Why is it that when the subject of Microsoft or Internet Explorer comes up in conversation any business sense goes right out the window especially within the tech industry. A prime example of this is the stupid fuss being made over the fact that Microsoft has decided to enable IE 8’s Compatibility Mode in the case of Intranets. Now, just to clarify – this is for cases of the IE 8 browser being used on internal company networks which is commonly referred to as intranets. This is not the case when the browser is being used to browse the Internet.
This change in the default settings for IE 8 (from Beta 2 onward) prompted a attention grabbing post headline from Matt Craven over at the Blog Herald where he proclaim Microsoft breaks standards compatibility promise with IE8 Beta 2. While Matt was framing his post around an equally specious post by Harkon Lie the CTO of Opera in The Register Matt used this as yet another reason why Firefox was his browser of choice.
The fact that Harkon Lie could only point to this; and the fact that IE 8 couldn’t pass the Acid 3 Web Standards test (which Firefox has chosen not to try and pass either by the way), as a reason against using the browser is utterly ridiculous. One only has to use the very points raised by Harkon in his post to understand the reasoning for the change. As he points out
The PC market can be split into two segments — the enterprise market and the home market. The enterprise market accounts for around 60 per cent of all PCs sold, while the home market accounts for the remaining 40 per cent. Within enterprises, intranets are used for all sorts of things and account for, perhaps, 80 per cent of all page views. Thus, intranets account for about half of all page views on PCs!
80% of all page views.
Now, considering that these corporations probably have millions of dollars invested in web applications that run on these intranets can you imagine the uproar if they all started breaking. All because Microsoft decided not to enforced this Compatibility Mode right across the board for intranets. Many of these intranets are using a myriad of ActiveX components and custom coding that are not web standards compliant. To expect them to either re-code everything or to have IT departments waste money and resources on something that Microsoft can solve with one simple adjustment is stupid.
Internet Explorer 8 is going to have a hard enough time as it is when it officially launches. Silliness like this is nothing but a case of misdirection and FUD from a company that is a minor player in the browser field. Our time would be better spent on using the browser during its beta releases and helping web developers get ready for the change that is coming as IE8 becomes web standards compliant. Big deal if it isn’t intranet compliant.
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