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Web group: Microsoft missing browser standards

The software giant is under fire from a grassroots software coalition that says the company does not support key industry standards as promised in its latest version of the Internet Explorer Web browser.

    Microsoft is under fire from a software coalition that says the software giant does not support key industry standards as promised in its latest version of the Internet Explorer Web browser.

    The Web Standards Project, a group comprising Web developers and consumers calling for adherence to Web standards, said it is "outraged."

    The group said that Microsoft decided not to support industry-wide standards adopted by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) in the Windows version of its Internet Explorer browser and is promoting its own proprietary technology instead, according to a statement released yesterday.

    Specifically, the group said that Microsoft has failed to implement the W3C's Document Object Model (DOM and portions of the Cascading Style Sheets 1 (CCS1) specifications. It added that Microsoft's decision not to support these standards would make it "nearly impossible" for Web developers to create documents that adhere to Web standards.

    CCS1 would allow developers to control the style and layout of multiple Web pages at once. DOM is the standard for a language-neutral interface that aims to make it easier for programmers to write applications that work on all browsers and servers.

    Microsoft said it tries to adhere to as many industry standards as possible when developing its products, but that it is has limited time and resources. Furthermore, it must consider the interests of consumers and corporate customers in addition to the needs of Web developers, the company said.

    "We do think that standards are incredibly important and we will continue to work with standards bodies," said Shawn Sanford, a Microsoft product manager. "We also need to make sure that we're balancing our development efforts to deliver great benefits to end users and corporate clients.

    "The interesting point is that we've continued to be the most standard-compliant shipping browser," he added.

    The criticism from the standards group comes just a week after a federal judge ruled that Microsoft violated antitrust laws by using its monopoly position in operating systems to capture the market for Web browsers. The court concluded that the computing giant maintained its monopoly power by anti-competitive means and attempted to monopolize the Web browser market.

    The group said that by setting aside standards, Microsoft is making it more difficult and "almost impossible" to create Web pages that can be accessed from and run on a variety of devices and operating systems, in effect hurting a "wide variety of Web users."