Microsoft Windows Unit President Steven Sinofsky and VP Julie Larson-Green present the new Windows 8 demo (full video).
Interesting article in How-to Geek: “Why do so many geeks hate Internet Explorer?“.
After showing his own view on the history of IE’s trials and tribulations, the post’s author arrives to this conclusion: geeks hate the world’s most popular browser basically because
- Supporting IE is Like a Fork in the Eye for Web Devs – meaning, they have to spend countless hours on customizing web pages so that they look fine in IE, after having already spent hours making them to work in Chrome, Firefox and other “standard” browsers.
- Geeks Forced to Use Internet Explorer – this would be the main reason, according to the author. Geeks would hate to be forced by their companies and clients to use and work for an inferior browser.
Let’s dismantle the first argument. In the last decade, general practice has been just the opposite: most Web developers grow used to fit their pages to IE first, since it has been (or at least was) the de facto standard for nearly 10 years, since Microsoft’s behemoth defeated the former king, Netscape. In 2003, for example, IE alone accounted for about 90% of all Internet browser market share. And in those years, geeks already hated IE, at least as far as I remember. Putting it very simply: in those years, almost the whole Web WAS made to be viewed in IE, even if people hated it. Then, it was completely non-sense to spend hours customizing the page for Gecko or any other small competitor before even having it fully functional in IE (it’s true, however, that this trend has been reversed in the last years, when Firefox market share grew and IE fall down to dominate “only” half of the market).
On the second argument (geeks forced to use IE), well, mabye it has some degree of truth, since I’ve grown used to hear a lot of complaints from my fellow coworkers about how bad or crippled or slow IE was. It’s like those perl programmers who wear “I hate perl” shirts: they hate it, but still have to accept it.
Yet, this is not the main source of hatred, I think. The real issue here is the hatred that geek people have started to cultivate on Microsoft, their products and philosophy. Not only on IE, but also on Office, Windows and everything that comes with them. Hatred on the power of money, big corporations, monopolies, etc. The fact that IE, althoug being worst than its competitors, reached the top charts thanks to a monopoly, only reinforced that hatred. A similar process made many geek people hate Windows, since they felt to be an “injustice” that Windows was so widespread despite being an “inferior” operational system when compared, for example, to OS/2 , Unix, Linux, etc. And, as we all know, geeks take this kind of thing personally – furthermore, they love to engage in Software Holy Wars.
So, this is my point: geeks started to hate Microsoft, and their hatred on IE (and other MS products) came as an almost logical and natural consequence, augmented by IE’s own faults. I know a lot of tech folks that simply hate everything that comes from MS. Actually, for some people, to be anti-Microsoft is a life style, it’s almost like belonging to a cult, a sect, sometimes it even reaches paranoia.
And I’m sure it won’t change, even if Microsoft makes IE the best browser in the world. The battle for geek’s hearts and minds has already been lost by the Redmondians, at least in the browser’s arena.
What do you think?