Weekend Discussion: Microsoft and 86%

Friday July 14th, 2000

There has been a lot of discussion about Microsoft's release of IE 5.5 recently, especially in regards to their support for standards such as CSS, DOM, and XML. Apparently Microsoft is developing new proprietary technologies at the expense of standards compliance in core web technologies.

The conversation in the WSP's mailing list has gotten overheated, and the WSP has released a piece on IE 5.5.

CNet is running an article on IE 5.5's proprietary new features, and there's a discussion on Slashdot regarding this very issue.

I now have a weblog at the O'Reilly Network, and you can check out my first piece, devoted to Microsoft's .NET initiative, which hits on Microsoft's standards support.

With all this hoopla aimed at Microsoft, we shouldn't be letting Netscape off easy. I think it's time for Netscape to come out and state clearly where they expect to be in terms of standards compliance at version 6.0. If it is not the 100% that we had been told to expect, it's in their best interest to say why. Remember, Netscape 6.0 will have its own "behavior" implementation (XBL) that is, at this point, just as proprietary as Microsoft's DHTML behaviors (the dev team plans on submitting XBL to the W3C in the future).

And although has not taken a position one way or another on Mozilla's standards compliance, it would be nice if they could weigh in and let the community know what they're thinking in terms of standards support in Mozilla's first release.

What do you think about standards support and compliance? Is it important? Or should the placation of existing customers be the priority? Let us know!

#32 Great story Chris

by Kovu <>

Saturday July 15th, 2000 12:12 PM

You are replying to this message

Very cool story, Chris. I think one thing that you mention in your story but don't take into account in your prediction:

The desktop computer is not where Netscape 6 is going to win the browser war -- integration in Internet appliances that is where Netscape 6 will shine the brightest. Web pads, set-top boxes, personal e-mail assistants, and other Net appliances are starting to be released now and will grow exponentially as a market over the next year. Internet Explorer has no significant prescence at all in this market, and won't. The vast portion of these appliances run on Linux operating systems (such as Gateway's recently announced new line) as does AOL TV, and there is no Internet Explorer for Linux. Very soon the "browser market" of today will merely be a subset of a larger market for Web-enabled appliances. Only those appliances that run Windows will be able to use IE, and given the quality track record of WindowsCE, that isn't going to happen on a large scale overnight, if ever.

In short, as the Web-enabled client market grows to encompass and eventually dwarf the PC market, that 86% will start coming down significantly, and once AOL starts using Netscape again, it's all over for IE's dominance.