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/ log / 13th Dec, 2007 /

Opera sues Microsoft over Web standards in the EU Court

Opera and Operati, I love you! There’s a crate of cider at my place if you want to swing by and pick it up. Yesterday, Opera filed an anti-trust complaint in the EU court against Microsoft:

First, it requests the Commission to obligate Microsoft to unbundle Internet Explorer from Windows and/or carry alternative browsers pre-installed on the desktop. Second, it asks the European Commission to require Microsoft to follow fundamental and open Web standards accepted by the Web-authoring communities.

Read the Opera press release and treat yourself to a smile. They rely in part on the recent decision taken by the court against Microsoft over bundling MediaPlayer with Windows. Opera accuses Microsoft of stifling innovation by embedding a browser than does not support Web standards as it should. All true. How many compromises, hacks and tweaks have we made over the years for Billy Gate’s browser?

Of course, if this suit was successful Opera would have a better opportunity to grab themselves some market share. Good on ’em. If Opera had a stripped down version of the browser, but with tools akin to Firebug or Chris Pederick’s Web developer toolbar it would be my primary browser, right now.

Co-incidentally, I’m just about to pay Microsoft for the priviledge of a new copy of WinXP, all because I can’t run multiple copies of IE for testing on Vista easily. Imagine a world where we could run multiple versions of IE without clever hacks. A world where IE passed the Acid2 Test (like Opera) and conditional comments and IE specific style-sheets became a relic of history. I’m almost salivating at the thought.

There’s a long way to go before that happens. I’d like to think that Billy’s browser would of made it to the point of goodness regardless but, if Opera’s action helps it along, so much the better. It’s just a shame these kinds of actions seem necessary. Then again, Kim Stanley Robinson’s idea of revolutions by law in Pacific Edge always seemed much more preferable than any other method.

Good luck to them!


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  1. 1. By dotjay on 13th Dec ’07 at 06:38am

    Good on ya, Opera!

    I echo your thoughts on switching to Opera, Jon. Firefox has been increasingly unstable and sluggish for me, but I wouldn’t leave it behind for all the useful extensions I use on a daily basis. The funny thing about that is it’s likely to be the extensions that make Firefox so unstable and sluggish! I used to keep separate clean and development profiles on Firefox, but it’s not much of a solution as I'd often find myself needing one of the extensions while in the middle of browsing using my clean profile.

  2. 2. By Doc on 13th Dec ’07 at 13:08pm

    I’m thrilled to see someone who has silver-plated ones to step up to the plate and take on this neanderthal of a browser. Making progress on the web won’t take place with Microsoft dragging everyone else down. Good for Opera! And I hope Mozilla and Apple contribute their fair share to the fight.

  3. Jon 陳’s profile 3. By Jon 陳 on 13th Dec ’07 at 15:07pm

    Håkon Wium Lie’s open letter as CTO of Opera and the founding father of CSS says it plainly:

    “Web designers are forced to spend time working around IE bugs rather than doing what inspires them. We seek no money from Microsoft. We would rather see Microsoft put their considerable talent and resources to work for the Web community.”

    Thanks Håkon .

  4. 4. By Dominik on 21st Dec ’07 at 02:14am

    Internet Explorer 8 will pass the ACID2 Test ;-)

  5. Jon 陳’s profile 5. By Jon 陳 on 21st Dec ’07 at 02:51am

    Yes indeed Dominik, congratulations to the IE team were forwarded yesterday. However, the ability to test multiple versions of IE without having to resort to hacking windows is still current.

    Incidentally, there’s also congratulations from Håkon Lie, too.

    I thought the CSS working group concerns raised by Andy Clarke were misplaced. I agree that the anti-trust complaint has nothing to do with the ability of the working group to function. Bashing the W3C is unhelpful. The diplomacy and collaboration process may sometimes be slow, and that’s not to say it shouldn’t be scrutinised regularly, but tearing everything down and starting again is not a practical way to proceed. Nor is cutting the implementors out of the specification process. We need to support their efforts with evidence to accelerate good empirical decision-making.

    I understand frustration intimately as someone at the coal-face, but revolution always has more casualties than diplomacy, even with the best of intentions.

  6. 6. By Armen on 5th Jan ’08 at 05:14am

    Hi Jon, my first visit here.

    As much as I dislike IE, and even Microsoft in many ways, I think this is very foolish of Opera, and is probably just a marketing stunt.

    I'd be all for FireFox coming with Windows, but let’s face it, I doubt it'll happen any time soon; probably never.

    The other suggestion, the primary one, is just completely daft. In fact, it’s beyond daft. Would someone please tell me how on earth the average user is going to get access to the Internet if their OS comes with no browser?

    I appreciate IE, even if it is, just to download FF ;)

  7. 7. By Leon Paternoster on 14th Feb ’08 at 01:40am

    Armen – in the olden days, Windows came with Explorer and Netscape Navigator pre-installed. Both icons were on the desk top; you simply chose your favourite and stuck with that. I believe Navigator was the market-share leader.

    I’m not sure how it would be managed these days – a choice of three (IE, FF and Opera) is one too many. And then there are the more esoteric browsers (such as Flock – if that’s still going).

    Incidentally, I agree about Opera. It’s infuriatingly complicatedly designed. A stripped down version without 50 features you have to turn off when you install it would be a real winner, especially considering its excellent accessibility features.

  8. 8. By mumino on 18th Feb ’08 at 14:27pm

    I like konqueror at linux. it is ram friendly…

    Best plugins and user friendly: Firefox

    Editor choice : Opera //there is no google toolbar.

    World’s choice: IE…

    I use all of them.

  9. 9. By Jordan on 21st Feb ’08 at 09:06am

    You can test with IE6/XP on any computer as long as you have enough hard disk space left to store a copy of a virtual hard drive: Microsoft are distributing free copies of an XP virtual machine with IE6 preloaded. It’s very useful =).

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