Eyes Above The Waves

Robert O'Callahan. Christian. Repatriate Kiwi. Hacker.

Thursday 30 December 2004

Fog of War

I like to believe I have a good grasp of the way the folks in Redmond think, but sometimes I'm completely mystified. Take, for example, this quote by Dean Hachamovitch, general manager of Internet Explorer:

"You go through and talk to all these people and ask them what they want out of a browser and there are a lot of conflicting requests around: 'Hey, give me tabs right now' versus 'I want stability, I want a platform that won't break, I want to make sure I have extensability, I want to make sure have manageability,' " he said.

I very much doubt that providing tabs in the UI would impact extensibility, manageability, or stability. (Could it be that the Browser Helper Object API or some other IE extension API simply can't deal with multiple documents in tabs in a window? Yet it's my understanding that IE extensions work in IE shells like Avant that provide tabs.) It wouldn't even impact what I see as Microsoft's hidden agenda, stagnating Web technology to drive developers to Avalon. Yet tabs are clearly a simple feature that's pulling users away from IE, so why won't Microsoft provide them? I wish I knew.


Columns? Cool! If this is in Fx 1.1, this is going to be great. RE: msft, they're a broken record on IE. What people may not have picked up on yet is even if IE is upgraded in Longhorn, only Longhorn folks benefit and XP people would still be out in the cold unless they shell out some money.
(viewing page in Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:1.8a6) Gecko/20041230 Firefox/1.0+)
In my wildly optimistic moments I hope Microsoft are adding tabbed windows to Longhorn in general, rather than Internet Explorer in particular. (In even more optimistic moments, I hope Apple or one of the Linux distributors will do it first.) For multiple applications to have inconsistent and non-interoperable tabbed document implementations will always be a silly idea.
I think Redmond is primarily concerned with differentiation on the most marketable issues (e.g. support, integration, etc.). It can't win on innovation so it focuses on fear.