Microsoft locks Internet Explorer and AOLMonday, June 02, 2003
Microsoft wins in the settlement
The long running legal saga between Microsoft and AOL Times Warner (who own Netscape) has drawn to a close with a settlement reached between the two parties. The initial suit was against Microsoft's abuse of its OS monopoly in an effort to sideline Netscape Navigator. One of the terms of the settlement is that AOL receives a 7 year royalty free license on Internet Explorer.
This strikes me as a Greek gift - its a wooden horse, and its trojaned (Ian Hixie agrees). Here we have AOL continuing the investment in Mozilla with the aim of using Gecko in its next version of its AOL browser - even to the extent of beta testing it in a trial run. What need is there for a royalty free license for Internet Explorer - the very browser AOL are trying to remove? Or is Netscape and Mozilla merely the bargaining chip for AOL to extract "concessions" from Microsoft?
That alone is fatal to Netscape's future, and most certainly AOL's future on any platform other than Microsoft is now certainly non-existant.
Killing off standalone IE on Windows, and Mac IE
A newer revelation, from Microsoft themselves, is an affirmation that Internet Explorer will no longer be supplied as a stand-alone product. It will actually be part of the operating system. So anyone wanting to upgrade their browser will now have to purchase an upgrade of the Windows operating system. (As Tim Bray's Lauren notes, and now confirmed by CNet, this means no more releases of IE for the Mac.)
This is the type of lock-in by Microsoft we have been expecting for a long time. Web designers believing that Internet Explorer is the only browser that matters on the World Wide Web, Judgement Day has arrived. There's three choices open to you:
- Force your visitors to upgrade their operating system every time you upgrade yours - keeping bugwise compatibility
- Commit to using Internet Explorer 6 until 2010 (when the AOL royalty free license expires)
- Acknowledge that browser-dependant authoring is a complete failure and adopt web standards.
Of course, the realists will recognise that the third alternative is the only viable option - we'll have to wait to see if those webdesigners can face reality. Dave Winer has noticed his self-inflicted conundrum.
- BitWorking: A losing proposition
- BoingBoing: Can Mozilla live without Netscape?
- Jimmy Grewal (via Zeldman)
- Eric Meyer: Hail and Farewell
- Tantek Celik: End of development for Mac Internet Explorer
- Simon Willison: The reason why monopolies are a bad idea
- What do I know: The disturbing trend in browsers (via Simon Willison)
- Maccessibility: No further Internet Explorer development on Mac
- Zeldman: R.I.P
- Zeldman: IE/AOL: the flip side
- Zeldman: 2005? Are they kidding?
- Zeldman: Conspiracy theory
- Zeldman: More IE5/Mac perspectives
- since1968: Interviews - Jeffery Zeldman
- And The Web Played On -- an excellent read (via Tantek)
- Daring Fireball: Internet Explorer -- good summary
- Dave Winer vindicated by Bill Gates
- WaSP: End of free IE not the end of web standards
- CNet: Week in review: Browser unease
- The Register: Microsoft gives IE for Mac the boot (Simon Willison corrects)
- Washington Post: Safari time for Mac users
- ZDNet[UK]: Microsoft may be scoring own goal with IE plans
- ZDNet[UK]: Will Microsoft's browser engine backfire?