Microsoft's quick about face on denying millions of Opera users access to
their main Web portal, MSN. Microsoft's abrupt change of mind came after
hostile reactions were reported in the media from many Opera users who
had tried to access the site.
Microsoft claimed that Opera users were denied entry because the Opera
browser "doesn't support the latest XHTML standard," according to Bob
Visse, MSN's director of marketing.
"Opera's XHTML standard is of the highest quality," says Jon S. von
Tetzchner, CEO of Opera Software ASA. "In fact, Opera is internationally
acclaimed and renowned for its strict compliance with all international
Internet standards. Maybe Microsoft should take a look at its lack of
respect for the World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) international
Internet standards before bad-mouthing others."
The W3C is the international body created to ensure interoperability
between technologies (specifications, guidelines, software, and tools) to
lead the Web to its full potential.
The irony of Microsoft's claim to standards support is complete when
you check the MSN.com site for compliance with the XHTML standard. Anyone
can go to the W3C's standards validation service at
http://validator.w3.org/ and type in www.msn.com. The returned document
demonstrates clearly that not a single document on their site adheres
to W3C specifications, and many of their documents do not use XHTML at
all, e.g. http://careers.msn.com/.
This is not the first time Microsoft has tried to deny Opera users
entry. Before, Microsoft has tried to keep Opera users out from its
IIS-servers by excluding Opera from the browsercap.ini set-up files. That
would exclude Opera users from any Web sites running on Microsoft's server
Opera Software sees Microsoft's latest behavior as a sign of their
acknowledgement of Opera as a valid threat to its dominance. In the last
year, over 6 million copies of the Opera browser for Windows has been
successfully downloaded and installed from Opera's Web site by users all
over the world looking for a better Internet experience.
On non-PC devices, the industry leaders in the market are joining
forces with Opera, and the Opera family of browsers is currently the
leading browser choice for embedded devices.