I'm back from vacation and catching up, but I couldn't let this slip by. Scoble, commenting on the interview with Mozilla's Scott Collins (who gave a talk at TALUG way back when I still lived in Ohio), mentions that he uses FireFox and that the IE team doesn't like it:

And, I know quite a few of the people on the IE team. They are not happy at all that I'm using Firefox. Whenever I have lunch or a meeting with someone on the IE team they ask me "how can we get you back?"

I have to say, when I first read that I nearly fell off my chair laughing. I was thinking "how stupid ARE these IE guys?!?!?!" But we all know that Microsoft is full of smart people who care about what they're doing. So something really doesn't compute here.

Last time I checked, IE wasn't even close to feature parity with Mozilla's browsers. No popup blocking, no tabbed browsing, etc.

Does the IE team really not know what their product is missing?

Or maybe Joel is right when he says:

The Internet Explorer team seems to have disappeared; they have been completely missing in action for several years. There's no way Microsoft is going to allow DHTML to get any better than it already is: it's just too dangerous to their core business, the rich client.

I don't know. I'm not saying that Scoble is lying, but it's hard for me to figure this one out...

Can anyone at Microsoft clarify what's really going on?

Update: Kevin Burton chimes in and shows us how to combine IE and Mozilla to boot.

Posted by jzawodn at June 17, 2004 03:50 PM

Reader Comments
# TDavid said:

Scoble doesn't have to use IE when 75%+ of the rest of the web is using it. These constant digs over other browser superiority are moot points when not even one single competitor has 10% of the market share. Sure, people can blame that on M$ dominance or a monopoly or whatever but the bottom line is ... the bottom line.

on June 17, 2004 03:55 PM
# Alden Bates said:

How long ago did IE 6 come out? You'd think they could rustle up a few changes and bug-fixes by now...

on June 17, 2004 04:53 PM
# Doug Ransom said:

The avant browser does all the stuff mozilla does or something pretty similar, but it is based on the IE rendering engine and it works well on intranets.

Tabbed browsing and seamless intranet access are why I use it. http://www.avantbrowser.com/

on June 17, 2004 05:37 PM
# GuilleBe said:

In this forum post on channel9, "Tony Chor, the Group Program Manager for the IE team" answers some of this questions. QUOTE: "it's probably fair to say that we defocused on Internet Explorer proper" ;)

on June 17, 2004 05:43 PM
# Will Cox said:

Usage Statistics:

2002: IE6 57.6% | IE 94.9%
2003: IE6 66.3% | IE 95.4%
2004: IE6 69.3% | IE 93.9%
trend line from Google

Regarding releases, there have been several, but they're called cumulative security patches. Meanwhile, Microsoft did state last year that IE would be integrated into the OS and no longer a separate product -- as if it were now.

Besides, there's this.

on June 17, 2004 05:48 PM
# Sam Newman said:

From much of what I've heard, the reason for the lack of patches on IE (and to a lesser extent the reason for the lack of new features) is that the code base is now a horrible mess (IIRC this can from Tantek, although I could be wrong). As Mozilla showed, a full browser rewrite is a huge job (gecko alone took years to get right) and as other commentors have shown, IE still has a huge share of the browser market. A software rewrite is going to cost MS money - and they aren't going to spend money unless its going to make them money. How exactly does MS make money from IE? More to the point, is the fact that people start using Firefox/Mozilla over IE going to hurt their bottom line all that much? People don't install windows over Linux because it has IE on it...

on June 18, 2004 01:30 AM
# KJO said:


I like FireFox, I really do, but there are a whole mess of websites out there which don't work well with it. This isn't the sites' problem and with an eye on the relative market shares of IE and Mozilla, it isn't Microsoft's problem either. Amazon don't want popup blockers; Online Banking providers couldn't care less whether you've got tabbed browsing or not; eBay are unimpressed with your ability to debug Javascript. So, Microsoftcdon't have to do anything right now; why would they?. Scott Collins is right: Microsoft doesn't care. However, perhaps that very lack of focus is Mozilla's opportunity, or even someone else's.


on June 18, 2004 04:32 AM
# Barnaby James said:

I'm sure the engineers know that it is a steaming pile and I'm guessing they'd really like to release another version. Most likely it is a management / "strategic" decision that they don't need to update it since a) there is no real competition and b) unlike office they can't charge for it. Eventually they'll decide that they need to "innovate" (a word everyone likes to use but no one seems to understand what it means) some of the Firefox / Safari features over to IE. Personally, I won't use it unless it really is many times better than firefox since it annoys me that they would only consider improving something if people have an option - and if you don't support Firefox then they won't have an option. The company should have more respect for their customers - when I do have to use IE it's like taking a trip back in time to 1999. Quick! Sell my tech stocks!

Of course none of this will matter since 90%+ of people will still just use the existing version. It's best not to think about it...

on June 18, 2004 07:08 AM
# Aristotle Pagaltzis said:

To all the commenters here: have you heard the phrase "voting with your feet"?

IE's marketshare is never gonna change if people cite it as a reason to keep using marketshare.

Fortunately, KJO, even banks will listen if someone explains to them that a standards compliant website is easier to display on multiple devices, including the browsers for people disabled in various ways, which they are required by law not to exclude.

If Amazon doesn't want their users to have popup blockers, they will find out that users will eventually do what they damn well please.

on June 18, 2004 07:11 AM
# Aristotle Pagaltzis said:

Also, if the team actually do want anyone to use IE, then they need to overhaul its architecture so it isn't orders of magnitude more likely to have serious security flaws than any other browser. Mozilla and Opera are not hole free either, but they're inherently a lot more secure than IE in its current incarnation can ever hope to be.

on June 18, 2004 07:15 AM
# Fred said:

But what about yahoo?
Yahoo still doesn't fully support the opera browser. You know that? Check this thread from opera forums:

on June 18, 2004 01:12 PM
# Scott Johnson said:

Sam Newman made some good points above.

More to the point, is the fact that people start using Firefox/Mozilla over IE going to hurt their bottom line all that much?

MS doesn't need IE. They spend money to develop it but really don't get anything in return. It's just another item to add to XP's feature list. So why not just relax and let Mozilla/Firefox take over? They don't really stand to lose anything except that glorious market share (which is monetarily worthless in the browser world).

on June 18, 2004 03:12 PM
# Luis said:

MS doesn't need IE. They spend money to develop it but really don't get anything in return.

Thats true only because they were forced to.

The employment policy in MS (as far as Ive read in a interview to Mr Gates, no direct knowledge at all) should explain why their sofware looks like it does.

on June 19, 2004 12:54 AM
# TDavid said:

Whomever thinks Microsoft "doesn't get anything in return" is forgetting about the default links. Those are worth something because there are some people who never change them and every default config has them :) It's not accidental that AOL with any install invades places like that.

on June 19, 2004 10:32 AM
# Dennis said:

It is obvious, that IE, as well as other products by Microsoft, adheres to the concept " never superfluous "

on June 19, 2004 11:56 AM
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