Opera: Microsoft has ruined browser market

Developer hits out at Internet Explorer's lack of standards

There are really only four major competitors in the browser market: Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE), Apple's Safari, Mozilla Foundation's Firefox and Opera from Opera Software, with the Microsoft browser in its customary dominant position at the head of the pack.

However, all is not well in the house of Microsoft. Due to its hegemony, IE has long been the target of criticism from developers fed up with having to cater to its non-standard ways while the other browsers toe the technical-standards line.

Now, in an attempt to ruffle some feathers and perhaps get something done about Internet Explorer, Opera's chief technology officer, Håkon Wium Lie has written an editorial entitled, 'How to fix Microsoft's browser issues'.

Is IE a monopoly?

Lie says that because Microsoft places IE as an integral part of Windows, no real browser market exists, and the company doesn't feel the need to actually listen to its users.

"A monopoly doesn't have to consider its customers' wants or needs. In a functioning market, vendors must consider such things in order to compete successfully. But the market isn't functioning," Lie wrote.

Discussing browser compatibility issues, Lie says Microsoft should - among other solutions - adhere to the Acid2 and Acid3 standards tests by default and release documentation that gives users all the information they need to use the browser.

Do what's best

Finally Lie calls for Microsoft to do what's best for the internet by following trailblazers. "If two or more major web browsers, in official shipping versions, add standards-related functionality that's generally considered useful to the progress of the web, and described in a publicly available specification, Microsoft must add the same functionality," he wrote.

Unsurprisingly, Microsoft has not responded to Lie's assertions yet - perhaps it doesn't listen after all?

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