Microsoft Hopes IE 8 Will Ease Doubts About Interop Commitment

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2008-03-06 Print this article Print

The way to staying open and following a clear path is to keep the user in control, company official says.

LAS VEGAS-Microsoft is hoping customers and developers will accept the release of the Internet Explorer 8 beta as concrete evidence of its commitment to the recently announced new interoperability principles.

Microsoft rolled out a set of four new interoperability principles Feb. 21 that it said would ensure open connections, promote data portability, enhance support for industry standards, and foster more open interaction with customers and the industry.

The company has also denied that it was pressured to increase the openness of its high-volume products. While Horacio Gutierrez, Microsoft's vice president of intellectual property and licensing, acknowledged that many people were skeptical of the move, he said the company was confident that people would look at its actions as well as its words.

Now Microsoft is hoping they will do just that with IE 8. One Microsoft official after another here at MIX08 pointed to the just released first beta for Internet Explorer 8, the next version of its Web browser, as evidence of that commitment, even glossing over the security advances the new browser would bring so as not to detract from that message.

"While there are security improvements in Internet Exchange 8 beta one, and there will be more going forward, we want people to know about the big shift we are making to prioritize standards," Matt Lapsen, the director of Internet Explorer product management, told eWEEK at the MIX08 show here.

With regard to criticisms of its embrace of standards in IE 8, especially after it emerged that Microsoft had written a new layout component for CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), Lapsen said there was no definitive CSS test suite, and its rewrite of the layout component had been designed to help move that forward.

"We have written it and are asking for feedback on it. We're trying to help move standards forward, in an open way, and we are trying to give our users what they need and want," Lapsen said.

The new layout engine, WebSlices and Activities functionality found in IE 8 were also all developed in response to user feedback and ensured that the new browser was delivering features that no other browser did, he said.

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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