Microsoft uses standards to excuse blocking browsers from
21:28, 25 Oct 2001 UTC | Edd Dumbill has taken the step of blocking non-Internet Explorer browsers from its web site, claiming lack of standards compliance as its reason for the action.

A report from CNET's explains the situation. Opera, Mozilla and some versions of Netscape are prevented from accessing the site. Users are instead presented with a message advising them to download Internet Explorer for Windows or Macintosh. It would seem users running Linux or other platforms are not even permitted to view the site.

The CNET report details Microsoft's response:

"All of our development work for the new is...W3C standard," said Bob Visse, the director of MSN marketing, referring to the World Wide Web Consortium, which is developing industry standards for Web technologies. "For browsers that we know don't support those standards or that we can't insure will get a great experience for the customer, we do serve up a page that suggests that they upgrade to an IE browser that does support the standards."
"We do identify the string from the browser, and the only issue that we have is that the Opera browser doesn't support the latest XHTML standard," said Visse.

A very generous mind may perhaps consider it understandable -- although against the spirit of the Web -- that platforms other than those that Microsoft develop for are excluded. However, the exclusion of competing browsing software with the flimsy, and markedly inaccurate, excuse of non-standards-compliance is a breathtaking perversion of Microsoft's participation in the whole web standards process.

This is clearly not an issue in which any member of the xmlhack editorial team can take an impartial stance, but we feel it important to bring to the attention of the XML community. We urge those involved in W3C standards to distance themselves from this cynical misuse of standards to achieve corporate aims.


Update: Other browsers are to be let back in, but MSN's Visse still persists in using the excuse of standards compliance, which is the most upsetting aspect of the whole saga. Standards are being used as a buzzword to throw up a smokescreen, continuing the steady erosion of what it actually means to have a standard.

Update: While Microsoft had claimed to open access, the outage continues.

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Guy Macon, electrical enginee ...
Re: In support of Microsoft (R. Downsen - 16:50, 1 Aug 2002)
As Bill Gates would say it, "that's the dumbest thing I ever heard"
In support of Microsoft (Brian A. Macek - 23:58, 1 Jan 2002)
While the Internet preceeds Microsoft by almost 30 years, it only blossomed into a staple of our soc ...
Have I misunderstood something? I thought creating a website was the control of the person paying f ...
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