"Despite Microsoft's promises to open up the Microsoft
Network (MSN) to all browser users, some portions of that Web site
are off-limits to users of the Opera and Amaya Web browsers.
The site in question, Carpoint, tells Amaya and Opera users that
there are features on the site not compatible with their browsers
and that they should upgrade to Internet Explorer:
'Microsoft Carpoint that contains the latest new- and used-car
features cannot be viewed using this browser.If you would like to
see what you are missing......you can upgrade your browser to the
latest version of Netscape, or click the icon below to download the
latest version of Internet Explorer for free.'"
Meanwhile, CNET is reporting that Microsoft's practices have
been a shot
in the arm for Opera, which had more downloads last week than
any other day in its history.
Here's what Opera has to say on the matter:
Microsoft exposed: Microsoft PR Spin Continues While Browser
Lockout Still in Effect
Press Release -- OSLO, Norway - Nov. 1, 2001 -
Opera Software ASA today issued a strong rebuttal to Microsoft's
latest statements regarding the browser lockout on Microsoft's MSN
portal. Microsoft's marketing department continues to spread
inaccuracies to various media sources, while Opera users are still
denied equal treatment on MSN.
At the unveiling of the new look of the MSN.com portal last
Thursday, it became clear that Microsoft had begun to target users
of non-Microsoft browsers. Users around the globe were furious, and
reacted swiftly by communicating their disapproval. Thanks to their
grassroots involvement, and the ensuing media frenzy, Microsoft
officially backed down. Unfortunately their marketers continue to
spread inaccuracies, and has yet to fulfill its public promise to
open its portal to all Internet users.
Microsoft's inaccuracy no. 1:
"When we developed the site, we tested it against the most popular
browsers on the market."
Opera, the third largest browser on the Web, with millions of
users, was obviously forgotten along with other rival browsers.
Microsoft inaccuracy no. 2:
"After receiving complaints from people who reported problems
accessing the site, we looked into this issue further and
determined that we had wrongly classified some browsers as
What Microsoft really was doing, was revealed early last week in
an article by Sandeep Junnarkar and Joe Wilcox of News.com:
"Microsoft admitted that its technology was watching for Opera
strings" (Source: http://news.cnet.com/news/0-1005-200-7660935.html)
Thus, Microsoft had not classified some browsers as "unknown" by
accident; they were deliberately targeting at least Opera
Microsoft inaccuracy no. 3:
"We have now fixed this problem, enabling everyone to access
MSN.com...We want to make sure that anyone can take advantage of
the great services on MSN, regardless of which browser they are
using. MSN.com will be available to everyone, effective
Opera users are still denied access to some MSN's services. An
example is Carpoint.com, a part of the MSN portal. Opera users
identifying their browsers as Opera are still told "Microsoft
Carpoint that contains the latest new- and used-car features cannot
be viewed using this browser." If the Opera users change their
browser identification to "MSIE 5", easily done by changing the
preference in File-Preferences.Networking-Browser Identification,
they can gain access to Carpoint like any other browser. So, to use
the service, Opera users have to mask as Internet Explorer users.
MSN.com is clearly not available to everyone.
Microsoft inaccuracy no. 4:
"...we wish to reiterate our strong support for the Web
specifications developed and supported by the World Wide Web
Consortium and the software industry."
Users who try to test MSN.com at the W3C's site for validation,
validator.w3.org/, will find
that many pages on MSN.com do not validate.
"I hope now we will see a change where action matches the words
and that Microsoft starts to actively supports the international
standards, and starts working on getting their pages to work with
other browsers instead of closing the door," says Jon S. von
Tetzchner, CEO, Opera Software. "Microsoft has broken the
Internet's golden rule that all Web sites should be accessible to
all, no matter what browser or operating system they are