Wednesday 17 June 2009

Excellent example for the threat to the openness of the internet

Were you ever worried that the internet could be controlled by single vendor technology? That there is certain information that you can only see and get when using one specific browser? That interoperability is at risk?

You are certainly not paranoid if you have such worries. Microsoft Australia now gives an example for what is possible and done by offering the chance to get $10,000 by finding information on some website - WHICH CAN ONLY BE VIEWED USING INTERNET EXPLORER 8 !!

Here's what is announced on the Microsoft Australia website:

As you can see in the picture - for me using Firefox the following statement is included right away: "But you'll never find it using that browser. (So get rid of it, or get lost)."

With this competition called "TenGrand" Microsoft provide an excellent example for the risks the internet is facing today: proprietary control over information and data in the internet. Unless you use one specific vendor's software you are excluded from access to information.

There is a role for public authorities here to ensure that full interoperability is kept and that the internet will be kept open.

For those who are interested in more details I also recommend a recent position paper from ECIS, the European Committee for Interoperable Systems, on the topic.

PS: Thanks to my colleague Arnaud for drawing my attention to that.


Unknown said...

Oh come on now! Microsoft likes everybody to browse the Internet using whatever browser they choose, as long as it is IE! Its the actions of some companies that make the experience of the Internet something else you want throw up about much like bandwidth throttling by ISPs.
These are the very actions that over time are going turn what was once fun something you would dread.

Anonymous said...

The legality in the state of South Australia may be interesting ... South Australian law certainly prohibits requirements to purchase wrt ordinary 'promotions' (which is why disclaimers are usually applied).

Anonymous said...

Microsoft is so EVIL!
"Use our product to enter our competition" - Nobody else would be so fiendish, they must be stopped!

Anonymous said...

Ironically, the clue feed on the page shows up perfectly in Firefox3 with user-agent switch mimicing IE8.

Going to try and win using Firefox3.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if they've changed it since the original posting, but in the terms and conditions ( it says:
7. The Clues URL and Hidden Webpage can be viewed in Internet Explorer 8. For the avoidance of doubt, the Clues URL and Hidden Webpage are available on other browsers.

Jochen Friedrich said...

Looks like a change, indeed. Not a very precise new wording, though. Thanks...

Pewat said...

I tested the Microsoft webpage with the testtool of the Webguidelines. As you can see in the results Microsoft isn't even capable of creating an accessible webpage.