Remember, Evil Does Not Equal Stupid

Fuck Microsoft!I suppose it was a little naïve to think that Microsoft wouldn’t retaliate against Apple — and by extension, the legions of Mac users — for the development of Safari. But retaliate they did, by killing development of Internet Explorer for the Mac. To a degree, I can’t fault their (expressed) reasoning, but I find it shockingly hypocritical — according to the Evil Ones, Apple’s access to the workings of the operating system gives them an unfair advantage in the development of a Web browser.

In case anyone isn’t following along, let me spell it out. Microsoft is claiming that Apple is in the wrong for doing exactly what they’ve done for years, but when Microsoft did it, it was all right. Now, to be (unusual for me, I’ll admit) fair, Microsoft isn’t making any legal claims against Apple; they’re just opting not to continue development for the Mac platform. On the surface, it seems legitimate — no one could dispute the right of a company to enter or exit any business area based on sound business judgment.

But let’s look a little deeper: Microsoft has gone out of its way over the past decade to position Explorer as the dominant browser. In addition, they’ve encouraged the development of standards-noncompliant websites to give Explorer a definitive advantage over any other browser; for example, the only way to access my company’s intranet site is by using Explorer — the Microsoft security system won’t allow any other browser access. In the end, we can see this for what it really is: Another effort to kill the Macintosh. If (a) a substantial amount of Internet content is Microsoft-exclusive, and (b) there is no way for Mac users to access that content, much of which may be required for business, then voilà! Folks will have to buy Wintel boxes! Bye-bye, Apple!

In the end, I suspect this action is less a retaliation against Safari, but something they were planning to do all along, once their dominance of the Web reached a certain “critical mass.” And if that’s the case, Apple — wisely — decided to take at least some action to ameliorate the damage that would be done (Apple’s response to the decision was disappointingly lackluster). And with the exception of the Microsoft-controlled arena, Apple’s done it right — even though it’s still a beta program, Safari kicks Explorer’s ass in every respect. It’s just a shame that folks aren’t going to have the chance to realize that for themselves, instead of being forced into that decision.


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