back to article Microsoft drops second IE9 preview

Talk about bad timing. Today, Microsoft released a second developer preview of its next Internet Explorer, just as word arrived that the browser's market share has dipped below 60 per cent and a storm of criticism hit Redmond for handling HTML 5 video with a closed codec it partly owns. When Microsoft announced the first IE 9 …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    ah ah ahaaahhha

    Finally! About time Microsoft got kicked in the gonads. Why can't they just develop a browser which meets standards?

    1. Bill Gould


      " Why can't they just develop a browser which meets standards?"

      Those with the biggest market share make the standards. Business 101.

      1. Rattus Rattus

        re: Business 101

        And this is why business people should have their fingers broken whenever they try to touch anything involving engineering.

    2. Phlip
      Gates Halo

      They are.

      It is supporting the standard: HTML5. And HTML doesn't define a standard video codec.

      That's the first time in my life I've ever said anything to defend Microsoft. I feel dirty.

      1. g e

        Mucky pup

        Take this wire brush and bottle of dettol and go clean up!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re:ah ah ahaaahhha

      Which standard would you like them to have picked? They are talking about HTML5 video playback, and HTML 5 is not a standard.

  2. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Gates Horns

    Just use DirectShow already

    And let the user install whatever communist patent-stealing open-source codec they want (that's if they're inside the US, if they're outside the US then just let the user install whatever codec they want).

    Or just come out and say that Microsoft want to use IE as a tool to help cash in on a codec they've got the patents for.

    1. Malcolm 1

      I think you can

      My understanding is you can do just that. Penultimate paragraph here:

      This whole thing seems a bit of a storm in a teacup (ah, must be the internet). As I understand it the patent situation around advanced video codecs is, at best, muddy. So platform providers have a choice of supporting something where the licensing situation is well known (ie H.624) or something that you may get sued for later (and is arguably inferior anyway).

      This article on the subject is quite good:

    2. Jason Terando


      The DirectShow technology would work fine. My guess is that they are concerned about trying to block users from "stealing" content by locking out 3rd party rendering engines.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Frayed knot

        He's saying you can use DirectShow codecs with Media Player/Centre but not IE. He's also saying you can play other video formats using plug-ins in IE as you always have been able to do, but the current plug-in architecture isn't standard and isn't wired up to the HTML5 video tag. If you want to use the standard video tag it's any codec you want as long as it's H.264.

  3. mittfh

    ACID3 68%?

    By the time IE9 is released, almost every rival will be up to full compliance - even FireFox is 94%+ - and no doubt the people responsible for the ACID test will be designing ACID4...

    1. hahnchen
      Thumb Down

      So what?

      Wow, ACID4, another batch of tests for standards quirks that no one actually uses? Sure, nice to-do list, but there are more exciting goals.

  4. Daniel 1

    "I want to avoid making a commitment on certain terms"

    So, he says there's a lot of uncertainty, but he's not prepared to clarify how much less uncertainty there would need to be before it could be said that the uncertainty had been resolved.

    This boy as commitment issues.

    "We know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns, the ones we don't know we don't know"

    Remind me' does he work in Software, or Astrology?

  5. Steven Knox

    Dropping ACID.

    "The new preview offers a higher ACID 3 test score, 68 out of 100"

    Wow. Even FireFox can do 97%.

  6. Martin 47

    nice to see ........

    that the people who thought vista was a good idea are alive and well and helping 'develop' ie9.

    You would have thought they would realise by now that the way to success is delivering what the customer wants.

    1. Admiral Grace Hopper Silver badge

      "deliveing stuff that the customer wants"

      Or, indeed, stuff that actually works as advertised.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    Standards not ready

    People complain about not meeting the standards, but they want HTML5 now, before the standard is fixed...

    I don't think they really care what gets used for video, they are following along at this point.

    I saw a comment from a softie that said they pay more into the video patent fund than they get back out.

  8. sisk

    Typical Microsoft

    We don't own it, so we won't support it....Typcial.

    As a web developer I'm getting sick and tired of dealing with Microsoft's BS on these kinds of issues. Just when I think they're finally going to do something right with IE they pull a stunt like this.

    My message to Microsoft: JUST FOLLOW THE EFFING STANDARDS! Everyone else supports Theora and OGG. Guess what Microsoft? That's consensus.

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      Let me fix that:

      "Everyone else supports Theora and OGG."

      Everyone else except Apple supports Theora and OGG.

      There, that's better.

      Actually, the only people taking the right approach here are Google, who quite happily support both codecs so the world can get on with its pissing contest in the background while they concentrate on doing something useful.

      Damn. I've just had to support Google. I feel dirty now.

  9. Ammaross Danan


    Question is, if they already have a video HTML5 tag implemented, and it currently can handle H.264, is it really all that hard to pipe the datastream to a different codec? I would think a browser would jump to support as many things as they could (isn't that why plug-ins were created in the first place?). I think H.264, VC8, and Ogg would be a good mix of the three main codecs to support, and it would cost what? 2 weeks of coding and testing by a real coder? (I say "real", because I'm not sure how many undergrads they have monkeying away on IE9...)

    1. David 141


      "is it really all that hard to pipe the datastream to a different codec?"

      Yes, transcoding on the fly uses a significant amount of CPU power.

  10. stillious
    Gates Horns

    Let me guess....

    More FUD. How predictable.

  11. Jean-Luc

    come on, M$, be a sport. or at least don't machinegun your foot

    it's not like I personally care that much about Ogg Theora. But how hard is it for multi billion dollar corporation to just implement a codec support? Really?

    And then let the _customers_ decide. If Ogg Theora doesn't cut the mustard, it'll drop out of the running.

    It's like SVG. Of course, it won't be a widely used standard until M$ supports it in IE. But it is disingenuous for M$ to claim it shouldn't be supported because of insufficient mindshare. Precisely because the biggest roadblock to adoption is... M$ sitting on the fence.

    Grow up, Ballmer & Co. There can't be that much money in it and this is bad press.

  12. Anonymous Coward


    They should spend the time they waste making hundreds of unsolicited CSS and HTML tests for the W3C working on their browser instead. They're like a bunch of Sunday drivers.

    There are plenty of other people who'll come up with Acid tests and test suites in their spare time.

    And stop trying to wow people with new features when you're the very last people to be implementing them. Microsoft really don't need to teach people how to use CSS3 to round corners or HTML5 to embed videos anymore than they need to teach us how to use the back button. Don't think the reason few websites use these things is because they don't know how - It's because they think there's no point when IE doesn't support them. Just get on with it and support them, and leave people to their own devices. Trust me, those features make people's lives easier - they'll start using them as soon as it's practicably possible (which means when IE supports them, and old versions have died off).

  13. Mage Silver badge

    H.264 is a standard

    Absolutely 100% of broadcast systems replacing MPEG2 use MPEG4 /H.264

  14. westlake

    The wrong end of the telescope

    A search of Google Shopping [US] returns 3,500 hits for "H.264 Camcorder." $120-$5,000. Product on the shelves.

    Search for H.264 consumer and industrial video products, all types, and you will get about 35,000 hits.

    The list of H.264 licensors is dominated by global giants in manufacturing. Fujitsu. Hitachi. Mitsubishi. Panasonic. Philips. Samsung. Sony. Toshiba... There are hundreds of familiar brand names among the 811 H.264 licensees.

    It would take years - more likely a decade - to turn this around even if Google were to release a competitive VP8 codec + reference hardware designs + professional grade editing, production and distribution tools the first thing tomorrow morning.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There are no video standards in HTML5

    HTML5 does not specify what codec should be used and it won't specify the codec even when the specification is finished.

    So, vendors such as Microsoft and Apple have to make a choice. They've chosen H.264. Both of them.

    That's a good thing. It means the video "war" is over. Everyone just uses HTML5 and H.264 and we're done.

    Now...what's the problem again? It seems to me that the world just agreed on a video standard - H.264.

    Oh...wait...the problem is that it "should have been Ogg Theora" - a video standard that almost no-one uses and may turn into a rat's nest of patent issues. Nobody knows.


  16. Jay Jaffa
    Gates Horns

    Do Microsoft's actions really matter so much anymore?

    Within our business we've all but removed the necessity for IE on the desktop. There's one ageing Cloud app that needs it today but that's being re-written in Q3. We're basically a Chrome-only business now, openoffice when needed and have moved to Android handsets - basically some flavour of linux everywhere. Saving us a lot of money - We're only 450 people but I'd always question the relevance of Microsoft's actions in any IT outlook - they're simply not all that relevant anymore

  17. Def Silver badge

    Re: Dropping ACID.

    "Wow. Even FireFox can do 97%."

    So, just 2 points behind Opera then.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Webkit gets 100, so Safari is probably not far behind.

  18. George 24


    More reasons to use an alternative browser.

  19. g e


    how do I play a game in H264 now I've got rid of Flash like They told me to.

    Oh. Bugger.

  20. illiad

    So, just 2 points behind Opera then.

    Is that why opera is virtually invisible??? Or is it just an 'ideas machine' for FF developers??? who usually make their version work MUCH better that opera can....

    1. sisk


      In my experience Opera generally runs faster and smoother than FF. I suspect that the reason they lag behind FF and IE in adoption has more to do with momentum and advertising than any technical deficit.

  21. illiad

    @g e: clarification...

    There are two type of flash - adobes fault for not bothering to rename one of them!!

    ShockWave Flash (.swf) This was by macromedia, bought out by adobe..

    (to confuse things even further there is also the 'shockwave player' that is *totally* different, AFAIK a kind of java?? mainly used for complex online games)

    SWF is the stuff that all those flash ads use... If its not animated gif, or some kind of script or older stuff..

    Then there is 'flash Video' (.flv) that is used by many including youtube, with Javascript to make it look nice...

  22. illiad


    yes, its faster MAYBE....


    many have deserted it, for the far better session manager you get in FF...

    ditto for the speed dial, that is a very simple 'add-on' in opera, but in FF, you get 'groups', dial naming, right click to add to speed dial, lots of others....

    And then there is a 'bitmap animation stopper' that does not just stop it(as Opera does) but enables it to cycle 'just once'...

    The latest Opera has even LESS functionality, the address bar is just one big google search, type in 'bbc' or even 'google' it just searches google for it!!! (yes, it googles google, for google!!! ROFL ROFL )

    enter that in FF, it intelligently just goes to the proper website......

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