Monday, February 9th, 2009
PPK has written a nice aggregation post on the state of browsers which considers a few recent topics, most importantly discussing the EC mess with Microsoft:
There’s some browser news to discuss, and I thought I’d bundle it all in one entry. Maybe I’ll even do this more often; it seems a good feature for this blog. But I’m not promising anything!
This weekend I started testing some new browsers, and meanwhile I’ve updated the HTML and CSS tables. There were no surprises. I’m continuing with the Events tables, but they’re so large and sometimes so complicated that I’m not sure when I’ll finish.
In this installment we’ll take a look at IE8RC1 and some reactions to it, Safari 3.2, Chrome’s lack of a “Check for updates automatically” feature and Opera’s antitrust complaint.
Browser Wars update
Two weeks ago I wrote a post about some unexpected consequences of Opera’s current antitrust complaint against Microsoft. If IE is unbundled from Windows, which browser should be installed instead? My conclusion was that any new computer would contain either zero or five browsers.
Opera employee Haavard responded that the hardware vendors (which are apparently called OEMs; funny name) would add one browser of their choice to new computers. Several commenters here on QuirksMode saw the same solution.
I’m not convinced this is the right thing to do. When it comes to influencing hardware vendors, Microsoft still has a considerable edge over all other browser vendors, because the hardware people need several Microsoft products (such as Windows) to make their machines worthwhile. So I doubt this is going to change anything in the short run.
Let’s for a moment suppose that Microsoft genuinely repents of its evil ways and does not pressure hardware vendors to include IE. Despite this, some hardware vendors will choose IE, and whether that’s out of habit or because they truly think it’s the best browser available is unimportant.
Now we still have some new computers that come with IE. How are we going to distinguish between IE being installed because Microsoft puts pressure on the hardware vendors and IE being installed because the vendors genuinely think it’s the best browser?
In the logic that Opera’s complaint is setting up, a hardware vendor that genuinely believes in IE would be accused of “bowing down” to the Redmond monopolist, even if this accusation is baseless. And that could be the beginning of a lot of ideology-driven nastiness.
I don’t like the way this is heading. I don’t like it at all.
Posted by Dion Almaer at 7:55 am