Posted by Ray Majoran
For those of you that have been following the latest news of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 8 browser, some questions have probably entered your mind, starting with: Will my website be compatible with Internet Explorer 8?
Well, that’s a great question… one that Microsoft can’t even seem to answer. In their latest effort to release a browser that is more “standards-compliant”, they have created the perfect conditions for a catastrophic disaster on the web. To date, Microsoft has released a list of over 2,400 major sites that do not work with their latest browser. Let’s list a few of them: CNN, Google, Yahoo, YouTube, Wikipedia, eBay, Blogger.com, MySpace, Apple, WordPress, Facebook, New York Times, Flickr and Amazon. I recognize that all of those sites are really small players in the industry… (sarcasm). “Hello… Microsoft, is anyone in there???” Oh shoot, I forgot to mention another site on the incompatibility list… Microsoft.com.
Is it just me, or has Microsoft really missed the boat here? Basically, what they are telling us is that although all of these sites work with Internet Explorer 6/7 and standards-compliant browsers like Firefox, Chrome and Safari, they will cease to work in Internet Explorer 8.
Microsoft’s answer to this is a little button in IE8 called “Compatibility View”, that when clicked makes the site compatible with its browser. When I first read about this, my response was, “You’re joking, right?” After all of the flack they went through with Vista, they are now going to release another band-aid solution. To me, that just doesn’t make sense; not from a business perspective, not from a public relations perspective, and surely not from a brand perspective.
In 2002, Internet Explorer controlled 83.4% of the market. By 2007, it dropped to 56.0% (see W3Schools stats). As of January 2009, Internet Explorer now makes up 44.8% of the market (vs. Firefox at 45.5%). I can’t help but think that number will continue to drop unless Microsoft gets its act together. As a personal fan of Windows, I really hope they do (although I made the switch to Firefox a long time ago).
For those of you that are on AdvancedMinistry, we will be watching carefully as Microsoft continues to press forward with IE8. It is our intention to bring all of our second and third generation templates up to IE8 standards as soon as they complete beta and release a public version. But for other ministry websites out there, I can’t help but think that this is just “another thing” that they don’t need. Instead of being productive with our time, website developers are forced to write “another layer” of code to make sure their sites work with IE8 – something that most people had to do with IE7 and IE6 (because of it’s incompatibilities with web standards).
Perhaps it’s time that we once-and-for-all say “enough is enough” and recognize that Microsoft will never be able to regain its position in the browser market. Netscape had to let go. Maybe it’s time for Microsoft to follow suit.