CNET News.com: Why did Microsoft keep browser feature from partners?

“Several developers say the software giant removed a key feature
from browser code that it shares with third-party developers but
kept the feature in its own version of the browser. … The
‘forms-autocomplete’ feature in Internet Explorer 5.0, released in
April, stores usernames, passwords, and any other information a
user regularly enters into online forms so that when the user
returns to a site, he or she does not have to remember all the

A Microsoft spokesperson said that… the issue is being
corrected for the 5.01 version of the browser, expected to be
shipped to developers ‘before the year is out.’ “

“…the removal gives Microsoft a competitive advantage, because
many users say it is a deciding factor in determining which browser
to download.

Some developers say Microsoft is concerned that the custom
versions of its browser could dilute the IE brand.”

” ‘This is troublesome to us,’ Drew Cohen, chief executive
of NeoPlanet, said in an interview. ‘Microsoft wasn’t supposed to
put code in the [operating system] layer that they weren’t offering
to third parties.’ “

Adam Stiles, chief executive of NetCaptor, said the other
developers he is in touch with ‘were all incredibly angry that this
feature was taken out. We all just flipped when this happened,’ he
added. Regarding the time frame for the fix, Stiles said: ‘Ouch,
that’s a long time to wait.’ … He added that Microsoft “has
released a number of patches to IE 5–one within days of the
initial release. The fix could have been included at that
time.’ “