WSP News: Web Standards Project Blasts Microsoft for "Arrogance"

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From: Sally Khudairi (
Date: Mon Apr 10 2000 - 06:01:36 PDT

For Immediate Release

Contact --

Jeffrey Zeldman
Group Leader

Simon St. Laurent

Dori Smith

(WaSP) today denounced Internet Explorer 5.5 Windows Edition for abandoning
Web standards Microsoft has publicly committed to supporting, and focusing
on proprietary technologies which are certain to fragment the
already-troubled Web space.

"We are incensed by Microsoft's arrogance, and
perplexed by its schizophrenic decision to support standards on one
platform while undercutting them on another," said Web Standards Project
group leader Jeffrey Zeldman.

The group is outraged by Microsoft's decision not to support key W3C
standards, notably the DOM Level 1 core and portions of the CSS1
specification, in the market-leading Windows version of its Internet
Explorer browser. Microsoft's reversal will make it nearly impossible for
Web developers to create documents that adhere to Web standards. At the
same time, the proprietary technology that Microsoft is providing may lure
some developers deeper into functionality that is supported on only one
browser and one operating system - Microsoft's.

"This approach mocks the dream of 'code once, read anywhere' that has
driven so much of the Web's success," said WaSP Steering Committee member
Simon St.Laurent. "By 'innovating' ahead of the W3C ( in
areas like Cascading Style Sheets behaviors while leaving large chunks of
standardized processing and styling unsupported, Microsoft risks creating
even more complicated browser incompatibilities than already exist."

"The Web community has waited for more than four years for Microsoft to
fulfill their long-standing pledge to fully adhere to W3C-issued
Recommendations," said WaSP Steering Committee member and CEO of ZOT Group
Sally Khudairi. "The collective patience of both users and developers is
running out: why should
anyone settle for Web pages that work on only one browser, on one platform
and on a limited set of devices?"

The group pointed out that Microsoft itself helped create many of the
standards it appears to be abandoning in IE5.5/Windows, and noted with
bitter irony that Microsoft's newly released IE5/Macintosh Edition does a
masterful job of supporting key Web standards. "Do they want us to code for
the standards-compliant Macintosh version, or the incomplete - but dominant
- Windows version?" Zeldman demanded.

"By casting aside standards, Microsoft is making it more difficult, if not
impossible, to create Web pages that would be accessible on a variety of
devices and platforms," said WaSP steering committee member Dori Smith.
"This hurts a wide variety of Web users, from the executive using a
Web-enabled cell phone to a visually impaired senior citizen."

Added Zeldman: "Coming on the heels of Netscape's preview release, it's
hard not to view this as exactly the kind of 'predatory' behavior the U.S.
Justice Department laid at Microsoft's door. If Microsoft, as the dominant
player, undercuts Web standards on its prevailing Windows platform,
developers will be helplessly spun in Microsoft's direction, killing the
dream of a Web that is accessible to everyone."


The Web Standards Project is an international grassroots coalition of Web
developers and users fighting for standards on the Web, by calling attention
to browser incompatibilities that fragment the medium, prevent many people
from using the Web, and add 25% to the cost of developing all sites. The
WaSP urges all browser manufacturers to support existing standards before
incorporating proprietary innovations, and is working to educate Web authors
and Web-related software developers so that we may create a Web that works
for everyone. For more information on WaSP, please see


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