Rendering Unknown Elements and IE Support (was: Re: [whatwg]

Matthew Thomas mpt at
Sun Jul 4 15:11:18 PDT 2004

On 4 Jul, 2004, at 2:05 PM, Lachlan Hunt wrote:
> ...
> Microsoft could do lots of things.  Since they effectively ceased 
> development of IE over the last few years, they could:
> ...
> Or anything else you can think of, but since Microsoft cares more 
> about their market share for a dead browser rather than supporting 
> standards, they're unlikely to do any of those any time soon.
> ...

Microsoft aren't making money from Internet Explorer, except inasmuch 
as its ability to view IE-targeted Web sites is a reason to buy Windows 
rather than another OS.

But the more people use (non-IE-specific) Web apps, the fewer people 
rely on Windows apps.

Therefore the only reason for Microsoft to care about Internet Explorer 
market share *now*, it seems to me, is in retarding the Web -- 
minimizing the ability for people to create Web apps sophisticated 
enough to replace Windows apps. Therefore they'll maintain market share 
with features like pop-up blocking, a download manager, and improved 
security, without improving the standards compliance at all.

Nevertheless, the WhatWG specs will make it easier for people to create 
non-IE-specific Web apps sophisticated enough to replace Windows apps.

For Internet Explorer, the WhatWG specs will be implemented externally 
using HTCs.

Therefore, perhaps, more likely than any of the items on your list is 
one of the following:

*   Use a patent lawsuit (whether or not it is ultimately
     successful) as justification for permanently removing/
     /reducing support for HTCs. (Precedent: Using the
     ultimately-unsuccessful Eolas lawsuit as justification
     for permanently removing support for Netscape-API

*   Use a security vulnerability (whether or not it is
     otherwise fixable) as justification for permanently
     removing/reducing support for HTCs. (Precedent: Using a
     security vulnerability as justification for permanently
     removing support for the Gopher protocol.)

I don't know whether HTCs are used too much elsewhere to make that 
infeasible, but it is perhaps something to think about when drafting 
the Web Apps and Web Controls specs.

Matthew Thomas

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