Group Knocks New Internet Explorer

FRAMINGHAM (04/10/2000) - An organization that advocates the adoption of common Web standards launched a sharp attack today against Microsoft Corp. and its new Internet Explorer 5.5 Windows Edition.

The Web Standards Project said the beta version of the new Explorer fails to meet certain Web standards and accused the Redmond, Wash.-based company of "abandoning" standards it had publicly committed to support.

In particular, the Standards Project criticized Microsoft for failing to adhere to World Wide Web Consortium standards for document object model and cascading style sheets specifications. Members of the New York-based coalition of Web designers and users charged that Microsoft is complicating browser use by developing proprietary technology instead of bringing its browser in line with shared standards.

"By casting aside standards, Microsoft is making it more difficult, if not impossible, to create Web pages that would be accessible on a variety of devices and platforms," said Standards Project steering committee member Dori Smith, in a statement.

Microsoft didn't respond to several requests for comment.

The release of new browser versions by Microsoft and Netscape Communications Corp. appears to be frustrating for Web developers, who say they must continue to write code for all the older browser versions still in use as well as the new ones.

"The bottom line is that just when you think it should get easier to design Web pages, it gets harder," said Glen Lipka, CEO of New York-based Kokopelli New Media, referring particularly to the completely rewritten Netscape 6 released last week. "I'm annoyed with both (Microsoft and Netscape) because neither can say, 'Why can't we get along.' " Jeffrey Zeldman, a group leader at the Web Standards Project, said his group hopes to persuade Microsoft to incorporate the Web standards in its final Explorer product.

"We're asking people to spread the word and voice their disapproval," he said.

"We're hoping to sway Microsoft."

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