later found to have violated antitrust law, Microsoft made quick work of Netscape, to the point that IE amassed by many estimates better than 95 percent of the browser market.

Despite an antitrust conviction, Microsoft emerged from its courtroom ordeal with its browser strategy essentially intact.

Critics in and out of court complained that Microsoft's quest for browser dominance was an effort to neutralize the threat of an open Web though an "embrace, extend, extinguish" strategy. By extending the technology beyond industry standards, the company could compel Web developers to code their sites to IE rather than to those standards. As a result, competing browsers would fail to render significant sites and remain marginal competitors.

IE defectors
Microsoft weathered vociferous campaigns by Web developers to support standards published by the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium). Now many of those same developers are urging surfers to dump IE in favor of standards-compliant browsers like the Mozilla Foundation's Firefox.

Perhaps worse for IE's reputation, security advisers including the U.S. government's CERT (Computer Emergency Readiness Team) have warned against using Microsoft's browser. (CERT praised SP2's security improvements, but half of Windows users can't access them without paying for an upgrade to XP.)

Related coverage
Planning to dump IE?
Think again
Web sites that cater to the browser
make life hard for switchers.

How much the Web as a whole is heeding the call to dump IE is unclear. Some Web site metrics suggest incremental drops in Microsoft's market share, but no studies have shown significant losses for IE across the Web.

In the absence of general feature updates, some suggest that Microsoft is acting as though it didn't care much about IE's market share, particularly as it's measured by consumer behavior.

"I don't think there is any question that the browser at this point has been somewhat neglected by Microsoft," said Stephen O'Grady, an analyst at RedMonk. "Regardless of the attention that Firefox and Mozilla have garnered, Microsoft still looks at the fact that their market share has not declined in a significant way...Consumers matter--they are the folks out there driving things like Google toolbars. But for Microsoft, the business customer is still 80 percent of revenues, and that is what they are most concerned with and apt to protect."

For both business and consumer computing, Microsoft is devoting its resources to Web-based technologies that could mute the browser's impact, specifically those that give an advantage to Windows-based systems.

For example, the company is hoping with Longhorn to create a whole new class of Windows applications that offer better ways of doing the same type of things that browsers do today. When it unveiled Longhorn at a developer conference last October, the company had Amazon.com demonstrate how such a program might work, offering a prototype camera store that could use Amazon's database, but offer a far more interactive and visually exciting way of navigating the store.

Editors' picks
Have the browser battles
been reignited?
Check out a selection of stories
from around the Web--and weigh in
with your take.
Microsoft's new Avalon graphics engine and XAML (Extensible Application Markup Language) programming schema allow companies to write Windows applications that easily interact with data over the Internet. Such applications also can run on their own, or within a browser--though only on a Windows-based machine.

"When we started Avalon back in 2001, we wanted to break the distinction of whether something was running inside the browser or outside," Microsoft's Wallent said.

He said Microsoft doesn't see the majority of Web sites deciding to jump free of the browser. The kinds of information most often accessed on the Web--news, stock quotes and shopping, are likely to stay there even in Longhorn.

Instead, Wallent said Microsoft is trying to make it easier for companies that already write desktop software to connect to the Internet. It also will help those Web companies that would like to have some additional software running on customers' computers--something photo sites like Ofoto are already doing.

Colton's company, Xamlon, essentially shares that vision. It is bringing to market a version of the XAML prior to Longhorn. Applications written in Xamlon's version can work within a browser, but only within Windows and, at least for now, only within Internet Explorer.

Colton said that while such an approach is good for Microsoft, it can also be good for consumers and businesses. "The experience is richer for the user; that's a fact."

Microsoft also defends such an approach.

"That's not (us) trying to take the Internet and make it private," Wallent said, noting that the company is not going to turn around to try to get all Web properties to develop in Avalon.

Of course, Microsoft needs only a small percentage of Internet companies to offer Windows-specific tools to have succeeded in giving the platform a leg up in a world in which all operating systems with standards-compliant Web browsers are equal.

The browser threat
On the other hand, it is a world where the browser usurps more and more of the tasks handled today by the operating system. That has long been seen as the threat that the browser poses, a fear reignited with rumors that Google could expand from search and e-mail to browsing and instant messaging, essentially providing a platform that could be accessed equally on Windows and non-Windows PCs.

Related coverage
Looking at IE's competition
Competing browsers sport varying appearances and different advantages.
"If another company like Google can deliver rich applications on the browser and be cross-platform, that's something to reckon with," Colton said. "That gets Microsoft back where they started" with the original browser wars.

Wallent said he is not worried that there will come a day where programs like Office and AutoCAD can be written in such a way as to easily run on any type of computer. "I'm not sure I quite buy into that vision," Wallent said.

But that still leaves as an open question how much work Microsoft will put into IE.

Given its emphasis on Avalon and XAML, O'Grady questioned whether it was worth Microsoft's investment in research and development to pursue development of IE--a platform that will lose importance if Longhorn performs the way it hopes it will.

At the same time, he questioned the degree to which Microsoft had neglected the browser.

"Still, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me," O'Grady said. "If Microsoft just added a few new features like tabbed browsing, it would automatically eliminate a lot of the basis for criticism that it is taking right now. I don't know technically what is involved. But I can't see why an organization the size of Microsoft can't do that. The only conclusion I can come to is that the browser is not the important platform to them that it once was."

CNET News.com's Mike Ricciuti contributed to this report.

Planning to dump IE? Think again
IE gripes abound
Have the browser battles been reignited?

48 comments

Join the conversation!
Add your comment
FUD??
IE Extinct? Microsoft neglects the browser?
Yet the article states that the is not data supporting these accusations. More CNet anti-MS FUD.

But what really gets to me is the ridiculous quibble about "tabbed" browsing. To be honest, I hate it, and I'm growing weary of people touting it as a big advantage. Its a layout preference, no doubt... but on my 3-monitor workstation I'd dump any tabbed browser for the ability to easily spread browser windows across my desktop. Who wants to only stare at one source of data at a time? Its just like another takbar... but one that keeps moving around.
Posted by David Arbogast (1709 comments )
Reply Link Flag
i agree but
you can tab and also use multiple windows... assuming you put them into multiple windows first you can stare at them at the same time
Posted by volterwd (466 comments )
Link Flag
I agree too
If you don't like tabbed browsing you should not be forced to use it. Hey just because FF has it all over IE is no reason to switch and don't let anyone tell you any different.
Posted by Not Bugged (195 comments )
Link Flag
I agree, and there are a lot more reasons I would not make the move
I'll start off by stating that I like IE a lot more than all the other browsers. IE hasn't had a major update in 3 years, but still seems to be ahead in many respects other than lil minor trinkets that the other browsers have.

Tabbed Browsing - I know a lot of people are fans of this method of browsing, but there is another half of the world that just hates it (including myself). Tabbed browsing is one of the things preventing me from using FireFox, and so on. They don't provide a quick way of disabling the tabs all completely.

Multi Process Running - Most of the "IE Competitors" don't provide ways to run new browser instances in seperate processes. So if a site causes one of the browser windows to fail, they all die making you lose all the pages and work you were on.

No custom toolbars - IE competitors don't provide a standard to developing custom toolbars. I can't live without my Google toobar, and I am not simply talking about the capability of search box being there. I would miss my highlight, up level navigation, page info and site search. Most web companies have killer toolbars for using their site. What is opera's solution? Firefox? etc.

Integration with Office tools? - IE offers great integration capabilities with MS Office, and offers APIs for integration which gives access to the same integration to other office tool companies, which for some reason most don't use. Just about every web related software can be integrated into IE, from Dreamweaver to your Digital Camera's software. FireFox doesn't have any real level of support.

The list of things that are missing in these new browsers, which are supported on the OLD TIMER IE, is just too big to mention here. SO when people complain about not having tab browsing, or google search as their default search engine, I just laugh.

IE is not going anywhere. No new browser will even touch a significant amount of the capabilities that IE offers. Even if it takes another 3 years, IE will still remain on top in terms of feature lists and so on.

Take care...
Posted by WishER (7 comments )
Link Flag
Replace IE on Domain automatically with MSI
Do you have access to a domain controller? If you do then why not do your company a favour and install Firefox with a Group Policy install! While you are it remove links to IE and replace with Firefox!

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.webheat.co.uk/firefox.php" target="_newWindow">http://www.webheat.co.uk/firefox.php</a>

If you are brave enough to try this please let me know how it goes.
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
foolish
Don't you mean, "foolish enough?"

You suggest that server admins should be "brave" and install software on a domain controller that updates all the computers on a network and touches every desktop??

Pal... these are not decisions that are made by server administrators. Somebody who thinks they are being brave by doing this will get fired in a heartbeat. There are correct channels for proposing and discussing architecture changes, and the "brave admin" approach is the worst approach of all.
Posted by David Arbogast (1709 comments )
Link Flag
IE is VERY outdated! See this example.
Yes, IE (Internet Explorer) is very outdated. How do I know? I'm one of those Web site designers who code Web pages, and have been trying to inform people of how bad a Web browser IE is for quite some time.

CSS has been standardized since the mid-1990's, yet IE still can't correctly interpret it.

For proof, I offer this URL (not an advertisement, there's not even a banner ad there): www.cyberwolfman.com/css_web_browsers_history.htm

On it, I show specific parts of the page the way they should look if the Web browser you're using is up to date, with small pictures. As the URL suggests, it also has a brief history of Web browsers, so if you don't know it, yet, please read it. Always happy to do my part to share information with others.

Since IE is around a decade out of date at the time of this story (September 30th, 2004) regarding CSS and other code, what confidence should we have in it being secure against exploits discovered in IE only recently, which could allow others to use it as a way to gain unlimited access to our computers?

How silly do you have to be to use a Web browser that's tied in with your OS (operating system), and is, for most people, nearly inseperable from the OS?

In regards to how many people have been using Mozilla's products, my network traffic shows around 1/10 the number of those who use IE use Mozilla.

Learn as much as you can, and spread knowledge to others. :-)

- CyberWoLfman
Posted by CyberWoLfman (47 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Thanks for the info
CyberWoLfman ,
I appreciate the info as your expertise is gigs over mine, and I can use all the help I can from someone like you who can code etc.

I will go see the link info ,and if you ever get time, I would love to know what anti-spyware and other security s/f you would recommend. I have spent too much on too many that must not have been worth the money.

Gezz, if a woman can't take a work break ( self-employed )and surf clothes or make-up sites then what is the web coming to ? I mean, go peek at the Gap and get invaded; that's no fair. Haha, it is good to 'window shop' at home.

My probs came from not being able to toss IE out of my pc as run XP os and my daughter was using that ( IE )to surf. Then after major system recoveries 3 times this year, I tried every way I could to disable IE from opening at all. What a headache!Ads, already hidding imbedded in my pc( registry I guess ) were bringing IE up 'every second' with an ad from www.ads234.com and a few others ; it was killing my pc, and nothing I had could stop it. Norton's security, going in my pc and doing all I could to stop IE from opening, blocking controls,spy bot( which I like), noadware (noadware-waste of money there and they would not return my money)nothing would help; it was too late. I hate IE and the companies which send out unwanted invasions. Who would want to buy anything from a company which spams your pc into no-where land.It was controlled and removing spy ware took files I needed. I now run a good anti key logger. I would love to know what else is worth money to let me surf in peace. I have been a major fan of Netscape for years now. Moz does the trick !
I have been comparing anti-apywares and etc online, but am trying to make sure it not a promotion done by an ad web site, thus paid for, but want independent thoughts.
I wish IE did not have such power over my os, and could be taken out for good, with Netscape being the default os browser from the get-go.
Posted by Page S (7 comments )
Link Flag
quotes
Microsoft also defends such an approach.

"That's not (us) trying to take the Internet and make it private," Wallent said, noting that the company is not going to turn around to try to get all Web properties to develop in Avalon.

Stve Earle

"if you believe that we're going to get along just fine" form "snakeoil"

I'm in no way impling the S. Ballmer is a power hungry thug who would overthrow the government if he could get away with it.

-jfs
Posted by mpotter28 (130 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I have no problem with....
If Microsoft wants to make IE an intergrated part of Windows that is fine. I don't much care. But no matter how they go about it, either IE as a standalone program or IE as an intergrated part of Windows the fact still remains that it is way outdated. If they want to make IE part of Windows then they should not make people wait 6 or 7 years for updates to Windows. Technology moves to fast for this type of update timing. The chances are very good that by the time Longhorn does ship it will already be obsolute. We can not afford to wait this length of time. Microsoft needs to release smaller less expensive OS/IE updates once per year. $25 or $30 upgrades that keep the new features, increase security, improves standards compatibility, etc. is much better than waiting 6 or 7 and it ending up taking so long that it is obsolete.

As for backwards compatbility with old web sites that is a very poor reason to not update IE so it is standards compliant. This is why Windows is such a major pile it has taken MS too long to get rid of DOS and that they are still working on. Just because they wanted to keep backwards compatibility. If customers don't want to upgrade and get out of the stonage then that is their problem, the rest of shouldn't have to suffer for it.

Robert
Posted by (336 comments )
Reply Link Flag
But IE is "integrated" for other than browsing
You miss the point, in that the "integration" of IE to Windows involved MS moving key code dealing with OLE-style automation (back in the Windows 95 era) into a few small files that were IE program files.

This forced application developers to include Windows Explorer with most apps. How? Because MS would thereafter not allow the few small files to be included alone with any third party app. The license terms only allowed the whole Internet Explorer browser to be included. It was all or none.

MS now uses IE as part of the code library that supports numerous facets of Windows, including the HTML Help system, the file browser, and so forth.

As used in this way, much of the Internet BROWSING functionality need not be updated at all. Conversely, a point will be reached as the IE code ages that regular third party apps will either have to be coded twice (for older Windows and Longhorn), or third party apps will essentially stop working with older Windows as they are issued in newer versions or even updates in existing versions.

By not updating IE, MS is not obsoleting just the browser, but is making the support of older Windows versions by third party software makers less and less likely when Longhorn appears. Hence Microsoft's caution that Longhorn means new software.

Thus the bigger issue is not that the IE browser will be obsolete come Longhorn, but that millions of Windows users--whose PCs use the old IE that will not likely be commonly coded for in Longhorn apps--will also find themselves sitting on Boat Anchors, so to speak.
Posted by PolarUpgrade (103 comments )
Link Flag
Insanity
New versions of software ONCE PER YEAR?!? How long have you been watching the IT industry. Obviously, you have no clue about the economics of proprietary software. Any company that tried to sell a new version once per year would find themselves in a real mess. How many companies are going to pay to upgrade entire offices of computers every year?

The expense is not in the purchase of the software. I don't understand why people don't understand that. Even at $400 per copy, purchasing Windows is cheaper than deploying it across an organization. Obviously, earning a return on investment is something you haven't considered.
Posted by David Arbogast (1709 comments )
Link Flag
And .NET will soon extinguish the public Internet
Microsoft has already cleverly rebuilt most of its applications so that they tie in to IE functionality for viewing and so forth. This already means that one will need Longhorn do do even simple software updates to later programs.

So IE in some sense is now already used by all Windows users even when the are not browsing per se. Example: Windows Explorer.

Now, with .NET and Longhorn Microsoft will be using a programmatic model that requires .NET, which depends on IE as a front end in may ways, as the necessary predicate for application deployment and use.

The .NET Internet will be used merely in the way trucks use public highways--for transport any nothing else. As electricity uses wires--as a mere conduit.

The great brilliance here is that MS has done with IE what Netscape could have done--become a new application platform within Windows. But MS is placing the new platform "within" the Internet!

IE with .NET is that new application platform, and it is cleverly and deeply Windows-embedded, which is why in Longhorn is the only place it will again be seen as a new product.

The .NET environment represents the server-based Internet "replacement" that does to the Internet for MS what Netscape could have done to Windows--inserting a new platform WITHIN the product (in this case the Internet) that renders the Internet redundant. Talk about the Revenge of the Redmondians!

With Longhorn MS will not even need the Internet to deploy apps, but will merely crowd out the Internet's non-.NET users by filling the Internet pipeline with roped off Longhorn-only accessible detritus.

I believe incidentally that this has long been what the huge updates via Windows Update have been about--creating a market expectation of lowered Internet capacity. Not only will .NET Longhorn be a requiresd item for meaningful access, but traditional Internetters may find themselves fighting for bandwidth crumbs.

The event horizon here is that MS will eventually cut deals with phone and cable companies to go back to the proprietary online system that was pioneered as .NET, using fiber-optic connections not even connected to the Internet.

Regulators wake up: Microsoft's next prey is the public Internet itself.
Posted by PolarUpgrade (103 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Demise of IE and Kudos to Mozilla movement!!
I truly think the lack of competition in the browser area for a while has hit innovation in this space.

Microsoft didn't see a threat to its browser monopoly after the sudden and sad demise of Netscape strong hold.

But now, with Firefox and other variants in the market, Microsoft will be forced to adapt or become extinct in the browser market (sooner or later).

I truly think Microsoft is great at immitating and not necessarily "innovation".

Kudos to the mozilla team:
I truly admire the mozilla movement, and what they have done to communicator 7.1, 7.2, and most recently the firefox. The performance is good, beats IE!! the usability is also so much nicer.

I have stopped using IE and moved to Mozilla...

-
Sudhakar

opinion expressed here are those of myself and not of the company I work for.
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
open-source
...whatever Microsoft will do with IE in Longhorn, open-source can do...better &#38; safer.
Posted by TBolt (70 comments )
Reply Link Flag
But only in a fading non-.NET Windows
We must remember that Open Source apps running in Windows depende entirely on that Windows environment. If that environment is left out in the cold, there goes Open Source.

When the key environment transitions to one that essentially establishesd a proprietary pipleine between apps and servers that is a super-set of Windows (accessible only by playing in the .NOPTOPENSOURCE sandbox), Open Source apps will be redundant.

Or at least they will have to recode to a new standard. How much stomach or millions of dollars do you think the Open Source community has for such a transition to what coulld amount to ever-changing code platforms over time?
Posted by PolarUpgrade (103 comments )
Link Flag
Riiiiight....
Well... when Longhorn ships, we'll look for better implementions of all its features in open-source software. Something tells me you have it wrong. Open-source will implement the features only after the developers can study them, and clone them.
Posted by David Arbogast (1709 comments )
Link Flag
Open Source is the Imitator...
Kind of funny how most of the open-source movements out there are just knockoffs of existing Windows and other commercial software efforts, isn't it?

And yet people continue to criticize MS for being an "imitator"...
Posted by (127 comments )
Link Flag
M$ is scared
M$ is scared of thin-client computing. Longhorn is a fat-client computing structure. If IE will be as good as a true thin-client computing environment why on the world would someone buy a fat-client OS???
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Wrong
You honestly believe that by eliminating half of the processing potential and half the memory, you can acheive the exact same or better results with a thin-client platform? Hardly likely.

I think you are wrong. Microsoft is not scared of thin-client computing. They simply don't agree that it is an effective replacement for fat-client computing. In some areas, thin-clients are fine... and for that reason, Microsoft actually offers thin-client tools. But betting the farm on an all thin-client architecture is a vision that has left more than a few companies in the mud.

No, Microsoft is not scared of thin-client... they are just focusing on areas of computing with greater potential. We tried the all thin-client approach. Remember mainframes? People like their PCs. If they didn't, 90% of the stories and comments on news.com would be absolutely pointless.
Posted by David Arbogast (1709 comments )
Link Flag
Who has the CA$H
Give me a break. M$ is not scared of Firefox.

The article is just a silly and wrong perspective.

Just wait and see. IE is here to stay
Posted by Stan Johnson (322 comments )
Link Flag
Browse Happy!
Find out why Internet Explorer is unsafe and explore your
browsing options here:

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://browsehappy.com/browsers/" target="_newWindow">http://browsehappy.com/browsers/</a>

Use browsers that adhere to web standards and avoid sites that
only support IE!
Posted by edgedesign (290 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Silly Article --- IE is here to stay
Give me a break. IE is here to stay just follow the money as in M$.

IE has NEVER given me any problems. Ever
Posted by Stan Johnson (322 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Okay is it me or is this article full of contradictions?
quoted from the article
&lt;----
Redmond rejects that notion, saying instead that the long wait for an IE update is an indication of the work it's putting into the next incarnation of the browser. If Microsoft's plans pan out, it will unveil dramatic new features that will take Web browsing to an entirely new level--in many ways stepping beyond the browser completely.

Because those features will be available only to people who also use the next version of Microsoft's Windows operating system, currently dubbed Longhorn, browser functions are expected to create a powerful reason for customers to upgrade.

(then later in the article)
For both business and consumer computing, Microsoft is devoting its resources to Web-based technologies that could mute the browser's impact, specifically those that give an advantage to Windows-based systems.

Microsoft's new Avalon graphics engine and XAML (Extensible Application Markup Language) programming schema allow companies to write Windows applications that easily interact with data over the Internet. Such applications also can run on their own, or within a browser--though only on a Windows-based machine.

"When we started Avalon back in 2001, we wanted to break the distinction of whether something was running inside the browser or outside," Microsoft's Wallent said.

Instead, Wallent said Microsoft is trying to make it easier for companies that already write desktop software to connect to the Internet. It also will help those Web companies that would like to have some additional software running on customers' computers--something photo sites like Ofoto are already doing.

"That's not (us) trying to take the Internet and make it private," Wallent said, noting that the company is not going to turn around to try to get all Web properties to develop in Avalon.

------------&gt;

So Microsoft is developing a bunch of web technologies that will only work in Windows longhorn. Microsoft will also determine how those technologies work and any standards for said technologies. And yet Microsoft isn't trying to make the web private? It sounds like they are making a play for the way they internet works and they want to determine exactly what it will and won't do.

What about Mac, linux, bsd, cell phone, and pda users who access the internet? I've heard the pundits saying the internet is going to be a source for change, a way to bring democracy and freedom of information to the world. And here is Microsoft again planning windows specific extensions to the web that will only be available in Windows.

Anyone who knows the history of the internet knows it was started as a DARPA project and has since been made available to the public. As such it is the public's property much like local state and public parks and libraries. What Microsoft is planning with Longhorn and the web is not that dissimilar to a Hotel chain building a resort in a national park and then demanding the right to say who can make reservations and who can't.

If they insist on making such basic changes to the way personal computers interact with the web and web sites then it should be mandatory that the source code be made public so that everyone and anyone can view it and use it, free of charge.

Here is another quote from the article I find frightening

&lt;-------
Colton said that while such an approach is good for Microsoft, it can also be good for consumers and businesses. "The experience is richer for the user; that's a fact."
-----&gt;

Isn't that what ActiveX was supposed to do? And isn't the methods ActiveX is based on the reason Windows computers are so vulnerable to virii? If Microsoft ties Longhorn and other applications so tightly with the OS it will be difficult to tell where your computer stops and the internet begins and they make longhorn backwards compatible with old versions of windows, how on earth are they ever going to make it secure?

Even if you don't agree with me about what Microsoft is planning for the internet you must realize that such tight integration between the web and your Operation system is a serious security risk. It seems like they are only exposing people to more risks of attacks in ever more varied forms.
Posted by lameth (15 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Things Change... deal.
Integration does not inherently mean poor security. The way I see it, the Internet is there to be used however we see fit within the limits of the law. That is what made it so successful to date, and that is what makes it great. If Microsoft wants to use the Internet a little differently than it is being used right now, that's fine by me. If they improve the user experience, it'll pay of handsomly. Lets not be frightened of new ideas, integration, and innovation. Fighting to lock down standards and keep everybody working the same way is counterproductive in the long run. Why are you afraid to see what Microsoft is working on?
Posted by David Arbogast (1709 comments )
Link Flag
Microsoft Internet (Monopoly) Exploiter
I think there is a point here that is not being considered: Freedom Of Choice. By not fully supporting web standards, M$ is forcing webmasters to code for the inadequacies of their Internet client, thereby breaking Internet clients that fully support the standards.

It should come as no surprise that M$ does not offer a client on any other platform besides Winblows. Since they have a heavy share of the browser market, there is no incentive to provide one. Nor is there an incentive for innovation. In order to get a version of their "new" browser, you will have to upgrade the whole OS. This is monopoly by any other name.

If the auto industry was run like the M$ mediocracy, windshield wipers would be an option only in areas that can expect rain, and the wipers would have to be upgraded every other month, as its customers encouter different kinds of debris that can end up on the windshield. And you would have to *pay* for this option!

I, for one, am very afraid to run a browser that is so deeply imbedded into the OS. A correctly coded browser should not need lower-level OS functions in order to correctly render a web page. Just like I don't buy those combination DVD/VCR/TVs, I don't want my browser embedded into my OS. I may pay a little more for my equipment, but I can be assured that the equipment I choose is the best for the job it was designed for.

For anyone interested in addons and toolbars for Mozilla, you can go to <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.mozdev.com/" target="_newWindow">http://www.mozdev.com/</a> and download &#38; install them to your heart's content. They're even cross-platform, so they'll work on whatever plaform you have Mozilla installed on.

Isn't that what Java does, M$? Oh wait, you don't support other platforms, so you don't support Java. Your innovative "See Sharp" only works on a Winblows platform. Jeese, what was I thinking?

So to sum it up: Freedom of Choice is the best option to have. This is whether you run Netscape, Mozilla, Firefox, Opera, IE, Lynx, or any of the other web browsers that I have surely failed to mention here.

Freedom of Choice == A level playing field for *ALL* browsers.
Posted by phobet (43 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Flawed Analogy
Your analogy of automobiles is severely flawed.
Even in their current state, web browsers are far more standardized than automobiles. Cars have different fuel requirements, oil requirements, tire sizes, headlamp specifications, speed measurement units, driver controls, licensing requirements.... I could go on forever.

When 90% of the world uses a certain set of technology, it is difficult to suggest that the "standard" is something different... just because some people who hate Microsoft say so.
Posted by David Arbogast (1709 comments )
Link Flag
It's all about gains
If one organisation proves it's good at producing a decent desktop browser, and another proves it's good at producingg a decent portable browser, surely this is bettr than one single company trying to do all at once which is what will happen if Microsoft succeed in squeezing out the competition, rather than working alongside other organisations to produce a better (standards compliant) web.
Posted by JJedy (13 comments )
Link Flag
Umm M$ in cars? Sadly you are not far off!
A few articles on the subject. I don't know about you, but having my car wireless connected to a celular network and running M$ embedded sounds kind of scary.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.windowsfordevices.com/news/NS5155857065.html" target="_newWindow">http://www.windowsfordevices.com/news/NS5155857065.html</a>

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2002/mar02/03-04BMWpr.asp" target="_newWindow">http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2002/mar02/03-04BMWpr.asp</a>

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.winplanet.com/article/1153-.htm" target="_newWindow">http://www.winplanet.com/article/1153-.htm</a>

I remember in the 90's an article where the Navy installed WinNT on a battle ship and the whole system crashed. Leaving the ship defenseless for over two days in the Atlantic.

What's next, embedded wetware for my brain so M$ can check my brain registration?
Posted by zeroplane (286 comments )
Link Flag
So remove IE
If you can pay attention to detail:
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.vorck.com/remove-ie.html" target="_newWindow">http://www.vorck.com/remove-ie.html</a>
If you cannot pay attention to detail:
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://nuhi.msfn.org" target="_newWindow">http://nuhi.msfn.org</a>
Posted by fdv (6 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Funny
IE won't Die, Not because People Don't use it, or More ppl Download FF or Moz. but because it is a part of the OS. Put simply anyone who owns (will)Longhorn or XP has IE. -point blank-

Also I could careless if MS updated IE. I'm just glad when I got my os I had IE, there so I could download another Browser. so far I think Deepnet a off shoot of IE is the best browser, but I got FF and Moz too for my print jobs.
Posted by simcity1976 (136 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Do not bundle into OS!
A) I do not want more bloatware and broken file associations

B) If Microsoft's "middleware" products (browsers and Media
Players) are as good as Microsoft publically states - they should
SELL them, separately, and compete like the rest of us!

C) Asking, no telling, the consumers they half to wait YEARS to
pay for an entire OS upgrade is monopolistic and does NOT
consider the consumer, as they like to purport!
Posted by technewsjunkie (1265 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Responses
A) I do not want more bloatware and broken file associations

-) I have had a great experience with Microsoft software for the past 10 years. Yes, I run Linux also... but I don't see bloatware or broken file associations as a regular or even frequent problem.

B) If Microsoft's "middleware" products (browsers and Media Players) are as good as Microsoft publically states - they should SELL them, separately, and compete like the rest of us!

-) Hey... if Linux is just as good as its competition, why don't people just SELL it? Opensource browsers are not competing in the market, they are trying to destroy it. All web browsers are free. Why should Microsoft charge?


C) Asking, no telling, the consumers they half to wait YEARS to pay for an entire OS upgrade is monopolistic and does NOT consider the consumer, as they like to purport!

-) Almost every change to Windows is based on user feedback and customer surveys. Microsoft builds Windows and their development schedule will dictate when releases are ready for public consumption. Businesses appreciate a few years of stability, as constantly releasing new versions causes continued compatibility problems as well as the need to test and deploy new systems. This is expensive. Consumers are not complaining about this.
Posted by David Arbogast (1709 comments )
Link Flag
i am weary
well, we all love to hate the big dog, but i think bill gates has something up his sleeve. i hope that the new windows os will be completely different. why else would he be waiting so long. i switched to mac recently, and i am a happy switcher, but im not a windows hater, in fact i feel kind of bad for windows...i know its large and in charge...but because we, the consumers, the developers, etc, have tried to pin down microsoft, it's current os is suffering.

i think gates knows what needs to be done, and i'm sure longhorn will be an os that will revolutionize computer interfaces, i for one could not believe how much less mous reliance is needed on a mac for instance, but ther are still some things that windows has in terms of naviagtion that i haven't found yet on mac's os. i think in the end, ms will come out with longhorn and drive everyone over at mac back at the drawing board (i love their os). ms isn't going the every year, update route, it's most likely going to be dramatically different.

and then all the hackers, and malware programmers will start biting and scratching again...even though they are probably using windows too...the os itself is pretty good, but you put anything up against scrutiny of a million magnifying glasses and you're going to find flaws.
Posted by mrilloraza (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
What's wrong with Microsoft?
Why does Microsoft insist on charging customers to upgrade to XP to give them a secure IE browser?

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.webcenter.squarespace.com/browser-wars-ie-google/" target="_newWindow">http://www.webcenter.squarespace.com/browser-wars-ie-google/</a>

They have pissed off the entire computing community and folks will switch to MAC and Linux because of this dumb move.

This is the best thing to happen to Apple and Open source ever, Microsoft Greed!
Posted by anthonycea (103 comments )
Reply Link Flag
IE ; who can trust it?
I am using IE today as it is the default browser on my XP os ( I need to get Netscape d/led again and I bought a good anti-keylogger), and I recently had to do my 3rd system recovery from malware and using IE. The malware was so good , it would go in and change spybots settings-over and over. It would redo the IE settings even though locked, so my pc was seriously invaded. Anti -spyware's were each picking up different problems, but not exactly the same, so how many does one have to run at one time?
I wasted money on Noadware ( prone to corrupt files, install problems ,and is basically a bare bones- worthless as a product) and they would not return my money as they had advertised, so I advise people to keep your money and stay away from that company.

Several months ago my pc was invaded from using IE , and I was running five different protection softwares. First, that shows that many are selling products that do not do the job they proclaim. Second, it is ironic one is told to use windows update when it seems to be a threat itself. Microsoft is a sick game for too many sick minded people who want to exploit the products and the name. They have done that too.
I use Netscape with little problems, but the d/l takes a long time and now my files are still corrupted some , so the d/ls are not taking.
I tried to toss IE, the root of the problem, out of my pc, but had no luck.
On the up swing,IE and Netscape are only a few seconds slower than the advertised Opera, which I timed yesterday in comparison.
The compatibility for web surfing is a true headache as some sites can be pulled with Netscape and not IE, and most can be pulled and viewed better with IE ( not all), but it is a scary product to run. I was glad to hear Gates has had malware problems too( he needs to make his products better ), but mine have been serious and I do not surf far or vast on the web.
Why has the web become such a dangerous and unfun area to use? Can't something be done about the spywares and ads , which are unwanted, but can trickliy deposit themselves one one's pc?
I won't give up, but do not trust Microsoft products until , if ever, they can make themselves hardier and safer to use against the vast invaders on the net.
Now, back to getting a copy of Netscape ; this tme by CD. Gates, ya gotta get your groove on with your products as you monopolized much and now using your IE can make one actually loose much.
Posted by Page S (7 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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