Microsoft Bashing

… aah, that old favourite. Yes, it’s that time of year again when web professionals get together to have sly little digs at Microsoft, criticise IE and tell everyone they should be using Firefox on a Mac. Well bollocks to that. I know Internet Explorer (particularly version 6.0 and below) isn’t perfect. I know it has rendering issues. I know there have been security issues with it in the past. But part of the reason it gets targetted by hackers is because it is by far the most widely used browser. I’m sure if Opera, Firefox, Safari et al came under the same degree of sustained attack as IE, people would find problems with those too.

And by all means, don’t use Microsoft products if you don’t want to. But I think it’s a little bit rude to go off on the IE’s own website and post unhelpful and abusive comments on there. If you really hate Microsoft and IE that much, what are you doing on the site in the first place? All of the following comments (and many many more) were found on the IE Blog IE7 is Coming This Month…Are You Ready?

oh i forget, IE makes webpages goes wrong because doesn’t accept W3C

what? you mean it won’t render pages written in HTML? Or that it doesn’t believe the W3C exists? Or is it like a “State of Israel” thing where Microsoft deny the right of the W3C to exist? Or is it just possibly that you don’t know what you’re talking about?

IE and all versions of it sucks, yeah I’m ready…I’m ready to decline the update when it prompts me for it. And I’ll just stick with my RELIABLE Firefox thank you very much.

Again, that’s entirely your choice. As it happens, I tend to use Firefox as my default browser — although I do also use IE and Opera. However, you’ve just pointed out that you don’t like it and you don’t want to use it. That’s fine, and I have no problem with that. I just don’t know why you felt the need to share it with the world on the IE blog, which by its very nature is where people will go when they want to find out about IE. I suspect that they would visit other websites if they wanted to learn about Firefox.

W3C and CSS is not supported because they are obsolete garbage.

What? CSS is no longer supported? I think that’s rather unlikely. As a matter of fact, I thought one of the points of IE7 was that it was going to provide better support for css than previous versions. And so far as I know “W3C” isn’t a technical standard that is expected to be supported by anyone. It’s a body that produces standards. And if they’re rejecting the body entirely, then I’m presuming they won’t be supporting HTML either. Again, someone is talking bollocks.

Ready for what? ‘Nuff said.

Um… thanks. That’s a big help. In case you weren’t aware, I think they were asking if you and your websites were ready for IE7, hence the question “IE7 is Coming This Month … Are You Ready?”

I cannot believe we will be forced to download IE7 through automatic updates. IE7 should be provided by default (as is already) on future MS operating system’s while given “savy” users on older operating system’s the choice of downloading and installing.

Hang on. You can’t believe we’re going to be forced to download IE7 through automatic updates and IE7 should instead be provided by default on future operating systems. So do you want Microsoft to be giving us all a free copy of Windows Vista, with IE7 included? I mean, I’d quite like it if they did but I can’t see it happening!

The other side of this is that I had thought — although I may have misunderstood — that various governments, monopolies commissions and anti-trust type of things weren’t particularly enamoured with the fact that IE came bundled with Windows because they believed it reduced the chance of other browser manufacturers to pitch their product. My — admittedly limited and possibly incorrect — knowledge of this was that it turned out as something along the lines of Microsoft can bundle IE with Windows, but they have to be willing to supply it without too, in case some manufacturer wants to install a different browser on the machines they sell.

And Microsoft have already said that a version of IE7 will ship with Windows Vista. So what, exactly, is your problem?

CAREFUL! If you don’t have genuine Windows, IE7 will either not install or worse.

Right. And the fact you’re using a hacked product makes it somehow Microsoft’s fault, does it? Forgive me but I’d thought that the whole point of Microsoft’s Genuine Windows Advantage program was that users with a genuine version of Microsoft Windows would be at an advantage. Obviously one of us is missing something, and I’ve got a sneaking suspicion it’s not me…

IE7 is not a good predecessor for IE6

No, that’s true. But nor am I a very good ancestor to my grandfather, and it would be harsh to expect otherwise.

Friggin’ Microsoft

Again, thanks for sharing. My understanding of the problems with IE7 has been greatly enhanced by your comment. If only everyone was as lucid and helpful as you…

Strange, anyways i reccomend firefox.

Again, feel free to recommend what you like. Recommending firefox on a site where people have specifically come to learn about Internet Explorer may be a little off-topic, however.

We should scrap IE all-together, if we recommend and get people to use better browsers (namely Firefox), it’ll help push the internet away from Microsoft.

So the Mozilla Foundation have more right to the web than Microsoft do they? What about Google? Yahoo? Should we tell people to stop using them too? Why don’t we only use things that are free? Well, you give me a free PC and I’ll think about it. But if I have to pay for hardware, and no-one’s saying we shouldn’t use that, then why should a specific software/platform manufacturer be targeted? Of course we know why. It’s because they’re Microsoft, and somewhere along the lines, Microsoft appear to have picked up the tag of being the Evil Corporate Empire with Bill Gates as the Emperor and Chris Wilson as some kind of Rowlf/Darth Vader hybrid. Microsoft are a company which make a large amount of money, this is true. They’ve been embroiled in lawsuits and been accused of lots of things, this is true. But that doesn’t automatically mean that everything Microsoft, or its employees says or does is automatically wrong or bad in some way.

Don’t forget that all of these comments have been published on Microsoft’s site, and if they wanted to be arsey about it, they could just remove anything critical, but they don’t. I’m sure they remove some tosh, but judging by what’s left behind they could possibly be harsher in the culling process. So remember: the Evil Corporate Empire are allowing people to publicly criticise them, on their site, using their bandwidth and so on. Gee, what awful people they must be.

Kick them when they make mistakes, by all means. But there seems to be an almost universal acknowledgement that IE7 provides better standards support and better security than IE6 does. For which Microsoft should be applauded. I don’t believe anyone was claiming it was perfect… but we do appreciate what they’ve done so far, and I’d second Andy Saxton’s assessment of Chris Wilson:

I have a new found respect for IE / IE Dev team after hearing Chris speak at @Media 2006. It must have taken large *insert expletive* to stand up infront of the @media audience and fight his/Microsoft’s corner against a room full of standards loving, Firefox using, Apple fanboys. (Like myself)

He did a great job and I truly believe that, given time, IE will get better.

Andy Saxton

One of the things Chris emphasised at @media 2006 was that IE7 has been developed with the focus on security. Not everyone is a geeky nethead who uses three browsers, two platforms and half a dozen screen resolutions, there are plenty of internet users out there who don’t have the latest gadgets, don’t have the most sophisticated security, and aren’t aware of the latest phishing scams.

For this reason, I will be recommending that the friends and family I know who use IE as their default browser should upgrade to IE7 as soon as they get the chance (I believe it will be released this week). Not all web professionals, and only a small proportion of the internet using community as a whole, actually work themselves up into a frenzy when the phrase “web standards” is used. To them, not having their bank account emptied by fraudsters is more important. And security is where the focus was (although as Chris pointed out, you can tell people to run low-permission users, you can tell them to use firewalls and anti-virus programs, but you can’t make them do it).

In fact, I think you can probably pretty much rely on someone ignoring all of this and then still blaming Microsoft. These will probably be the same people who think that the widow of General M’Boto actually does have $118m that they’ve specifically chosen you for to help them get the money out of the country. Incidentally, if you want to avoid being fooled like this, it may be worth reading Don’t Be An Internet Fool — which basically amounts to treating every unsolicited email with a healthy dollop of scepticism.

Of course, I will be evaluating Firefox 2.0 when this comes out too, and it may be that I’ll be using that as my default browser (although I would be stupid to make any decisions in advance of actually comparing them), but for the majority of people who are happy using Internet Explorer — and why not — then I will be advising them to use IE7 as soon as they get the chance.

So rather than jumping on the standard anti-Microsoft bandwagon, isn’t about time we stopped to appreciate the good work Chris Wilson and his team have done on IE7, and acknowledge that while it might not be perfect they still deserve some congratulation and appreciation?

One Response to “Microsoft Bashing”

  1. Ryan responds:

    I’ve been subscribed to your site for a while, and I really enjoy reading your posts. I think this one is among your best. It was almost inspirational.

    First off, I kind of feel guilty now. I have to admit, I’ve sometimes posted about things that irritate me and reasons why I don’t use Microsoft’s IE. Mostly about the infamous CSS battles web developers go though. However, there is a difference. I post about that stuff based on legitimate experiences and it’s on MY site, not theirs. I agree whole-heartedly that it’s completely rude and inappropriate for people to post comments that do nothing but promote their negative attitudes. Helpfull comments are how things get better. Obviously Microsoft wants to please its users (devlopers included), but the only way to assist them is to report issues and support them in fixing those issues.

    I’m a Firefox user exclusively. I find it to capture everything I need in a browser, but you’re absolutely right. Give them 80-90% market share, and they might have security breaches and unpleased users, too. It’s not a knock off to them, it’s just how things work.

    In one of my recents blabbering’s about IE, I ended with commending them for their efforts in IE7. And after reading your post, I’m glad I did.

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