back to article Microsoft's web Office: No love for Chrome, Opera

If your browser-of-choice is Google Chrome or Opera, don't expect much love from Microsoft's upcoming Office Web Apps, scheduled to appear along with Office 2010 next year. Last October, when Redmond announced its upcoming suite of browser-based competition to Google Docs and Spreadsheets et al., it said that Office Web Apps …


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  1. Mike 119

    wait for it

    Just wait for Opera to start the crying games,,,,,,,,,,

  2. Brett Brennan 1

    MS losing share?

    Once upon a time, about 2 years ago, I recall that Microsoft had over 80% of the installed browser market. At the time, commenters here at El Reg told the few Firefox and Opera users to quit whining and admit that IE had won the browser wars.

    My what a difference a couple of years makes!

  3. Vahokif

    shock horror

    I'm sure both Opera users are enraged!

  4. jake Silver badge

    The only question I have ...

    Is why is it that large companies are so absolutely convinced that I want to store my personal or corporate data on THEIR systems, where I no longer control it.

    Are computer users really that stupid in this day and age? The mind boggles ...

  5. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Standards Compliant?

    If Microsoft were to do a very strange thing and make their App Suite totally standards compliant (not a Microsoft Standard) then supporting Opera or Chrome won't be an issue.

    This would transfer any operational problems back to the Browser Maker and in this time of huge cost reductions at Microsoft this would surely be a good thing.

    If Microsoft would actually release something without the famous 'extend' part of their business stratedgy is another matter totally.

  6. Tsvetomir Tsonev
    Gates Horns

    Ahem, WebKit...

    is the engine that powers Safari for Mac, Windows and Chrome. I'd expect any web app to behave almost identically in those three browsers. There're minor differences and their JavaScript engines are different, but overall they behave pretty much the same.

    Bill, because IE should have been a WebKit browser by now :)

  7. dylan 4

    as if corporations will care about office web apps!

    Does the corporation you work for want you editing your internal documents over the web? In this day of encrypted memory sticks and hard drives? As if this will have any impact on corporate IE6 users...

  8. sandman

    Re: Shock Horror

    Oh we are, we are!

  9. darren.b

    I'm an opera user...

    ...and I'm not bothered. I won't be using MS's web effort anyway, the same way I avoid all their other web-based banner-ad-laden crap.

  10. batfastad
    Jobs Horns


    Not my problem.

    Office XP still works... In fact incredibly rapidly on modern hardware!

  11. Defiant

    So ?

    At the end of the day its a microsoft product so if you don't like it you don't have to use it. I'm more than happy with IE8 so I'll use it for sure

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Sigh.... it to bloody hard to read between the lines...

    Opera and Chrome is not offically supported. This does NOT mean they won't work, just simply that they won't test against them and say "yes they work 100%"

    At the end of the day, these amount to a tiny percentage of the market, so why piss around with them.

    But hey lets bash's trendy.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No love for open standards

    would be a better heading.

  14. Bilgepipe
    Gates Horns

    Not Surprising

    Given Opera's crappy support for common websites - I still can't pay for eBay purchases via PayPal in Opera, among others - this isn't surprising. Opera has a long way to go, IMO, before it can be taken seriously.

  15. Richard Porter

    Why do we have to have "supported browsers"?

    Wouldn't it be better if we had one set of standards to which browsers and other applications complied?

  16. Alex L

    Comment about The Register's post

    On the browser market share, The Register article says "it's more likely that the numbers simply don't justify the effort required."

    I don't think this is really a valid reason not to support certain browsers, in particular IE6. As a web developer I wouldn't last two minutes if I went to my superiors and used that excuse when a site I created for a paying client didn't work in most browsers, especially when a browser like Chrome will support every feature with ease.

    - Alex

  17. Wibble

    Web stats are difficult to determine

    Always a challenge to say which browser's more popular. Depends on the content. I would lay a wager that Firefox is very popular on this website!

    This isn't bad:

  18. Anonymous Coward


    But I use LYNX. Where's my support for all these web 3.79 apps?

    "be compatible with familiar web browsers"

    familiar as in witches familiar

    as in a cat

    or as the french would say, un chat.

    which sounds far too much like the english: shat

    as in past tense of a steaming pile.

    That's right, microsoft are only going to browsers that were a steaming pile when they came out, and only get worse over time.

  19. Rasczak

    Effort ?


    However, it's more likely that the numbers simply don't justify the effort required.


    What effort is required to have the site work in Opera, or any other standards compliant browser for that matter ? Write the page to be W3C compliant, with graceful fall back to allow basic navigation if any extended features (Java, ECMAScript etc.) have been disabled for security, then any working browser will work on the page. No need for support for any particular browser at all.

    Of course if you start by writing the page with cludges to get a non standards compliant browser to show it correctly or use proprietary features then it will need extra work to get a standards compliant version.

  20. Anonymous Coward


    It's a good sign that Microsoft is shitting itself over Google apps, and with good reason.

    Maybe now they will try to take a leaf out of Google's book and try to do something that's actually good rather than spewing forth more underhanded tactics that try to manipulate the end user into a situation where they have no choice but to use the Microsoft option....oh wait...

  21. King Edward I


    Even MS have stopped supporting IE 6? Please, for the love of <insert deity of choice here> and all that is holy LET IT FINALLY BE DEAD!

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    The lack of IE6 might make companies shift upwards, but then again most companies won't be allowing everyone to use web based systems for their office needs. (Some companies I have worked for don't let staff use the internet at all.)

    If companies were keen on the internet app, then google apps would be the norm.

    The UK's internet just ain't upto the capability of having companies en mass using the web for the day to day office tasks. Imagine en mass take up of MS office online, we would then have throttling during the day and some companies can't take that risk.

    Silly idea that will not take on for a while, not until BT pull it's thumb out and give us all fibre.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns


    If only standards were enforced by a proper watchdog/authority, there would be no such malarky going on...

  24. Richard IV

    As one of the two Opera users

    I wish we could just get away from the whole "we support Browser X" argument. Really it should be "we've tested that it works properly in these browsers, but we won't stop you trying it in yours if it's not on the list".

    So long as MS don't actively prevent users from using whatever browser then there isn't really a problem. One can only hope they're now sufficiently grownup to take that attitude. Gareth Howell's response seems to indicate that they're at least past the sullen teen phase.

    (Although it would be quite wonderful if attempts at access using IE6 were greeted with something appropriately disparaging)

  25. Jack Harrer
    Thumb Down

    Lies, damn lies and statistics

    Worldwide browser stats are irrelevant. Major markets for MS webapps are Europe, Australia and North America. And in those markets Firefox has bigger share that worldwide claims. So if we look at only those markets all statistics will be skewed more towards IE alternatives. In some countries in Europe (quite a few already) FF has bigger market share than IE. Also IE 6, 7 and 8 are totally different browsers and cannot be taken as one anymore (ask anybody who makes webpages!).

  26. Chris SC

    What a shame

    If only computers were designed so that you could install more than one browser.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    Payback is a ?

    Possibly underhand punishment for unnecessary grief created in the EU?

  28. MarkOne

    re: shock horror

    LOL, what an idiot...

    Clearly nobody had told Vahokif that Opera has more marketshare than Safari and Chrome combined in Europe, and has the biggest mobile browser marketshare by a mile, bigger than iPhone, Nokias and Blackberry browsers...

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    hats off to MS

    Although i normally dont like MS, they have taken a good decision here... firefox was ignored by them for all the time it was in the low percentages, now they have to take it seriously.

    Chrome may be new and shiny, but give it time to make market share and it will be supported.

    Opera, i like opera, but firefox has really displaced it, not IE.

    Also this may be a useful tool to bash our IT dept with for still refusing to allow IE 7 & 8.

  30. gjw
    Jobs Horns

    My, my

    So Microsoft doesn't love Opera, now that comes as a surprise.

    - Evil Steve, all the same.

  31. Anonymous Coward

    re: Brett

    Which El Reg have you been reading? For the past 7 years that I've been reading it excessively vocal die hard Firefox users have been commenting that Firefox was used by everyone anyway, and it was just a few idiots that still used IE.

  32. Mike Kamermans
    Thumb Up

    Except Opera can't complain

    Opera does not allow right-click interception, so you can't make any RIA for that otherwise brilliant piece of browser, since you can't make context menus pop up. Older versions of Opera allowed users to manually turn this feature back on, but modern versions don't even let you do that. "Opera knows best, intercepting the right mouse click is terrible, terrible javascript"... so... no, Opera will not be supported until Opera supports the internet again.

    Makes sense to me.

    And Chrome's still not actually done. It turns over version numbers so fast it's better to say "web apps work if you have ccs2.1+, and javascript 1.2+"... although that might still be lying to the public =)

  33. Patrick O'Reilly
    Gates Horns

    Love tokens not accepted here.

    As a longtime Opera user it is no surprise to me that M$ has done their best to hamper Opera users browsing experience of a Microsoft site/service.

    The whole web app supported by specific browsers concept is rediculious. If all browsers followed the same standard and had to pass an offical test then developers could write apps to that standard and not have to worry about browser compatability at the user end.

    It would be much better if M$ had come out and said if your browser supports HTML5, then this app will work and we'll back it.

  34. Magnus Ramage

    MS market share

    @Brett: Now down to about 2/3: 67.6% over all versions of IE. 22.5% for all versions of Firefox. Poor Opera, over all versions, has only just a few more users (2.18%) than IE8 running in compatibility mode (2.14%). So yes, what a difference a couple of years makes. And what a difference a bit of competition makes.

    Network effects are all well and good, but if proper open standards are being followed, then many different applications from different vendors should be able to work on the same files. Mind you, it took Apple and their oh-so-trendy mobile web browser to bring home widely what many people have said for years about the web: that well-designed websites needs to be work on any browser and on any screensize.

    OK, excuse to play around in Excel over, back to work. What was the article about again?

  35. Lionel Baden
    Thumb Up

    har har

    Never give opera Support !!!!!

    blody idiots deserve it !

  36. James Pickett
    Gates Horns


    As the other Opera user, I couldn't care less. It's not like Web Office is going to be free, is it?

    As for, "replace that legacy laggard with the much more secure IE 7 or 8", there's always Mozilla...

  37. RichyS

    Define 'Not Supported'

    Not supported, or not tested on?

    They're two quite different things.

    Still, I have no intention of using Office Online, so I don't really care either way.

  38. James Dunmore

    Not supporting IE6 is a good move

    I think that really is on purpose - it is to force upgrades.

    At least they support Linux firefox! - but not having cross browser is just another win for google apps.

  39. 4a$$Monkey

    To users of unfamiliar web browsers

    Using IE6 - upgrade already!

    Using Chrome - more likely to go for Chocolate Factory apps

    Using Opera - Why?

    Using Safari on Windows - WTF? Even the Fanboys know its shit!

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Slightly more reliable stats

    Last seven days usage in Europe.

    Rather depressingly, worldwide IE6 comes in third

    One of the advantages of Opera is that they have sod all clout and so can't invent syntax off their own bat, as a result anything coded to web standards *should* work.

    Of course MSFT have issues with coding to standards.

  41. Chris 191

    @ the Opera knockers

    Why don't you just go and reproduce with your mothers. The reason I use Opera is because it is not M$, the same reason I will not lose any sleep over not being able to use a web version of M$ Orafice. Why are you so concerned about what FREE software other people use? I don't want my documents to be converted to some locked in file format becasue I use multiple OSes and various different applications and it hasn't cost me a penny. I still use IE6 at work and there is nothing I can do about it.

    Grow up.

  42. SminkyBazzA
    Thumb Down

    But why?

    Do they provide any information on what 'effort' is required to develop for one of the most standards compliant browsers available? I doubt it...

  43. Mr Templedene

    In my humble opinion

    as a long time Opera user, most sites work fine in Opera unless the web designer specifically blocks me using java-script, in which case browser masking usually beats their check, and proves that their site does work fine in Opera.

    There are exceptions, but more often than not the reason a site says it won't work in Opera is down to lazy testing.

    I design websites for a living, personally I find it easier to design a site testing using Opera then once that is correct applying tweaks for other browsers, rather than designing for IE or firefox then doing the same.

  44. Jaybirduk

    somthing else I cant use

    I'll continue to use Opera and just add this to another site I cant use

  45. Anonymous Coward

    I demand an anti-trust trial!

    What a disgrace! We must fight for the tens of dozens of Chrome and Opera users.

  46. David Austin


    The key bit is they're saying:

    We actively test against IE, Firefox, and Safari.

    as opposed to:

    We actively block everything but IE, Firefox and Safari.

    This seems a a fairly pragmatic approach - IE does it's own thing, but if you get Firefox and Safari versions working, then most other modern browsers are close enough to standards compliant that they will be able to handle it, minor look and feel issues aside.

    I'm willing to bet most professional web developers in the real world (As opposed to the black-and-white militant ones who would rather break a website then break a standard) would do the same if they had finate time to do the most work - the few I work with often normally take the approach:

    - Get the IE 7+ / Firefox version working (Exact order depends on amount of open source love)

    - Grumble, and get the IE 6 version to just about work.

    - Get the Safari Version to work.

    - Wait for someone to complain about any other versions not working right, and fix them ad-hoc.

  47. The Mole 1

    Seems fair

    As one of the opera users I'm not particularly enraged, you have to drawer the line somewhere at which browsers to test with otherwise they'd never finish the test cycle. As long as they have written it in a standards compliant manner and don't target the code at any one particular browser I'm sure that the browser with some of the best standards compliance will cope just fine...

  48. Michael Fremlins

    I tried IE8 last night

    It's ghastly. IE7 had an option when closing the browser to "reopen these tabs" next time it starts. IE8 gives the option to "close this tab" or "close all tabs". It doesn't reopen them.

    Thanks Bill. That was enough for me to go back to IE7 (when I need it).

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    One reason why so many still use IE6 is that I bet there are a lot of people still using Windows 2000 & MS never released IE7 for 2k.

  50. Neil Milner-Harris

    @Tsvetomir Tsonev

    Although Webkit does indeed power all of the HTML rendering in those browsers the same HTML doesn't always elicit the same appearance in them all. Also they all use completely different javascript engines, which is more important than their HTML standards compliance in an application like web based productivity.

  51. MarkOne

    @Mike Kamermans

    more Opera FUD...

    You can turn on context menu detection for Javascript, it's in the options. Disabled by default, as right clicking is hardly an intunitive thing for 99% of people browsing the web...

    Paste this into your address bar:


    (or turn it on in Tools, Preferences, Content, Javascript Options).

  52. david 63


    So you insist your apps are tested on _all_ versions of netscape _all_ versions of IE, Lynx, etc etc. On all platforms going back to DOS and *nix, *nux going back to pre GUI days. Of course you don't.

    All MS are saying is that they are limiting their testing to their list of target browsers.

    X-browser testing should be a thing of the past anyway. The test should be that it validates against the target versions of ECMAScript, DOM, x/html and CSS if browsers it's the responsibility of the browser maker to do their stuff right.

    There's also a question of whether the browser and the various standards are the right platform for rich and performant applications...but that is a can of worms that is best kept shut ;)

    Anyone who knows me knows I am not a MS fanboi. Just in touch with reality...

  53. Mark Rendle

    @ Chri$ 191

    Using a browser other than IE is a perfectly reasonable course of action, and can be explained without recourse to dollar signs.

    Using Opera is perverse and inexplicable when Firefox and Chrome are available.

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo


    It seems like this article makes quite a big deal over not very much. Webkit is the rendering engine in Chrome, and safari on both windows and mac, and so I would imagine that (given support for one webkit browser) it probably works with them all.

    If they publically support a browser, they have to test with that browser. They're probably announcing this because of their previous track record. Most websites don't make any browser compatibility claims, but tend to work with most browsers.

  55. Daniel 1

    Not in the official list, but not locked out, eiither

    Opera and Chrome aren't in the list of officially supported browsers, but unless a lack of support can be shown to arrise because a failure of the web app to support Web standards, wherein lies the problem? This is why you build to standards, in the first place: in order to stop having to explicitly name the browsers you support. It should be implicit. A browser's quirks (should they exist) could change at any moment, with a software update from its maker, so there is no point supporting them if you can avoid doing so, since they should not have been there in the first place. Build to standards, and you can assume that what you build, today, will work in browsers yet unwritten - at least until the Web standard you were building to, itself, becomes defunct.

    A lack of support for Internet Explorer 6 is much less surprising, in this sense, (regardless of the fact that it was, once, a Microsoft product) since IE 6's support for the Web is by far the worst, among commonly used browsers. Would we be surprised if Microsoft said it wasn't going to support Netscape Navigator 4.0 - after all, that's a Web browser, too? Of course not. Niether browser was built for the Web, but for some version of the 'Web' that both companies tried to foist upon us, at the time. That time has passed, a new time has come, when some triage should be applied.

    Whether Opera and Chrome manage with heavy use of AJAX-driven in-page events, and so on, may be another question that influences their ability to work with an online version of Office. However, given that it will be unlikely that Microsoft would be able to market an online Office suite that did not meet certain levels of Web Accessibility (given the very nature of the product), then the scope for including deliberate proprietary lock-out is potentially limited. It is legal (although probably follisome) to deliberately not support users of a given Web browser, but it is against the law to try and market some types of software that don't support Web Accessibility. I'd guess Office Online would almost certainly fit into this category - so even any unintentional effects that caused degradation in otherwise compliant Web browsers would probably be best avoided, since they could have knock on implications for Web Accessibilty (and hence the overall legality of the product). This could prove far more costly than any phryic satisfaction to be had from driving away a few Opera users.

  56. Matthew 4
    Thumb Up


    I seriously have no fkn idea why anyone would use opera. I have Opera mini on my phone and even internet explorer displays pages better sometimes.

    They have included support for mac, and firefox so what's the big deal

  57. CD001

    @ Effort ? By Rasczak

    Amen to that

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns


    Wow, this is great, firefox is in the lead ahead of all browsers in the EU!!!

  59. Anonymous Coward

    @ all IE6 haters

    What is wrong with IE6 anyway, all you whiners need to grow up. I've used IE6 since it came out and see no reason to upgrade yet!

    Maybe if you spent as much time making your web pages work in IE6 as you do complaining about it then no one would be having this problem in the first place.


  60. Fred Tourette

    It's over, man. Let It go.

    I loathe Microsoft probably more than the average Microsoft hater, and was loyal to Opera from about v. 2.x through 8.x, but there comes a time when you just have to give up. Firefox came along and, for whatever reason, found enough of a following, gained more market share in months than Opera could in years, and website developers (and even Microsoft) had to take notice and work with it or face a firestorm of complaints from users. I loved Opera, but it got futile to be one of three people taking the time to bitch at every site that wouldn't work with it, and to be (rightfully) ignored as they thought, "For less than 1% of our users we're going to spend time and money?"

  61. Kieran

    @ Rasczak

    This is a suite of web applications designed to integrate with desktop software. You can't gracefully degrade this kind of stuff - you just end up with something that doesn't work.

    Unless of course Excel implemented with a million input fields and a submit button sounds appealing?

  62. mike lee

    re: shock horror

    > I'm sure both Opera users are enraged!

    As an Opera user I'm not.

    If they follow the standards (and to make it work on both IE, FF and Safari then it is very likely they have) then it will work in Opera (and Chrome) regardless.

  63. N2 Silver badge

    Since when

    Has Microsoft had any love for anything that it didnt produce (or copy) itself?

    Im surprised that FF & Safari users are allowed to soil the sacred orifice cloud.

  64. Bill Murty
    Gates Halo

    I use Opera

    I am really shattered, my life now seems hardly worth living after this truely devastating news.

    No, really.

    As an Opera user, I love everything microsoft and every time microsoft try to make me use ie, I am unable to sleep for a month.

    I am sure that microsoft online apps will change the world by being completely faultless and brilliant at everything. I'm sure it won't be riddled with bugs that they won't patch for eons and I am sure it will be very secure indeed in every way.

    I am already loosing sleep because as an Opera user I've never encountered anything like this before and am very tempted to immediately move to a slower and far less secure browser.


  65. Rasczak

    @ Kieran

    So the graceful degradation should be to a navigable page that details which enhancements (Java, ECMAScript etc.) are required to use the full features.

    By being standards compliant, the page will always work, as in display, be navigable to a basic extent and let you know you need to enable to get full functionality, in a standards compliant browser. A user may not be able to use the full functionality if they have disabled enhancements to the browser, however they know what they then need to enable to get this.

  66. Steve Welsh


    Hmmmm - strange!

    I paid for something on Ebay using Opera not less than 2 hours ago. Works perfectly for me

  67. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    IE6 Blows. Good Riddance To Support For It!

    The lack of support for IE6 makes me happy. The sooner we can wipe out support for that crap browser the sooner it will disappear. (Though, I'm sure some network admin in charge of some megacorp or government user base that's still making its users use IE6 is pissed about it)..

    If Safari is going to be support, then won't Chrome? Aren't they both WebKit browsers?

  68. captain veg

    I am Spartacus

    I'm the second Opera user as well. I use it because it's the best, by some distance. FF fans ought to be grateful too, because all the cools stuff in the Mozilla browser (and plugins) was copied from Opera.

    Since it is the most standards compliant browser, by some distance, sites that don't work in Opera are not "web" sites at all. They are (mostly) IE sites. They are broken.

    It's not a matter of supporting a particular browser. It's about fixing your broken code. Anyone can freely use the W3C validators.


  69. John 62

    as the other Opera user...

    I use Opera because of the Carthago skin. Best skin ever. also because I can turn off gif animation, and then there's paste and go, creating custom searches from the address bar (all these things Chrome is finally catching up to). Opera also has a fantastic zoom feature, allowing me to watch Homestar Runner at 150% and not have to squint. And when I'm using a mouse I do like Opera's gestures. Finally, Chrome comes closest to Opera in allowing you to run without a status bar (even though the fools at Opera turn it on by default for new installs). Why waste screen space in the status bar when you can have progress in the address bar and link destination in a tooltip. FF 2 had a plugin for that, but FF3 doesn't yet (at least last time I looked).

    Yes it is a shame about intercepting right-clicks. It does annoy me when I have to use Safari (on OS X) or Chrome (on Windows) to use Google Maps.

    But I use Safari sometimes on Windows when I need a fix of properly rendered text, since Cleartype does not accurately represent glyphs.

    Anyway, in my opinion, while Chrome is fast approaching Opera's level of coolness, I still regard Opera as the only proper browser, a tool for heavy duty surfing. The others are all only useful for looking at the odd webpage every so often.

  70. Mark Rendle

    Is it just me

    or do Opera zealots all sound like the guys who banged on about Pico when everybody else was fighting over Emacs vs vi?

  71. Anonymous Coward

    @Mark Rendle

    Considering that Opera is closing in on 10% market share in Europe, with a bigger market share than Safari and Chrome combined, I'm not sure what you are trying to say.

    Also, it has about 3% worlwide (bigger than Safari and Chrome again).

  72. jake Silver badge

    @Mark Redle

    Or the Pascal folks during the C/C++ flame wars on Usenet. Or the Amiga folks during the PC/Apple][ "debates" in the mid-1980s. Etc. Same basic mindset.

    For some reason people using fringe hardware and software feel the need to bang their drum. Not sure why, probably makes 'em feel important or something. Me, I say use whatever browser floats your boat, and shut up about it already. Nobody cares what clicky-pointy interface you use to browse the Web. All the collective "we" care about is what we use.

  73. captain veg


    See "I seriously have no fkn idea why anyone would use opera" above. Yes, the trolls got to me.


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