I simply don't think Microsoft is capable of writing a standards-compliant browser, no matter how much the brass may push for one.
1. They'll misconstrue the standards left, right, and center, thanks to...
1a. inexperience in following standards (poor reading comprehension)
1b. a tendency to jump to conclusions and think they understand something when they're actually still at the "for Dummies" level (pride & arrogance)
1c. the MS philosophy of dumbing down the computing experience so Joe Sixpack never has to think: the point and drool interface IOW.
2. It'll be full of programming errors thanks to...
2a. persistent use of programming platforms that do not automagically check array bounds. Lotsa buffer overflows! Lotsa security holes!
2b. improper modularization so inter-module interfaces are way too w---i---d---e. The KISS principle (keep it simple, stupid) seems to be an illegal philosophy in Redmond.
2c. retention of old, buggy code from previous versions of IE. More buffer overflows! More security holes!
3. Some of these misconstructions and errors will be deeply embedded in the architectural foundation of the beast and impossible to correct without a complete re-write.
Prediction: IE 8 will only be available for Vista, in order to coerce customers into adopting that much-maligned OS. This strategy will backfire because Firefox & Opera already provide XP-diehards with standards-compliant browsing, and once someone has dipped a toe into the deep waters of open source and 3rd-party software, there'll be no holding them back. Linux, here we come! Open Office, here we come!
Heart because I love Microsoft: they're *so* predictable!