Over the years I have been an active participant in the ongoing fight for open and interoperable Web standards. I have always opposed those who would force proprietary technologies where open alternatives, often superior, exist. From 1994 to 1999, I worked at CERN and W3C to help make sure there were good specifications for the Web. In 1999, I joined Opera to make sure there was at least one browser that implemented those specifications correctly. We have worked hard to do that. Unfortunately Microsoft's Internet Explorer, the biggest browser of all, did not.
Today we have taken a stand. Opera has filed a formal complaint with the European Commission to force Microsoft to support open Web standards in its Web browser, Internet Explorer. We believe that Microsoft has harmed Web standards by refusing to support them; Microsoft often participates in creating Web standards, promoting them, and even promising to implement them. Despite their talent, however, they refuse to support Web standards correctly. For example, Internet Explorer is the only modern Web browser that does not support Acid2.
Opera has also requested that Microsoft frees Internet Explorer from the Windows platform. We feel that they have used their market dominating position to limit a genuine choice of browsers on the Web for their own commercial gain.
The time for action is now. The Web browser is the most important application for most of us. Developers and designers are creating more powerful Web sites and applications. But because Internet Explorer doesn't implement open and fully-developed Web standards, the work is hard and frustrating. Web designers are forced to spend time working around IE bugs rather than doing what inspires them. We seek no money from Microsoft. We would rather see Microsoft put their considerable talent and resources to work for the Web community.
To those of you who build and shape the sites and services we use everyday — and who will create those in the future — I ask for your support. You will be the ones who ultimately benefit by having a Web that works seamlessly and effortlessly across devices, browsers and is equally open to everyone. That new day is just over the horizon, and by working together, we will awaken to that dawn.
Håkon Wium Lie
Chief Technology Officer, Opera Software