posted by Roberto J. Dohnert on Wed 14th Jul 2004 06:12 UTC
IconThe other day I attended the Chat with the Internet Explorer team. While I found it interesting and the fact that Microsoft is opening itself up more to the public by allowing developers to blog and allowing more public exposure at their conferences I will say I was very disappointed in the chat. Microsoft totally ignored the issues and the questions that really mattered were deflected and basically passed on for something more that Microsoft wanted to talk about.

I dont have a love/hate relationship for Microsofts products. I generally like the Microsoft offerings and have even started to embrace more of their offerings and with Yukon and Longhorn I find myself anticipating some of Microsofts future products. But, with the insecurities and problems that have sprung from Microsofts web browser it raises the question whether Internet Explorer 7 will be welcome with open arms or just more of a waste of hard drive space. Microsofts design techniques regarding Internet Explorer is 70 % of their problems, the other 30% is the work of very clever hackers and malicious code writers. Before I start let me just say I hold no ill will towards Microsoft. I know a couple of their engineers and partners and I think Microsoft for the most part does a pretty good job of dealing with the volume of customers that they have and I will say without a shadow of a doubt that I do not believe that any other company out here could do any better of a job dealing with that kind of volume. Everything I list here is only an opinion of how I think Microsoft could do a better job in regards to their browser technologies and should not be construed as an attack of any kind

Integration

Integration of products can be good, yet sometimes it can come back and bite you in the future. Personally, I feel that the integration of Internet Explorer into Windows was generally a very bad call. It does offer its benefits but from my experiences with Internet Explorer it has done more harm than good. Microsoft during its chat indicated that they were going to even go further and integrate Internet Explorer into Windows more tightly. Another bad call, we have seen the issues that rise up from Internet Explorer now and we know the trusted zones concept does not work very well at all further integration has the potential of being more devastating. The web browser also is the one most trusted application to go through the firewall and when the next exploit comes its going to be very difficult to curb the effects from it. I say when because its no longer a question of IF they can exploit your browser, it is a question of WHEN they will exploit the browser, Also to the degree of integration that Internet Explorer has with Windows now it makes it extremely difficult to patch the browser because not only do the engineers have to worry about breaking something in Windows itself so patching is not the only hurdle the developers have but the amount of testing that they have to do also plays a huge role in how the job needs to be done

Making Windows the vessel of delivery for Internet Explorer

For those of you that do not know this yet Microsoft has said and confirmed that it will no longer make Internet Explorer into a standalone product for older versions of the Windows OS but instead will only deliver new versions of Internet Explorer in the new versions of its Windows OS. Bad idea, I work with several Windows clients now and the one constant battle that I have with these customers is getting them to upgrade. Generally IT guys do not upgrade until the last possible minute. For example, I have had several customers who still refuse to upgrade from Windows NT, I have even more that still use Linux kernel 2.2. The general consensus is if it isn't broke don't fix it. IT leads are a tight group of people and they generally do not buy or spend their budget without a reason. In saying that I doubt customers especially the IT guys will buy Longhorn for Internet Explorer 7. A lot of IT guys will think that its more of a waste of money since what they have already just works. Consumers will pursue alternatives at that point such as Firefox or Netscape possibly Opera. If Microsoft continues down this road I think they will single handedly kill their own product.

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