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Microsoft vs. Opera

yet another settlement

     

RonPK

1:37 pm on May 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Strong rumours [news.zdnet.co.uk] claim that Microsoft paid $ 12 million to Opera, in order to avoid Opera's complaints that MS was blocking MSN for Opera users.

Opera reported [newsweb.no] the payment to the Oslo stock exchange, but refuses to identify the 'international corporation'.

RonPK

3:53 pm on May 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

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According to my source, Dutch web magazine WebWereld, Microsoft refuses to comment on rumours.

Earlier threads on this:
[webmasterworld.com...]
[webmasterworld.com...]
[webmasterworld.com...]

Brett_Tabke

6:14 pm on May 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator brett_tabke is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



Wow!

Microsoft was alleged (we all saw it) to intentionally block Opera browser a few years ago from MSN. It was obvious by simply changing any character in the Opera Agent string, that MSN would work perfectly.

> Serving different style sheets would have been correct.

That maybe part of it, but I think mostly what we are talking about here is the incident, where microsoft intentional either blocked, or broke access to microsoft.com.

One of the more interesting statements in the article:

Microsoft has effectively abandoned significant browser development efforts. That's left companies with negligible market share such as Opera and Netscape's Mozilla open-source project to lead innovation in the field.

IE is certainly looking very dated these days.

BlobFisk

6:56 pm on May 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

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A very interesting article indeed.


IE's dominance has also created fallout for Web standards, because Microsoft delivers the Web to roughly nine out of every 10 people who use it.

Considering the statement that MS are drastically cutting back on IE development, I wonder though how long it will take for the significant market share that IE has to wane in any way. Considering that IE is bundled standard with XP...

normaldude

7:18 pm on May 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Considering the statement that MS are drastically cutting back on IE development, I wonder though how long it will take for the significant market share that IE has to wane in any way. Considering that IE is bundled standard with XP...

Very very slowly.

But Mac moving from IE to Safari will help. And growing Linux market share will help. And it seems more & more people are using Mozilla/Firefox even on Windows (although that might just be cannibalizing the Opera market).

Fact is, most people are going to use the browser that's already on their desktop. I believe that today, something like 95% of surfers are using either IE 5.* or 6.*.

digitalv

9:13 pm on May 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Even if this rumor were true, why would anyone have had to pay off anyone else? There is nothing illegal about blocking your website to a particular browser.

If I wanted to block all Opera visitors from visiting my site and Opera had a problem with it, I would tell them to kiss it.

normaldude

9:19 pm on May 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Even if this rumor were true, why would anyone have had to pay off anyone else? There is nothing illegal about blocking your website to a particular browser.

For most cases, yes.

But Microsoft has monopoly power, and is thus held to a different standard.

IanTurner

10:08 pm on May 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I think Brett's hit the nail on the head.

Having access to MSN.com blocked would have been considered a benefit by most Opera users. Blocking access to microsoft.com would have been much more painful and deliberate abuse of a monopolistic position.

kaled

12:30 am on May 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

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It wasn't just MSN. A few months ago, I found I had to change the User Agent on Opera to view the MSDN site. (Microsoft Developers Network)

As for it not being illegal, I would expect such practices to be illegal throughout most of the developed world.

I seem to recall that MS got into trouble for causing a program to deliberately crash when run under DRDOS many moons ago - the program might even have been an early version of Windows.

Kaled.

grelmar

3:20 am on May 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Microsoft still messes with other browsers.

MSN submit site is un-viewable in FF, of which I have the latest versions. It tells me I need to "upgrade" my browser (pshaw!) and provides a link to where you can download IE

don't believe me?

[advertising.msn.com...]

Try it in FF... (moz works, dunno about opera)

mivox

3:40 am on May 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member mivox is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



Yup, couldn't access it with my version of Firefox. Then again, I get all sorts of "non-supported browser" errors when I'm using Opera (not so much with FF).

Netflix gives me an unsupported browser message with Opera, but at least they give me the option of entering the site anyway (and it works fine when I do). In general though, almost all of them are easily attributable to a know-nothing webmaster using an IE/NN-only javascript sniffer...

MS really should know better though, being part of the browser business and all. They'd have a hard time pleading ignorance in a courtroom. ;)

blaze

7:47 am on May 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I really don't think Microsoft blocked anyone intentionally. Let's face it, they WANT opera/netscape to be around or then they'll start to be treated like a government utility.

You think they were a monopoly before? Imagine the court cases when they have 100% of the browser market sewed up.

90% of the market is far superior to 100% of the market.

tedster

8:28 am on May 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



Well, that MSN page is a very strange bird then. It tells you that you're using Firefox (probably not a hard-coded message, I grant you) and then suggests that you "upgrade" to Netscape 4 or IE4. Now what is on that page that NN4 can handle, but not Firefox?

Yes, it could be webmaster stupidity or laziness or over-work, I guess, and not an intentional close-out.

Hester

8:56 am on May 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I noticed last week that the online Office help pages were missing gradients and font styles in Opera, looking much worse.

sherwoodseo

5:14 pm on May 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I'm glad that Opera gets to report $12.75 million in revenue.

[Sorry, I just couldn't resist. Hey, maybe they have significant revenues already... ]

searching...
currency conversion...

OK, they made $11.47 million in all of 2003. They must be ecstatic.

grelmar

6:31 pm on May 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Funny thing about that MSN page is that its mostly just a link to the Overture site, which works just fine in FF.

If MSN is planning on taking on google with a better directory for searches, this is a very weak start.

Also, its highly annoying that you have to pay for overture inclusion. They need a "submit a site" function a-la Google. Sure, that may not get you great placement in google, but its a foot in the door that you open wider by good SEO design on your site. MSN is missing the boat on that entirely.

So lets see...

MSN search has ticked me off by not supporting my favorite browser properly, and they want me to fork over $$ just to get the foot in the door to submit a site.... Hmmm.... Google shouldn't need to sweat much. Yet.

StupidScript

10:56 pm on May 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

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[advertising.msn.com...] works with NN4x, NN7x, Moz, Opera (regardless of its "Identify as.." choice), and of course MSIE4x-6.

Are you using Moz/FireFox on a Mac? FireFox uses the same core as Moz, so it's something extra.

If MS is currently trying to license FF (not unlikely, and certainly not unprecedented), then they may be messing with its users to bring the price down. (heehee, totally unsubstantiated)

Perhaps there's an issue with FF handling ActiveX objects? Perhaps MS is complaining about the extensive use of Sun's Java in the FF core, causing problems with data binding on their websites? It's possible that FF is not ready for primetime, as its "Technology Preview" v.0.8 moniker suggests.

StupidScript

11:06 pm on May 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Or perhaps MS web developers haven't yet updated the SubmitSite page to build in a tracking mechanism for FoxFire, as they have undoubtedly done with the other browsers, and so just reject it? FoxFire is, after all, pretty new.

grelmar

11:37 pm on May 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Using FireFox on a winbox, so not a Mac issue

They obivously recognize FF, because it says right on the page "You are using Firefox, not supported" etc.

I dunno about activeX, though that could very well be it. ActiveX pages give this browser grief, on and off.

markanthony

11:46 pm on May 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I work in the industrial market and I have found that a lot of major industrial vendors have sites that only let you in with ie or Netscape.

The biggest of the industrial tool suppliers (I don't think I can mention names here) will not let you into thier site with anything but ie or nn.

I guess you can't buy tools unless you use ie....

digitalv

2:44 am on May 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Also, its highly annoying that you have to pay for overture inclusion. They need a "submit a site" function a-la Google. Sure, that may not get you great placement in google, but its a foot in the door that you open wider by good SEO design on your site. MSN is missing the boat on that entirely.

Uh dude, the whole point behind Overture is that it's a pay per click search engine. That's what I like about it - with Google people can (and often do) spam the results. With Overture, every keyword submitted is reviewed by a person to make sure the site is on-target with the keywords being used. I think that's kinda cool, and I don't mind paying to be in there.

grelmar

4:33 am on May 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

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digitalv:
And that's also why Google is God, and Overture is an Also Ran.

Compatibility. Inclusion.

If you believe in digital democracy, those two words are what its all about for search engines. Which is why Overture is the perfect partner for MSN search.

sidyadav

7:22 am on May 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Windows Update is also currently un-accessable for Opera/any other browser except for IE, as I think only IE supports the plugins required to download 'em.

I personally feel it's quite alright for Microsoft to block Opera users (via UA), because if we do it (not to Opera, but to other browsers which are often used as fake user-agents), why can't Microsoft?

So if MS did pay 12 million, they just wasted it.

Sid

gmiller

9:16 am on May 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



The situation with MSN, as I recall, was that Microsoft foolishly tried to use browser sniffing to get around differences in the various browsers. Their Opera stylesheet broke when Opera fixed a CSS bug.

The extraordinarily weak claim would explain the extraordinarily small size of the settlement.

Sanenet

1:51 pm on May 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

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The problem with the MSN submit site is simply bad coding - if IE, opera or NN then IE, opera or NN friendly CSS, otherwise "go away" (instead of generic CSS).

advertising.msn.com/global/js/common.js

And it says "Firefox" on the page because they're reporting the UA.

Nicu_Alecu

6:04 am on May 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



The biggest of the industrial tool suppliers (I don't think I can mention names here) will not let you into thier site with anything but ie or nn.

Well, I've seen worse: the biggest (and most stupid) commercial bank in my country would not show any content on their web site unless you use some flavor of IE because they use mySAP-Portals.
Check it out [bcr.ro] with any UA but IE ...
It makes me wonder: could I squeeze a buck or two out of MS (or out of the bank, for that matter) for not letting me read credit conditions with my favourite browser? ;)
$12.75m would be a nice addition to my income statement!

pixelkat

6:40 pm on Jun 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



this is not a Microsoft-Opera problem only. I'm a long-time Netscape/Mozilla user. When I went to the Sallie Mae federal student loan site to consolidate my loans and view my account using Netscape 7.01, a message box popped up informing me the transaction could not be completed because I was using what THEY called, a non-compliant browser and stated that I needed to begin the process over using IE only!

of all the nerve! isn't accessibility mandated by U.S. federal law, that Section 506 thing? I don't call developing a site to a 'one-trick-pony' as being accessible according to federal standards! what were they thinkin'?

All I can say is LET Microsoft drop and exclude features of other browsers! Let them discontinue Mac support and no longer offer a freestanding version of future versions! Given the disregard for w3c standards and innovation complacency, IE has become the crappiest browser in the marketplace. what goes around comes around. if we can't influence the browser market with testimonials about other browsers, let Microsoft shoot itself in the foot! I don't mind.
;)

cheers,
kat