Saturday, May 31, 2003

WinInfo Short Takes: Week of June 2: Microsoft Drops the Ball with Internet Explorer

WinInfo Short Takes: Week of June 2: Microsoft Drops the Ball with Internet Explorer "If there are truly people still working on IE these days, they should be ashamed of themselves: As I noted yesterday, the product hasn't been demonstrably improved, from an end user application perspective, since 1998. However, reader Terje Sten Bjerkseth (and subsequently, several others) sent me a link yesterday (URL below) that presents Microsoft's take on the future of IE, and the news just went from bad to worse. When asked in a recent online chat about the next version of IE, Brian Countryman, an IE Program Manager, said, "As part of the OS, IE will continue to evolve, but there will be no future standalone installations. IE6 SP1 is the final standalone installation." The reason? "Legacy OSes have reached their zenith with the addition of IE 6 SP1," he said. "Further improvements to IE will require enhancements to the underlying OS." Sadly, this perspective is skewed, and suggests Microsoft believes IE is somehow at the "zenith" of the Web browser heap. But as I also mentioned yesterday, IE lacks basic yet important features, especially automatic pop-up ad removal, that virtually all the competition has, and adding any of these features wouldn't require changes to the base OS. So here's the problem, in my opinion: Microsoft believes that the browser is functionally complete, and can only be improved by adding eye candy that's made possible by the underlying platform (Longhorn, in this case). That's baloney, and as several people mentioned via email, suggests IE development is only important when it can be used to steal market share from other browsers."

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