Browser war? What browser war?

Browser war? What browser war?

Summary: Another Firefox update. Ho-hum. Oh. Wait. This one's an official release from ... Microsoft? If there's a browser war going on, someone forgot to tell the folks who are supposed to be doing the fighting.

TOPICS: Browser

A tipster just e-mailed me news of another Firefox add-in. Ho-hum. What does that make - 2 billion?

Oh. Wait. This one's different:

Blog This for Firefox adds a button to Firefox which starts a new Windows Live Writer blog post prepopulated with content and title from the current web page.

The real shock is that this add-in was written by Microsoft employees and posted on Microsoft servers, at the Windows Live Gallery. It works, too. (I'm composing this post in Windows Live Writer after clicking the Blog This button from Firefox

Firefox purists will complain that it was written as a Windows Installer package rather than being distributed as a Firefox extension. But that's not such a big deal. Windows Live Writer runs only on Windows, after all, so anyone capable of using this extension is perfectly capable of running the executable.

Let's see: Microsoft adopts the Firefox RSS icon for IE7. Mozilla hires the ex-Microsoft employee who shipped Windows XP Service Pack 2 as security head for Firefox. Microsoft invites Firefox team to Redmond for Vista hands-on help, and they accept.

They're just not doing browser wars like they used to.

Update 29-Sep: Microsoft also released a new (beta) version of Windows Live Writer this week.

Topic: Browser

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Complete Fallacy


    Once again the ilk of ZDNet shows how gullible they are in yet another blog post. I can't believe the great and evil empire that is MICRO$OFT has managed to snow so many people over. M$ doesn't care about you guys! They don't want a "safe Internet" or "cooperation" or any of that crap, THEY WANT WORLD DOMINATION.

    Hasn't anyone ever heard of the old saying "keep your friends close but your enemies closer"?


  • Microsoft is conceding on the browser for now

    Microsoft is a for-profit corporation. IE is a money loser. Every dollar spent on browser development is a dollar that could have been spent developing a profitable product.
    • If that were true...

      Then why would they have just spent a full year and a WHOLE LOT of money developing IE7, with a roadmap and a commitment to regular updates to it?

      That doesn't sound like a company that is "conceding on the browser."
      Ed Bott
      • Really?

        Actually, IE7 has been in development for closer to 2 years.

        I'm sure you've tried the beta. Does it look like code that has been in development for two years at the cost of a WHOLE LOT of money to you?

        ...doesn't look like it to me either.

        Don't get me wrong, it's much better than the current 5 year old shipping version that we use now and is still based on 10 year old Mosaic code - but MS's best coders are not pounding on IE7.
    • Say what?

      Think about it for a sec. You see more and more web apps and web-centric computing every day. One thing Microsoft must do to maintain dominance is convince the average user that [i]their[/i] web "experience" is the [i]best[/i] web experience. Fostering this impression of MSIE is one way of keeping those customers on the Windows platform.

      MSIE in isolation may be a loss leader, but Windows isn't.
  • Did I miss something

    Does firefox actually work now under Vista RC1? Last I heard it only works until you restart the computer.
    • Not true in the least

      Every version of Firefox has worked in every beta version of Vista I've tried. I've had Firefox and earlier versions installed on my main Vista systems for months without incident.

      If you have a link for this report, please pass it along. I'd like to investigate further.
      Ed Bott
  • Not just "purism"

    Indeed, this "war" has a lot of "peace talks" and it is not nearly as aggressive and predatory as it was with Netscape a decade ago. There are many Firefox add-ons for the Microsoft world now (though I'm yet to see the opposite).

    So, it is no big deal that there are third-party Firefox add-ons like, for example, IE Tab, which allows you to open a page using IE within Firefox, in the Maxthon fashion - very handy for those (fortunately already very few and decreasing) sites that still can only be displayed well with IE, or for when you want to save a page locally in .MHT format (not supporting it is perhaps my only complaint about Firefox).

    What I found really surprising was Microsoft developing an IE add-on to implement WGA verification in Firefox, just like the corresponding ActiveX control does in IE. It is chiefly intended for when you access Microsoft's download page with Firefox and want to get some file that is reserved for authentic Windows copies only (Windows Update remains not *yet* possible with Firefox). That means an implicit recognition by Microsoft that not only there is an alternative to IE, but that many Windows users prefer it over IE.

    Like the new Windows Live add-on, the WGA verification one comes as a Windows Installer package - which, from a user's *installation* standpoint is no big deal, I agree, since Sun's Java Runtime Environment and Adobe's Flash Player (both essential for anyone's Web experience today) come that way, too.

    What bothers me is that Microsoft's add-ons (as well as Sun's and Adobe's) don't appear on Firefox's "Add-ons" window and can't be managed from there. If the WGA add-on can be uninstalled or temporarily deactivated for some reason, I don't know how it could be done (Java has a native configuration option for that, and Flash can be blocked with the NoScript add-on, which is intended to block JavaScript but also works for Flash). Doing that is easy with any "real" Firefox add-on (i.e., one that uses the Mozilla-sanctioned format), using the proper window.

    So, it's not just "purism" that might lead one to complain about the way such add-ons are installed and managed (or not at all). It has a lot to do with keeping Firefox a consistent, cohesive project and software, which is good from a software engineering standpoint and benefits users, too. I can understand the worries about that and I don't think it's just vain "purism."
  • RE: Browser war? What browser war?

    Microsoft is inferior to Firefox & Safari. For
    that matter also Opera! Don't you just get
    tired of Microsoft's monopoly(government
    sponsered monolopy)
  • Browser war's collateral damagem respect for the customer or web site viewe

    I find it extremely annoying when I go to a website that insists on being accessed only by IE 6 or IE 7. Usually its a ASP server that somebody is pushing crappy Active X content to my system. If its a website I really want to view or it has content I need I will copy and paste the d___ URL into IE7. If its not I dump the site and go find what I'm looking for elsewhere.

    I also find the same idiocy on websites running Flash or Realplayer. Those I just dump. They don't get a second chance.

    It is a question of respect. If the owners of the website are not willing to allow an alternative presentation other than with full trashy animation and unwanted music, then they don't get my business. If I walk into a stone & mortar and I tell the salesman to just let me look around, they are smart enough (usually) to let me look around without annoying me.

    Visiting a website and being allowed to look at pages without having to put up with annoying animation or music falls into the same category, you are showing respect to the customer. Forcing the user to use a particular browser or turn on animation or ActiveX support is the same as having to listen to unwanted salesmens' pitches.