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Whither IE?

There's been a lot of speculation lately on possible end-games stemming from Microsoft's unofficial announcement that it would terminate Internet Explorer as a stand alone application. Here's Lori MacVittie's take on the possible end of IE and what that might mean to application developers and users.

Microsoft's termination of Internet Explorer (IE) as a standalone application has
absolutely no effect on cross-platform developers or Web standards.
Cross-platform developers (are there even any out there any more?) should
write to current Web standards as detailed by the W3C, not to Microsoft's
tools or documentation, as both are likely to be just on the edge of
compliance with the specifications and definitely not cross-platform.

IE is built on components shared throughout the Windows OS. The preview pane
in Outlook is itself an HTML viewer component; the help system is an HTML viewer
component; etc. This decision is nothing more than an affirmation by
Microsoft that it has completely tied IE to the OS as well as proof positive
that the ruling and subsequent demands by the Department of Justice have no
teeth if you have the money to line the pockets of lobbyists and SIGs.

Will the decision affect Windows users who desire to run some other browser?
It depends on whether Microsoft removes a user's ability to designate other
applications as file handlers for mime-types typically handled by IE. In my
opinion, this is just another check mark on my "reasons I don't run
Microsoft software" list.

-- Lori MacVittie