Dear Microsoft, You Missed the Boat

Dear, Microsoft.

I’m a web designer and developer who has been working with a variety of tools and languages in the web development industry for about 10 years now, mostly working in areas related to front-end coding. Although I’ve spent a lot of time with you and your various technologies, I feel obligated to tell you that you missed the boat. Allow me to explain what I mean.

About 9 years ago you released what was at the time the most standards-compliant web browser in existence, for which you even had the backing of Jeffrey Zeldman. Around that time, you were taking the browser market by the collar and showing it who’s boss. At one point, as you know, your browser held a 95% market share.

Web developers, however, were hungry. They faced the challenge of making the transition from table-based layouts to CSS. Some of them started to push the limits of JavaScript. They began to be more and more concerned about accessibility, maintainability, and best practices. As a result, they needed a way for things to become easier, more streamlined, and have their workflows drastically improved so they could continue to take advantage of the possibilities available to them with client-side technologies.

Web designers and developers around the world started to make their voices heard in the community, writing articles, tutorials, and releasing scripts, frameworks, libraries, apps, and tools that would help designers and developers create beautiful, fast-loading, standards-compliant web sites.

Over the years, while your formerly-cutting-edge browser collected dust on developers’ desktops, those same developers found solace elsewhere. They found an open source community that was interested in helping them in the aforementioned areas, a community that listened when developers expressed concern, and made adjustments accordingly. When it was all said and done these web professionals had the tools they needed. To this day those tools continue to improve. All of this without an ounce of help from you.

Because of your huge following and commercial influence, you had the opportunity to enlist the help of “standardistas” and open source proponents everywhere. You had the opportunity to help develop and promote script-debugging tools, CSS frameworks, and standards-based coding habits. But instead, you chose to stick to your slow, complicated, and mostly impractical proprietary “filters” (I still don’t know why you call them that), while continuing to pour more time and money into a decidedly uninteresting and anti-standards weird back-end framework.

Strangely, only in the past year or two have you shown yourself interested in the goings-on of the world of web standards. I especially had to laugh when I saw this article on your developer blog which had a link to Jeffrey Zeldman’s website (twice) and even referenced the too-hip-for-you Dribbble. It would be great if you were cool enough to get away with talking about those sites.

But unfortunately, you’ve sat around for 8+ years trying to figure out how to make your next million, when all you needed was a little bit of honesty, a little bit of integrity, and a little bit of willingness to help the community move forward. With your immense influence, it’s disappointing that you didn’t realize this sooner. I guess all the fame and fortune blinded you to the real opportunities.

Now you’ve released a pretty good browser in IE8 — but it’s still too slow. After all these years, you’d think you would have learned how to get a script to load efficiently, or how to get a tab to open without waiting a half century. And don’t even get me started on security vulnerabilities. Now all of a sudden you’re talking about IE9 — but it’s probably going to be a year before that version sees the light of day. So sad.

You had your chance, Microsoft, and you blew it. There are enough browser makers now that care about the user experience, that care about the developer experience, and that realize what’s important in this community. Even if you did everything right from now on, there’s no amount of promotion, branding, or mock integrity that can change how developers perceive your products. It’s too late.

Microsoft, you missed the boat.

Sincerely,

A Former Client

111 Responses

  1. Simply put. Very amazing.

    IE… RIP.

  2. I couldn’t agree more with your last sentence : “Even if you did everything right from now on, there’s no amount of promotion, branding, or mock integrity that can change how developers perceive your products.”

    And add to this the incredible amount of money lost in every web projects around the world, due to Internet Explorer debugging.

    Awesome. Thanks for writing this. Hope “they” read it.

  3. Nicely done.

    Most projects I work on end up having to factor in time to make the website work in the different versions of IE, which significantly add to the cost and development time.

    The most annoying thing about the whole exercise is that compliant code requires little work to render as intended in compliant browsers.

  4. Excellent article. I couldn’t agree more. I’ve been thinking of dropping IE support from my list of primary supported browsers for a while. It’s about time that we as web designers set the minimum requirements, degrade gracefully – yes, but aim at the top 4.

    Now, with CSS3 and HTML5, I believe that we can do this, even if websites in IE look plain!

  5. you’ll always be poor

  6. I agree with you that Microsoft have fallen behind other browser developers in recent years. However, as long as large government bodies and corporations insist on using IE6, all the standards-compliance built into newer browsers by Microsoft and others is somewhat meaningless for many users in such environments.

    I’d love to see the back of IE6 at least, but IT teams need to upgrade, and some still seem reluctant to want to do so. IE9 may well have all the bells-and-whistles to support the latest CSS3 and HMTL5, but with an un-ignorable amount of users stuck in the past (through no fault of their own), an infrastructural change needs to be encouraged and heavily promoted in such organisations.

    However, I agree there are better browsers out there, and Microsoft could better spend their time on Office as it would seem that they have lost the browser wars.

    • “IT teams need to upgrade…”

      I’m an IT guy at a 90-seat business. We have no-one using IE6, apart from a few people who need to use a line of business app that we don’t have budget to upgrade. It’s not that we’re reluctant to upgrade, it’s that we need to support stuff that the business can’t or won’t upgrade. For what it’s worth, our standard build includes Firefox, and we encourage people to install other things. But when the business lets us kick that LOB app to the curb, we can then remove IE6. I want it gone as much as everyone else!

      • Carlos Osuna:

        Sadly, the decision to dump IE6 is as risky as pulling the plug on AA batteries (in favor or AAA). There are thousands upon thousands of internal apps which depend on it or render afoul and they don’t have the budget to be changed, or the company is no longer in business.

        There’s even a ton of embedded apps inside routers, hotspots, etc. that were made to look good on IE6.

        So basically, don’t count on IE6 ever going away. I’ve heard of several companies even using VMWare, Virtual PC and other emulators to run dedicated XP installations with IE6 with special firewalls that only allow specific traffic into this instances.

  7. That is the utmost truth. As stated, Microsoft was the ‘god’ among the browsers and then, maybe thinking no one could steal your share of market, let it’s browser gather dust.

    More than that, a point to be seen: not only the browser was forgotten but the OS as well. XP already came with IE6. And how many time passed until they decided to create a new OS? Or even worse, to update it’s browser?

    I think Microsoft thought it’s kingdom would last forever, like in a Disney’s history. In that time however, maybe that thought was true. There was no big active community, creating and sharing ideas, resources like we know as today.

    This letter is nothing less than the truth. I totally agree.

    Regards,
    RaphaelDDL

  8. JimiG:

    Well said, very well said! Bang on the money…shame they wont pay a blind bit of notice mind…Oh well.

  9. Spot on, Microsoft will get there ..

  10. Emil Lunnergård:

    This is so damn true. As soon as I get money for one, I’m getting an iMac and will never go back to Windows again, and especially not IE.

    As you said, I can’t imagine what kind of web we would have today if Microsoft had accknowledged thier stron position 10 years ago and kept developing thier browser to be cutting edge. It would be very awesome and it would have saved millions of working hours in “getting-ie6-hacks-to-work”.

    Very sad indeed, so very sad.

    Yours
    Emil

  11. Jayman Pandya:

    I really like your letter and I completely support you over this whole issue. I am sorry to say, but “Mr. Microsoft you have missed the boat”…

  12. I agree, for the most part, with almost everything you said. That is until you touched the subject of the .Net framework. Anti-standards and uninteresting where the words you poorly chose, yet you provided no explanation as to why you chose to label the .net framework like that.

    Uninteresting is too much of a subjective term to discuss, but anti-standards? Last time I checked you can implement every development best practice and design pattern using C#, and if you meant web standards you should take a look at the MVC frameworks (since Castle to MS’s own MVC) that let you output the markup as standard compliant as you can make it.

    • There are many reasons why I feel .NET is anti-standards, and the reasons have nothing to do with its technical capabilities or technical potential.

      I’m not going to get into the reasons why I made that statement, but my “opinion” stands, and nothing in the comments has changed that: I believe the .NET framework is anti-standards and is both weird and uninteresting.

      The proof is in the pudding: Very few “standardistas” have had anything to do with that framework.

      • Jesse:

        You should probably elaborate on what standards you are talking referring to. I assume you mean web standards. To an extent I would agree that, until ASP.NET MVC, ASP.NET was horrible in that category. That’s only one facet of .NET. To label a framework with the scope of .NET as anti-standards is absurd. If you want to say that classic ASP.NET web forms don’t spit out standards based HTML or CSS, you won’t get an argument from me.

      • Adam:

        What you mean “anti-standards”?

        You said:
        “I believe the .NET framework is anti-standards and is both weird and uninteresting”

        Dude, before posting do some research. I looks like you are anti M$ guy that doesn’t have clue about that technology. ASP.NET is just the part of the .NET Framework: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:DotNet.svg

        Fact, ASP.NET 1.1 was a nightmare, 2.0 was better. Latest two versions 3.5 and 4 show that M$ has learned a lesson. The latest MVC framework gives the the w3c standard compilant output.

        I used to work with asp.net 2.0 and know that it is possible to make the non-junky output html. It just takes some time.

  13. Bruno Henrique:

    So, what’s the point of all this, after all?

  14. I agree with this article. Great thoughts. I am glad though, that they are finally on board; if they do great from here on out, that’s better for all of us.

  15. Finally someone with some b@lls.
    I am a freelance website and graphics designer/developer in South Africa. Unfortunately Microsoft has monopoly here. Allot of users still make use of IE6. For us developers this causes a great deal of trouble as we have to make use of additional code to manipulate IE.

    I have moved to Firefox and also encourage my clients to do so.
    Microsoft! Wake up, it’s 2010 the future and web standards are here to stay.

  16. Manikandan:

    A good article!

  17. anonymous:

    “while continuing to pour more time and money into a decidedly uninteresting and anti-standards weird back-end framework”

    Do you even have a CLUE on what you’re talking about? Geesh..

  18. Microsoft still enjoys strong presence among corporate application suites. .NET framework is still the platform of choice in many parts of healthcare industry, and believe it or not, Microsoft Access is currently being promoted in healthcare as a delivery tool, simply because it’s on “everyone’s” desktop and people are already familiar with its interface. I also agree with you that Microsoft is losing market in cutting-edge web application tools, but it’s inherent to Microsoft’s strategy to utilize its considerable leverage with its Windows platform and that’s probably what prevented them from outsmarting their competitions, most of which weren’t boggled down with fighting antitrust lawsuits or trying to maintain their hold on the client platform market.

  19. Akshey:

    As far as poor developer experience is concerned, I sometimes feel that maybe Microsoft does this to slow down the growth of web. Since Microsoft does not have a big user base for their web apps, so may be they think that by making web developers job more difficult they can slow down growth of web apps and make users stick to desktop applications. What is your say on this?

    • Bruno Henrique:

      It is a great point, but I don’t think it is true. By the time it appeared, IE6 was the most standart-compliant browser.

      • Remember that “IE6 was the most standart-compliant browser” in paper. IE 5.5 support less features but DOES what it says it does.

        IE6 was said to support lots of stuff but could not handle anything well. Even things that worked great in 5.5 were bugged at v6.

    • Jesse:

      I don’t think there is any truth to that argument. Microsoft continues to pour money into new web development platforms: ASP.NET MVC, Azure for example.

  20. Paul:

    Well, I make sure that any site I build looks OK in Internet Explorer but I won’t spend anymore time than I have to trying to get rounded corners and the likes. I havent got the patience to piss around with nested divs to get things looking pixel perfect for IE, thats just one example.

    Microsoft needs to kill IE6 and 7 itself and not mess around with stuff like this: http://www.microsoft.com/australia/technet/ie8milk/

    IE9 won’t even be XP compatible, from our point of view this is the exact audience it needs to be targeted at considering most corporate environments are still running a dated OS with a dated browser.

    Also IE6 is being supported until 2014? Another four years of this, really?

    I try to educate my clients as best I can about newer and better browsers, it works to some extent.

  21. Somebody:

    IE market share has been dropping-like-it’s-hot for a while now. I predicted it in 2007 and stopped supporting IE back then. That’s nit all, I predict IE is going extinct by 2016. You heard it here first.

  22. Michael:

    Well-stated, and I agree with you completely. However, as with many of the things we all read that are related to our craft and profession, it takes a very inward-looking perspective. Of COURSE we all agree with you–we live this every day! But from the perspective of Microsoft–and more importantly, Microsoft’s customer base–this is less of a serious issue.

    To be sure, Microsoft is making tokenish efforts to cozy up to us and portray itself as relevant and “with it.” But not everyone in the world is a Web developer or designer. In fact, most people aren’t. If we walked up to someone on the street and asked them if they used a standards-compliant Web browser, I think many would give us a puzzled stare (if we were lucky). Most people–like my Mom–use Microsoft’s products and have no idea some of them are inferior and couldn’t care less. If it does what she needs it to do, she’s happy–even impressed–and that’s that. Her world and our world do not overlap at all. Microsoft is making most of its money from folks and businesses in her world, not ours. And making plenty of it, at least for now.

    So while we’re all frustrated as hell and angry and cursing Microsoft for making our jobs so hard, the average person in the world has no idea and doesn’t realize all the hard work that has gone into making their online experience so pleasant. Even if, as you suggest, Microsoft had seized the opportunity years ago and taken the lead, the average person in the world would have no more understanding that it was “thanks to Microsoft” than they have now that it’s “thanks to awesome Web designers and developers” like us who have found ingenious ways around Microsoft’s mess.

    My point is, until people like Mom start demanding that Microsoft produce standards-compliant software, use webkit, or otherwise play ball with the majority of the Web design community, they will only ever give us tokenish attention. And guess how soon that’s likely to happen?

    I wish I could say, “Fine! We’ll show THEM! We’ll just stop coding for IE altogether.” But as others have noted, in a consumer-driven market, our own jobs are determined by what our clients’ customers use, and many of them use crappy Microsoft browsers. Too many. All we can do is wait and hope that better browsers continue to chip away at IE’s market share until it’s truly negligible. I’m not holding my breath, but I stopped supporting IE6 in my own projects a year ago. So far, no problems.

    I did manage to get my large non-profit’s IT department to upgrade everyone to IE7 when I informed them that our new Web site won’t work with IE6, that our choice was based on what browsers our supporters and donors use, not what staff is using, and that they could sort it out at the help desk when people complain that they want to be upgraded. It’s helpful to put it in terms of money, too, by explaining how much it would cost to make a site backwards-compatible with an obsolete browser that its manufacturer doesn’t even support anymore. Investing in the future is wiser than continuing to pay for the mistakes of the past–mistakes someone else made. IE7 and IE8 are different stories, of course, but we probably have no choice but to live with them and work with them for the foreseeable future.

    • Grant K:

      You can do more. You can advise your clients to use better browsers.

    • aruna:

      hello
      modern moms are not that ignorant about new trends as you might think. most of them are aware of the changing world and try to keep up with it.witness my reading the article and the responses!

    • Jack Burnish:

      I second that entire post. While I’ve stopped supporting IE6 as well, most users probably couldn’t tell you what browser they were running. They really don’t care if it’s extra work for a designer or developer. They just want it to work.

      As Michael said, promote it as a pocketbook saver and don’t be afraid to just say no, it won’t work with IE6. But for those of you who say, ‘I won’t design for IE any longer’, thanks for the business, I appreciate it.

  23. Of all the innovative and progressive things to consider, Microfoft bashing is the least. As Production Manager of a 25 person studio, I do not disagree with your frustration. However, the market moves quickly, almost as fast as popular opinion. Microsoft is large, with all the inefficiencies and challenges to flexibility faced by a large organization. Making the point that competing start up projects overtake in certain areas is obvious to the point of irrelevence.

    Those taking a moral high ground of being offended and therefore never playing with a technology set again based on 10 years experience are just ignorant. How old is Facebook? Twitter? In 2 years, they may be so yesterday. I had clients last year asking me for examples of 5 years experience in iPhone development. Microsoft, or anyone, releases something neat, people will use it. Those that don’t simply because a browser made them mad last year are just fanboys.

    And please, stop with the IE 6 bashing. I cringe to think of someone using software I built 15 years ago, but I can’t exactly force them to stop in our free market system. IE6 is 10 year old technology still working somewhat with technology released today. That’s pretty impressive, a fact I remind myself of as I burn 8 hours of development time making the latest JavaScript wizardry work in it.

    And not all other browsers are without fault. I have had Firefox 2.0 failures. Anyone else note the memory hog of Firefox? Chrome styling has resulted in rework, and having to fix things for Safari is a regular occurance. And to the purists, please don’t say to just build it by standards. That is a moving target, one that is not always feasible for the technology or budget.

    Got to love the free speech of the interweb. :)

    Chad

    • Chris:

      I absolutely agree with you.

      To add my own opinion on IE6 bashing is that it is getting tiresome. Microsoft announced that it’s no longer support IE6, what more can we do? Microsoft does not have the ability to force its users to upgrade to IE8 (which by the way is quirky) or IE9 (will most likely also be quirky) in a free market. I have also noticed quirks between the latest Firefox and Safari as well. Educating your client to upgrade their browsers is worthless. If they are running IE6, think of their customers who are also running IE6.

      It is unprofessional to request your client to upgrade his/her browser to see the work they are paying you to do. Asking them to upgrade their browser proves to them that a. you don’t know what you’re doing and b. their customers aren’t going to be able to view the site either.

      When designing your own personal sites throw IE6 to the wind, but when designing professionally you best support what’s still one of the most used browsers in existence.

      • I agree and disagree. Having your business working is crucial, yes. But the more we put up with it, the longer it will take to get out from this mess. And, in the long-run perspective, it becomes more expensive wasting time on solving compatibility issues.

        Unless, of course, the society gets enough of this and W3C decides to render all the code on their end and send final images to the client.

      • Grant K:

        Exactly the kind of thinking that has held up progress all these years.

  24. Jason:

    I completely agree. MS missed it a long time ago, and regardless of what they are saying now, I don’t think they will ever get back on track.

  25. Grant K:

    Microsoft have had some positive impact, but sadly, they rarely led in ideas… and that was always their problem. Indeed, I know of no company that has ever been more notorious for the theft of ideas and the underhanded building of a monopoly…one that is still super powerful. However, it is these two factors, the lack of inventive flexibility, along with the decadence and laziness of monopoly, that continue to undermine them.

  26. Adam_T:

    I agree that Microsoft is way too late for doing anything on the browser market.
    However, as Jose already mentioned, you (seemingly) groundlessly attacked the one thing that Microsoft did well: the .NET Framework.
    No offense meant, but please keep the sarcasm confined to the topics you know about.

  27. OneOrTheOther:

    Like it or not, Microsoft hasn’t missed any boat. They really need to either ditch IE or make it extremely standards compliant. But considering all of the market that they’ve dominated over the last 30+ years you can’t sanely count them out yet, especially if you’re thinking it’s because places like Apple are gaining momentum. Google is a legitimate competitor, and a rightful one at that. Apple is just a flash-n-style alternative that survives on people buying into their “our crap is revolutionary” delusion. All MS has to do is get over itself and some of their old ways, take a few pointers from places like Google, and maybe borrow a little arrogance and brainwashing magic from Apple, and they’d come back with one hell of a vengeance.

  28. @Bill Gates gave a good one. :D “you’ll always be poor” haha

  29. Satyajit Tambe:

    RIP IE !

    I always was excited to see a new version of IE rolling out ( from IE 4, IE 5, IE 6 IE 7, IE 8). Everytime expecting that there will be some improvement. But they all were just memory hogs. Really I agree when you say “how to get a tab to open without waiting a half century”. Now as MS is readying IE9, why are they all of a sudden behaving that they are new to this game, when all these years they boasted to be the king with huge market share.

    Yes ! MS you are left behind.

  30. .. pure poetry! Thanks for sharing, .. brilliant!
    Cheers & Ciao ..

  31. I totally agree with your thoughts on .net – what a horrible and indeed weird back end framework.

    I admit, IE8 is a massive improvement on their previous efforts, but compared to the competition, it’s embarrassing. Shame on you Microsoft.

  32. milan:

    Microsoft. The man who doesn’t [care] about what you think :)

    You are not the first one who wrote similar article.. but how long does it take to make microsoft to change his way of work. I’m sick and tired from optimalization my websites for IE6, 7 and 8. And IE9? just more work for us…

  33. Good point. But the ending sounds a lot like a letter to an ex-girlfriend who dumped you.

  34. Nice one!! Like it, hope Bill Gets to read this

  35. Bree:

    I 100% agree with you. Right down to that very last statement!
    I stopped using IE when I discovered Firefox and that was back when IE6 was still relevant. I’ve skipped past using IE7 and IE8. Some people claim IE8 is decent, but I refuse. They’ve failed me and I’ll never look back. IE9? Ha, I’ll never use it either!
    Also, I laughed at your footer. Cute!

  36. Hell yes, I couldn’t agree more, what a mess they created for themselves. I can’t imagine how they could get me back on IE after the YEARS of fighting with IE6. It’s a constant joke in my office.

  37. Great post!
    That’s why Pixamba simply does not support IE7. We just can not afford investing our time in following the crazy mood of it’s caprices.

  38. Oles:

    nice article, thanks

  39. Brilliant. Every word. Absolutely spot on. You have spoken the minds of most developers out there in a very poignant eloquent manner. I just hope that someone takes note and actually does something about it!

  40. I think we should make Microsoft pay all those hours we spend in making the website compatible with IE. Every webdeveloper knows what im talking about – you got a great website in FF, Opera, Safari, Chrome, etc. You open the exact same code in any version of IE and … well, you know what happens.

    It’s just sad that a company like Microsoft is to stupid to just follow the standards like ALL the other browser companies do. If I would be CEO of Microsoft, i would kick IE and integrate Firefox as standard browser into Windows.

    Internet Explorer is just the beginning… did you know they ship Windows 7 as Windows 6.1?

    Microsoft missed MANY boats. (IE, Windows, BING?!)

    greetz
    Michel from Germany

  41. C’mon guys, IE’s sooooo cool, like ice freezing cool.

    being sarcastic over here…. :7)

  42. I am in agreement that yes Microsoft’s turn around and keeping up with “the cutting edge” is lacking but this is no way rare in the bowser market.

    IE is a ok browser, it displays stuff. Users can interact with a page then can navigate it, if its marked up correctly.

    There are less accessible browsers out there that have tiny little screens that have a number pad on it for navigation. There are some that have touch screens that require double clicks and they all handle different things in different ways, Some users cant even see a screen and have to use browsers that have been made by a bloke in a shed somewhere.

    Yes we (as developers/designers) love to push the envelope all the time pushing our designs to the max, and make it whistle, dance and everything else. It maybe time to look at the web in a different angle and give the users what they want in the browser they want to use, or in the browser that have been forced to use. ok I am a new developer just graduating now, but my vision of the web is to allow the user what they want, when they want it. ok it may not be 100% in the less capable browsers that are around but give the user the choice to change the “style” that has been done or use a more capable technology.

    Also I was told that a lot new and exciting HTML5 spec has been written by Microsoft themselves and are pushing the spec just as much as the other main players.

  43. >>> “Even if you did everything right from now on, there’s no amount of promotion, branding, or mock integrity that can change how developers perceive your products.” <<<

    Agreed, but aren't developers sending Microsoft bit of a mixed message?

    'Microsoft, get with the program so we'll actually respect you!'
    'Microsoft, even if you get with the program, we'll still think you suck!'

  44. Nice, i have the same opinion.

  45. Robert:

    Yes, they screwed the pooch. But I’m willing to give them another chance. I, for one, look forward to finally seeing IE become standards compliant.

  46. Thank you, Thank you, THANK YOU!!

    I applaud you for putting this letter out there. I couldn’t have said it better myself!

    ~Mark

  47. This is partially true, back in IE6 days they should have worked on IE7 sooner, but when IE7 hit, and no one updated anyways, it wasnt their fault. For example, I work for the government. We’ve been pushing hard to get IE8 live on all the computers but we’re still in IE6 (well, im on Firefox, but the other ~4,000 employees are on IE6). There isn’t much we can do because apps were built for IE6 that don’t work on other browser because of the browser’s APIs and we dont have the resources to rebuild all these apps.

    100% of the problems are the designers and developers who design and developed to make a site work in IE6. Every site you spend time to make work in IE6 the longer all of us have to wait for it to die. It’s not M$’s fault that governments and large agencies stuck with IE6, it’s yours and mine for designing and developing sites that work on it and large corps being ABLE to get away with not updating.

    IE9 will use WebKit, from what i’ve heard, so even if it takes a year, at least when we do update it will be caught up with everyone and people who work in large agencies and government will be updated to WebKit because no government or large agency using IE6, 7, or 8, is just randomly going to switch to Firefox or Safari or Chrome.

  48. Jack:

    I hate to bring this up but all their products are essentially like this… useful but give it time and a more nimble company will come and eat their lunch. I’m no fan of Google “taking over” because they ARE NOT perfect but I prefer them to Microsoft.

    If you asked me what was the most un-cool company out there today, I would say Microsoft.

  49. Thanks for writing that article. So true!

  50. Agreed but we’re still going to have to wait donkey’s years until we can discount IE form the design process… only just not ignoring IE6… damn it!

  51. The sad part is: boat missed or not, IE represents THE Interwebs for the common user.

    • Tim Hawkins:

      Not anymore its not, in some parts of the world like germany it has dropped below 50%

  52. enam:

    When I design a web site I have to work 3 to 5 times more than it require only for IE…MAN….
    Thanks a million to write this article…Best of luck.

  53. You said it what all of us have been wanting to say for so long.
    Well done!

  54. Zat:

    Microsoft have not so much missed the boat as have become a unwelcome passenger on the journey for developers. Loud, arrogant, and most of all difficult to ignore, and for that reason they will continue to hold sway over non-developer passengers.

    For those who think Microsoft will always have the market share over their rivals, here’s a (mis-appropriated) quote from Buddhism; ‘even a feather will wear away an iron block eventually’. So don’t give up, keep the faith, and Microsoft will start to feel the consequences of it’s complacency, and above all else don’t let the MS ‘fanboys’ let their dogma dominate.

  55. Daniel:

    well said! IE is not a browser but a troubled piece of software that need to go away.

  56. Chan:

    Well Put!!! Great article, IE has been making my life a nightmare.

  57. I MUST OBJECT WITH YOU WHOLEHEARTIDLY.
    First of all……

    naw just kidding. IE Sucks.

  58. Totally agree, instead of churning out a new IE version number which still does not give people what they want (IE8 and no CSS3 / HTML 5 Support even though every other main stream browsers latest offerings do), they should just do us and everyone else a favour and jump ship!

  59. Genius.

    (Insert pointless waffle as it says my comment is too short)

  60. Alfredo:

    Pointless article, as long as IE is included with Windows, more than 90% of the world will continue to use it.

  61. Very well written and truthfull to the end – it’s nice to see the message put across so politely rather than just another ‘I hate IE’ article! I too hope that this pings up on the MS radar somewhere, although I agree that its too late for them to do anything about it now.

  62. Ian:

    What a load of crap. Typical OSS FUD and fairy tales.

  63. Jeremy:

    Even though this is right on from a developer / designer’s perspective, the rest of the world is blind to this fact. That means, regardless of how we feel we will always have to bow to the corporate monster known as Microsoft … that is unless developers revolt, and build sites that will no function, or even display in IE. We need a revolution!

  64. Akyno:

    Suck… microsoft… Cry microsoft cry…

  65. I work as a UI Developer currently with my head in a SharePoint focused company. while IE 6 is a bit of a Fail, get over it. It only still exists because of the paranoid of upgrading IT departments. With Cloud services being embraced these guys will have to rethink there career options soon enough. MS is itself moving forward and has even dropped IE6 in its latest version of SharePoint and are putting their weight behind Cloud Services. So while they don’t offer free IDE’s and open source dev kits, they are racking in cash on their Enterprise Cloud Services. You don’t see Oracle or IBM so concerned about the UI developers to much, they continue to focus on the Enterprise.

    So that said, is the Enterprise still a decent focus, well they want security and reliability and will pay for it, they don’t want small independents helping them out, they need integrity and MS provides that i suppose. Also with SilverLight the browser itself is inherently useless (like Flash), its just a gateway engine. Will it make an impact, it could do, but not on a commerical level i feel, HTML 5 will hopefully be to strong.

    But im a Mac user and would rather be working in PHP that asp.Net, but im just going with the flow and keeping my fingers in as many pies as possible. MS do need to get with the innovation crew, but they will last just as long with their typical piggy backing methodology due to their entrenched critical mass.

  66. I’m working as a webprogrammer and every project works perfectly except IE prior to IE 8. I still gotta make my project work for IE because of the commodity of most people. I’ve cursed every day.

  67. I name this an open letter from all the users and developers around the world.

  68. asdj:

    I am just a 2 year old in the web industry and I can say I have 2 friends in the industry. Open Source community and Google. I had no formal knowledge of web dev but just with the help of these 2 friends I still survive and dream on. Microsoft ? They are only for white collar corporates. Who cares if a freelancer dies ?

  69. So well put. I wish I had the confidence that someone at Microsoft with the ability to affect change would read this. Oh, they’d have to care I guess.

    Great read.

  70. Great article and you nailed Microfart and IE for their shortsighted, profit focused philosophy.

  71. Very well spoken! but no more talking…! we should stop trying make things work in ie6. STOP….USING….IE6. If the community of the web designers is still into this why shouldn’t clients be?

  72. I agree, but the common perception still is that ‘the internet’ is ‘the blue e’. That’s going to take a while to fix.

    When IE9 comes out, I feel it will probably amass a larger userbase than IE8 at it’s peak – and they’ll probably claim that our community thinks it’s great, too.

    Microsoft undoubtedly know of all of the points you’ve raised, but as a business, probably aren’t too bothered.

  73. Jon:

    I agree with your stance on IE. I wish I could be privy to the motivations and reasoning behind making such a stagnant browser. I wouldn’t mind them releasing crappy browser after crappy browser if they weren’t holding up the entire net.

    However, your stance on .NET is strange. It feels like you’re just annoyed at Microsoft and venting more than you have solid reasons for disliking the framework. You say it’s anti-standards but nowhere do you state why it’s anti-standards.

    I write in .NET and I don’t find it at all difficult to conform to web standards. After all, I’m the one who’s responsible for the HTML output. The framework never gets in the way of that – why therefore is it anti-standards?

    • A few people have disagreed with that statement, and I’m sure the more recent versions of the framework are much better with regards to standards-based code. But basically, I say that because it’s a very difficult framework to work with, and very difficult for someone who usually only works with front-end code. Whereas, something like PHP is very easy to learn.

      Of course, comparing PHP to .NET is basically apples to oranges, but my point is that it’s very difficult for a non-computer engineer (like myself) to get up and running with something as complex as .NET, and to mess around with it. It’s very “corporate”, and thus anti-standards. But I suppose even some PHP frameworks could have that label, so it’s just a matter of perspective.

      Besides, I’m nobody. This is just my opinion — but nothing that anyone has said here has convinced me otherwise.

      • Jon:

        Well I can understand you feeling .NET is complex or more difficult to get off the ground with than PHP.

        But saying it’s ‘corporate’ and therefore anti-standards is a non-sequitur. It’s not the kind of opinion that does you any favours. It’s the kind of opinion that will cause people to lose respect for you.

        • When I say it’s “corporate”, I mean it caters much better to very large websites in certain niches, many of which are not built by those promoting web standards.

          Besides, how many web standards advocates do you know that promote the .NET framework? Whenever you see back-end programming mixed with front-end code from any of those guys, it’s always PHP.

          Nonetheless, my statement was probably ignorant, but as an observer (and a long-time-ago user of ASP.NET), I feel it’s anti-standards, and very difficult to work with.

  74. Well written article. I wouldn’t be surprised if that really was Bill Gates’s response – “you’ll always be poor”. Remember back in the 20th century – when Microsoft used to be competitive?

  75. Bill Gates:

    Hello dear readers,

    I’m so sorry about this, but our developers are so stupid……
    I pay them alot of money, they don’t want to build Internet Explorer as they might do it ):
    But, it’s ok, I don’t care what you say about me. I am 1 of the richest man in the world, so I don’t care what 5 people say about me. Cya loosers. hahaha lol.

  76. someone:

    RIP, MS = noob’s .

  77. Manikandan M:

    Thanks for those Unanswerable Questions.
    You did for all designer’s and developer’s mind reading.
    I think why we need to use IE?
    We people are mostly using FF Chrome Safari.
    Big claps for the browsers
    Cheers Mani…

  78. Top-notch article Louis. You raise your voice in the name of tens of thousands web developers (and more) who share the same opinion. I’m expressing my hate toward Microsoft’s “browser support” by naming my browser-specific css file to “ie-sucks.css” and then into the file I comment: /* It was supposed to be ie-hacks.css */ :)

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