01.29.08

Competing Web Browsers Lost in a IE-Only Vortex

Posted in America, Antitrust, Europe, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 1:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

There are a couple of new articles that are probably worth your attention. Other than ActiveX and Silverlight, there are other technologies which help Microsoft leverage its monopoly on the Web and shutting out competitors. Don’t forget DRM and Sharepoint, which only yesterday I was told is rejecting SeaMonkey (it already discriminates against Mozilla Firefox). There is another type of noteworthy abuse which is prebundling and cross-linking.

As the following new article suggests, Microsoft has even resorted to throwing blame and denying the problem it created itself in order to extinguish competition about 10 years ago. It takes some nerve, does it not?

Fear, Uncertainty and Denial

I’m very much aware that this post could construed as FUD. Certainly, there’s fear, the fear that Microsoft will break the web in favour of supporting their customers. There’s uncertainty over the real facts and issues, since those has been cloaked by Microsoft through Non Disclosure. And there’s doubt, I do not believe Microsoft are doing things in the best interests of web standards.

FUD relies on vague information to paint a bad picture of a competitor, as a tactic of disinformation. It’s a tactic well employed by Microsoft, so it would be ironic for me to be successfully accused of FUD against the masters themselves.

As it stands, Microsoft’s closed negotiation stance, not speaking clearly with an unfiltered voice is a disservice to themselves and a persistent danger to web standards developers. The limited information, the secretive consultancy, the – what seems like – scant disregard of the value of open standards. These are qualities that are not conducive to solving problems or proposing solutions.

Mozilla expressed its concerns about Microsoft a couple of weeks ago and this wasn't the first time. Mind this new articles from ECT which talks about Active Directory environment FUD being used to keep Firefox et al off the corporate environment.

In the past, Firefox faced two main obstacles among enterprise users: its immaturity, and its incompatibility with corporate Web applications and intranets that relied on Microsoft technologies such as ActiveX.

[...]

An even bigger problem is that Mozilla hasn’t formally tested and certified either of the two tools.

“It’s absolute FUD to say that you can’t administer Firefox well within an Active Directory environment with third-party tools,” Ebron said, using the acronym for “fear, uncertainty and doubt.”

[...]

Vendor Resistance

Mozilla has no plans to more tightly integrate Firefox and Active Directory, according to Chris Hofmann, the open source vendor’s director of special projects. He dismissed Active Directory as a “proprietary technology” that would hurt rather than help Firefox administrators.

“Multiple levels of permissions applied across different groups adds a lot of complexity,” he said. “If you look at the track record for that feature, it’s resulted in less security for IE.”

As you can see, the Web is still ‘infected’ with Microsoft-specific technology. Rather than improve this, Microsoft is about to bring more of the same. The European Commission already pays attention to these developments [1, 2] whilst the US, despite being aware of this issue, seems like a lost cause because of lobbying.

Interviewer: “Will I have to suffer the shadow of Microsoft patents over Silverlight when using or developing Moonlight?”


Miguel de Icaza [for Novell]: “Not as long as you get/download Moonlight from Novell which will include patent coverage.”

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