Microsoft Misses the Point

Trying to kill the monster that they created and fed.

10 years ago a browser was born… Its name was Internet Explorer 6. Now that we’re in 2011, in an era of modern web standards, it’s time to say goodbye.

So says Microsoft on this site.

A good start, but the trouble is that Microsoft created this problem in the first place. As long ago as 2004, IE6 was regarded as “unsafe at any speed”, but it took Microsoft another two  years to get IE7 out the door, during which Opera and Firefox grew into credible competition. When IE8 shipped they initially tried to make it Vista-only, but flipped when Vista flopped.

The site is “dedicated to watching Internet Explorer 6 usage drop to less than 1% worldwide

Ohhhh-kaaay. Let’s take a more detailed look at that, shall we? The site shows worldwide use of IE6. The worst offenders are China, South Korea, India, Taiwan and Saudi Arabia. These are, coincidentally, the worlds worst spots for piracy. When you consider that the latest version of IE is generally not available for pirated copies of Windows, a cause-and-effect relationship soon becomes evident.

The site continues; “…so more websites can choose to drop support for Internet Explorer 6, saving hours of work for web developers.“Web developers everywhere know that writing Javascript is difficult enough without Microsoft doing things differently in Internet Explorer, which has a reputation for being notoriously non-standards-compliant. Microsoft does not like standards that it doesn’t own, which explains the enthusiasm with which they foist .NET and SilverLight on the rest of us. For example, I recently installed a Windows Update Security Parch for .NET 2.0, 3.0 and 3.5 on a machine that had .NET 2.0 on it. The patch installed the other two versions — at a cost of over 200MB of disk space — even though I did not need it. Installing system-level software you don’t need and don’t use is the enemy of security, a fact that Microsoft seems to have overlooked.

Moving swiftly onwards, I fairly chortled when I read the statement: “Friends don’t let friends use Internet Explorer 6.

Close but no cigar: Friends don’t let Friends use Internet Explorer Anything. The most annoying thing about this website is that ignored all other browsers; typical Microsoft arrogance — assume that the competition does not exist. How sad.

And finally… the unkindest cut of all — the site contains a “Download Now” button that takes you to another page that, sadly, is not clever enough to figure out that IE9 does not work under XP, but is too stupid to figure out that you already have the latest version. Here’s a hint, if you are running IE8 under XP, no “Download” button is necessary… but perhaps that would have been too much to ask.

This would all be terribly offensive if it wasn’t typical Microsoft puffery.

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