Microsoft to embrace web standards?

No really – it is seemingly true. First Microsoft announce support for RSS and now the Web Standards Project announce that they have

formed a task force with Microsoft Corp. to provide support as the company increases Web standards support in its products including Microsoft Visual Studio and ASP.NET

The announcement goes on to say:

“Standards are of increasing importance as Web developers strive to make their sites work across all browsers and accessible by the broadest set of customers,� said Brian Goldfarb, product manager for Web Platform and Tools at Microsoft. “ASP.NET 2.0 and Visual Studio 2005 have made great strides in Web standards support, and Microsoft is committed to providing our customers with the best tools possible to create standards-conformant Web applications.�

Molly E. Holzschlag of WaSP says on her own site:

WaSP and Microsoft developers will work together to better understand and execute on Web standards as defined by standards bodies such as the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)


Up is down, black is white, I look out the window and I expect to see pigs flying by!

If this announcement is true (and I have no reason to doubt it is) then this is a great day for web standards.

Forgot to say thanks to Robert Scoble on whose site I first saw this mentioned.

6 thoughts on “Microsoft to embrace web standards?”

  1. Don’t get too excited. Microsoft has a long standing tradition of embracing standards. However it’s usually only the first stage of their overall “embrace and extend” strategy.

    The extensions are usually incompatible, proprietary and closed. They’re then foisted upon users via their bundled software, thus breaking the original standard for everyone else.

  2. Martin, you are right to be cautious but I think we are now seeing a Microsoft which is listening more to what people are saying and responding positively.

    I’m cautiously optimistic on this one! Only time will tell.

  3. It’s a cynical opinion I know, but the only reason they’re doing this is because web users are starting to prefer Firefox and other browsers that tout ‘web standards’. In the 90’s they drove Netscape and others out of the market by making their own rules, which developers had to follow because they were so big. Now if sites don’t work in IE, people have options – and the last thing MS want is people to switch. So they say they’ll play nice with everyone else.

    That, or they’ll expand standards so much the smaller browser developers won’t be able to understand them, and end up using MS products again (I think this is already happening with their ‘support’ of RSS – which is introducing loads of extensions.)

    Anyway, for now it’s a good thing.

  4. It will be nice if they do actually follow through on this. The guys at the IE blog seem quite sincere.
    Unfortunately, there do not seem to be many plans for standards compliance for the IE7 release. From my reading, it appears they are concentrating more on security than anything else. Also, the IE6 engine, Trident, is apparently at the stage where it is easier to rebuild it than to fix it.
    It will be nice to be able to code complex CSS, without having to rely on hacks such as the IE7 compatibility layer (as cool as it is).

    I’ll believe it when I see it.

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