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Opera Browser Usage and Support Forum

Opera Software Catches MSN...again

 3:36 pm on Feb 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

Microsoft and MSN has a history of trying to stop people from using the Opera browser. When trying to access MSN.com using the Opera7 browser, there are two visible problems. First, for the user it looks like Opera7 has a serious flaw so that many lines are partially hidden. Second, the page shows less content than users of Microsoft's Internet Explorer (MSIE) see.

The purpose of this page is to document, in technical terms, what is going on. Did the Opera programmers make grave mistakes? Or is it something wrong on the MSN site? If so, is the Opera browser targeted specifically? (Executive summary: no, yes, yes)

Opera Documentation:

Reg Story:

In Opera's view MSN is therefore looking specifically for "Opera" in the User-Agent string and sending it a broken style sheeet.



 4:03 pm on Feb 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

WoW. Looks like M$ is back to its old ways...


 4:08 pm on Feb 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

That's cloaking, as bad as it gets.

Good and free publicity for Opera :)


 4:41 pm on Feb 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

Oh brother.

Microsoft would like us to believe that it is a benign company with computer users best interest in mind, whose goal is to be the technology leader through great products and solid design.

Yet things like this always come out, which tarnishes their image.

The funny thing is, they don't have to be the bully. Their focus should remain on making a better product.


 7:42 pm on Feb 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

Well you did say "a history of" but this is definitely old news (and old MSN games)
but its not just Opera that has been messed with, Mozilla was first:


I just wonder if it is poor/lazy cross browser compatibility testing or intentional (or both)

What the person in the article is saying is silly, because the page working in Opera 6 and they admit that. So it's broken for 7 which is no big news, if they detect opera thinking its version 6 and do the wrong style adjustment, Opera 7 can do bad looking things. They just need to improve the agent detection for 7! Too much hype, The Register must have had a slow news day.


 7:50 pm on Feb 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

The issue seems to be not just a style sheet, but different content too.

Hmm, if I use Opera, and Google use Googlebot to read the oage, and we get given substantially different content, isn't that cloaking, pure and simple?

Anyone want a bet on how long before Microsoft get a PageRank zero!?


 8:10 pm on Feb 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

MSN and all of MSN groups already has a greybar probably indicated its not indexed anyway... I have found some nice forums by accident that were not to be found in Google anywhere and wish that they had been...


 11:03 pm on Feb 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

The Reg, incidentally, is regularly baffled by being unable to find stuff on Microsoft TechNet using Opera, because yet again we've forgotten that for some bizarre reason, lots of results from there in IE can equal no results at all in Opera. We've no idea whether this is a plot or not, either.

Same thing on the developer site. Many times following a link from a search engine with Opera I just get a server index page. By now I know I must fire up IE and take my chances on the poor security when that happens.


 2:39 am on Feb 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

Ditto Tedster. You just about can't use an Opera agent name on any Microsoft property from Hotmail to Expedia with the agent name Opera. Run a proxy that switches the agent to a pure IE agent name, and it works good.


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