Microsoft and IE: This time it's personal

Cringely's readers line up on both sides of the Microsoft debate -- and they have some words for Google

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Frequent correspondent D.B., who works for a company whose name rhymes with "horizon," offers another reason for sticking with IE:

In our case, IE is the internal corporate standard "because it's a commercial browser supported by a third party" and not an open source browser that is supported by no one. That gives us accountability in the event of problems with the browser with apps we build or buy, plus that way we have a unified standard, which is actually a smart thing to have even if the choice of browser doesn't fit the profile of being the smartest choice.

Does that make our users dumber? Not by itself, though we surely do have a group of users who would fit into the profile your article suggests.

On the other hand, D.J.L., a member of our nation's military, raises questions about the Department of Defense's preference for all things Microsoft, including Windows Vista and IE. He writes:

You might find it interesting that an organization that worked extremely hard to procure Vista, even as Windows admitted its failure and launched 7, also uses IE as its browser (that would be the DoD). That surely doesn't help the case.

Microsoft likes to imitate the form of its user-friendly competitors, it just doesn't deliver on the ease of use. It's like getting into a car that looks like a Toyota Corolla to find there are only a series of levers where the steering wheel, pedals, and gear shift would be. It might be functional ... but it's not friendly, no matter what it looks like on the outside.

He'd better be careful, or B.B. might try to punch him in the face too.

Of course, although it's a ton of fun to bash Microsoft, I feel it only fair to spread the snark around. In a recent post about Google I suggested that its biggest problem was that the engineers, smart though they are, have too much control over the company's products. Longtime programmer W.M. agreed. He wrote:

Google has been a fantastic success ... at selling advertising and giving away information. It has not been all that successful designing software that shows any polish, or insight into productivity. I expect that one of these days it may "fall apart" ... replaced by software suppliers that have more insight into the "human condition" ...

A couple of their offerings look interesting, but probably only for up-to-date engineers. I hope I have the time to fully investigate some of their more interesting tools, but fear that they are a little too esoteric for people who are not engineers to appreciate. That is the curse of software engineering -- so many possibilities, but few people who can appreciate the results.

I, on the other hand, appreciate the time all those out in there in Cringeville have taken to read my posts, comment, and email me responses -- even if you do occasionally want to punch me in the nose.

Got a bone to pick with Cringe? Post your gripes below or email me:

This article, "Microsoft and IE: This time it's personal," was originally published at Follow the crazy twists and turns of the tech industry with Robert X. Cringely's Notes from the Field blog, and subscribe to Cringely's Notes from the Underground newsletter.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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