Microsoft is investing in new online services
Microsoft made the WebSlice Format specification available under the Microsoft Open Specification Promise, and was dedicating copyright in the specification to the public domain using the Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication, he said. It had also made the OpenService Format specification available under the Microsoft Open Specification Promise and the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike license, Lapsen said.With regard to its recent decision to have IE 8 default to standards-compliant mode, Lapsen said the company had been thinking about the move for some time and that it was not related to the antitrust lawsuit Opera recently filed against the company. The issue of standards and interoperability were complex and there has been a lot of discussion around this. "I know of no legal or regulatory requirement that would dictate what mode we put the browser in. We want to do the right thing and we want responsible disclosure," he said. But the moves will now make it very hard for Opera to prove its case, Chris Swenson, the director of software industry analysis at the NPD Group, told eWeek. "Now Microsoft can say that IE 8 is standards compliant out-of-the-box." By supporting CSS 2.1, HTML 5, and other Web standards, Microsoft was also actually helping its competitors in the browser space. "Pages that look great in one browser, will most likely look great in another. Thus, not only is IE 8 going to make developers happy, but it should make the guys at Opera, Mozilla, Apple, and elsewhere happy as well," Swenson said. Microsoft's Lapsen notes that in addition to greater openness and interoperability, Microsoft also has to deliver innovation and value to its customers, partners and developers, while making sure the user remained in control. But many of Microsoft's competitors are skeptical, particularly those in the open-source space, with Red Hat's General Counsel Michael Cunningham saying he had heard it all before. But Microsoft's Lapsen pointed to the fact that responsibility comes with market leadership, saying that "I believe that the way to staying open and following a clear path is to keep the user in control."
Also, as people were using the Web ever increasingly more heavily, Microsoft was responding by investing in new online services. "Activities are a way to help expose online services, while WebSlices delivers what people want on the Web today. It allows persistent connectivity to what they care most about," Lapsen said.