This week in Dana Greenlee’s column~ Rob Greenlee on Microsoft and fair play

One rule of competition is don’t make your competitors upset because of unfair play on the field – or in this case cyberspace.
First reported by CNET, some Mozilla and Opera 5 browser users found on Thursday that they could not access the’s new site.
Instead, they were given the option of downloading a version of Microsoft’s IE browser.
The main rival browser makers Opera and Netscape maintain that their applications are compatible with international W3C standards.
The issue is really centered around XHTML, a new language that became a W3C standard last year and is based on the popular XML (Extensible Markup Language) standard for exchanging information.
It breaks new ground by giving Web developers a way to mix and match various XML-based languages and documents on their Web pages.
It appears Microsoft’s site and its use of XHTML is not compliant with the International W3C Web standards.
As the browser lockout continued, accusations and counter-accusations of software incompatibilities and hardball exclusionary tactics began to fly just as WinXP was starting to take off.
This browser compatibility snafu on the part of Microsoft really captured my attention and shocked me.
Microsoft essentially threw gas on the already burning fire of Web standards and open source.
Microsoft must be desperate to have a growing anti-Microsoft movement, more viruses aimed squarely at Out-look and more next generation devel-opers wanting to develop for Linux.
Open-source Linux could become a solid competitor to Windows on the desktop.
Microsoft is either very clever or very arrogant. I am not sure of which they are yet, but it does seem that they are cleverly shooting themselves in their preverbal foot with attitude every time they face the open standards and W3C web standard issues.
They seem to say one thing and do another thinking that the supporters of the W3C web standards folks and the media won’t notice their non-compliance.
They seem to be very good at getting into the news about their non-compliance and anti-competitive practices.
Microsoft is fooling themselves in thinking that Opera, Sun, Netscape, Oracle, IBM and Linux are the source of their competitive worries.
It is not. Microsoft should be more worried about the young Web developer or high school student that is reading the anti-trust news, directing destructive viruses to the Microsoft server platform and the growing “cool” open source movement.
Every time one of these Microsoft PR nightmares occur it just angers the young and impressionable.
The swell of anti-Microsoft sentiment among the GenX and younger could determine Microsoft’s future or non-future.
The youth of the present will be making buying decisions about OS platforms in the future and from the talk I am hearing from young developers and students is that Microsoft is the enemy.
Microsoft knows all of this, but they are arrogantly thinking that they can just do their own proprietary thing and get away with it.
There is a place in the Internet and tech world for both Microsoft’s Windows and open-source platforms like Linux.
I just think that Microsoft needs to accept it and develop in support of open source and W3C web standards.
I am glad to see Microsoft saying they are supporting W3C web code standards and open source.
They just need to really fly with it this time and not only give it lip service.
Dana Greenlee, the wife of Rob Greenlee, normally writes a technology column for the Index every Friday. Her column will return next week.
Rob Greenlee is host of the WebTalkGuys Radio Show. WebTalkGuys, which features technology news and interviews, can be heard Saturdays from 11 a.m. to noon on KLAY 1180 AM in the Tacoma/Seattle area. Past show and interviews are also Webcast via the Internet at: