Robert Scoble gets defensive in response to an offhand comment by a member of the Mozilla team in an Ars Technica interview. In the process, he lets leak the revelation that the Microsoft Internet Explorer team is getting back together. This is later confirmed by a once-and-future team member, and a Wiki feedback page for IE feature requests is also getting a bit of attention.
So far, though, I haven’t seen anything to suggest that any of this will be available for current Windows versions, something they’ve said in the past. If this remains true, anyone wanting the new, better IE will have to upgrade to the next version of Windows to get it.
Apparently, the “doesn’t care” comment in Ars Technica has stung several people at Microsoft. While quite a few employees may care about the quality of IE, they need to recognize that the official position at Microsoft until now has been indifference, as evidenced by the IE release history in recent years. If they really cared, we’d have IE7 by now, and possibly IE8.
What’s more, the IE team has an uphill battle to convince us that they’re for real. It was an article of faith during the old browser wars that MS would let IE stagnate once Netscape was killed off. That’s no longer an article of faith; it’s a fact of history. Now Mozilla is ascending again, and surprise! Microsoft gets the IE team back together. Will they try to kill off Mozilla and then submerge again?
I doubt it, but only because they’ll have to succeed at killing Mozilla first, and I can’t see a DFSG-free Internet Explorer for Linux coming anytime soon. Thus, Mozilla will always have a safe haven, something Microsoft cannot provide as long as it allows independent development on Windows.
(Seen via Slashdot.)
UPDATE (June 21): For an idea of what Microsoft has to overcome, read this.