Internet Explorer is not the enemy

Internet Explorer is not the enemy

20th Dec 2007

In light of Opera's recent antitrust complaint with the European Commission against Microsoft, I'm in two minds who's side to back. I'm all for IE supporting web standards and this is understandably the main gist of Opera's arguement. But I sense there's also a slightly clandestine purpose for their complaint which makes my cynical old bones ache. They say they want consumers to have a genuine choice of Web browsers but isn't it clear they're just after a larger share of the market for themselves?

As a web designer who has spent an awful lot of time getting things to work in Internet Explorer 6 I'm well aware of it's significant shortcomings. I won't deny I'd be the first to start partying like there's no tomorrow when we can safely stop supporting the dreaded software. But after years of learning workarounds I'm happy providing a slightly lesser experience to IE6 users if necessary (just check this site out in IE6 to see what I mean). Of course if Internet Explorer didn't hold such a large share of the browser market it might be another story. Just think if we had to apply workarounds for 10 different browsers? Our workloads would increase significantly, we'd see a return to browser-sniffing techniques and CSS hacks and we'd need to raise our rates.

So, surely I'm not the only (accessible / professional) web designer who can lay claim to loving Internet Explorer because of it's ubiquitous presence in the browser market? Knowing that around 90% of the potential viewing public would be catered for in one fell swoop is actually quite a strong reason to start loving the Microsoft browser. Internet Explorer is not the enemy, Internet Explorer is our friend.