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Zeldman Just Doesn't Get It On IE 9

Respected web developer/CSS guru Jeffrey Zeldman surprised me, and I suspect others, with a bizarre and clueless take on the Internet Explorer 9 Platform Preview announcement. If I'm reading this correctly, Microsoft was "bragging" during the IE part of the keynote (absolutely not true). And the world should standardize on WebKit. As if there is a single thing called WebKit. (The truth, sadly, is that WebKit-based browsers all render things differently, and this is even worse on the mobile web.)


The world has moved to web standards, and Microsoft knows it must at least try to catch up.

Microsoft’s marketing department wants the public to believe that IE and Windows are profoundly innovative. Thus efforts to catch up to the typographic legibility and beauty of Mac OS X and Webkit browsers are presented, in Dean Hachamovitch’s blog post, as leading-edge innovations. Don’t get me wrong: these improvements are desirable, and Direct2D may be great. I’m not challenging the quality of the hardware and software improvements; I’m pointing out the enforced bragging, which is mandated from on high, and which flies in the face of the humble stance other high-level divisions in Microsoft would like to enforce in the wake of the company’s European drubbing and the dents Apple and Google have made on its monopoly and invulnerability.

In short, the tone of these announcements has not changed, even though the times have.

I'm sorry. I just don't buy that.

Microsoft’s refusal to switch to Webkit gives Apple and Google a competitive advantage, and that is good because a web in which one browser has a monopoly stifles standards and innovation alike.

I also don't buy that. Quite the opposite, in fact. Do we all so quickly forget the calls from a few years ago for Microsoft to shift to Firefox's Gecko renderer?

And as Ed Bott just pointed out to me: Zeldman doesn't even use the word "Firefox" once in this post. Also weird. Is it only the shiny new browsers that matter now? In Zeldman's insular world, apparently so.

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