Microsoft will now support Opera and Mozilla users on its MSN.com portal, a change decided late yesterday by Bob Visse, director of marketing for MSN.
Earlier this week, when users tried accessing its new-look portal, a number of non-MS browsers were denied access and rerouted to a site advising them to download IE in order to see all the content correctly.
According to Opera, MS had earlier claimed that Opera users were denied entry due to its inability to "support the latest XHTML standard."
Following the change to support the other browsers, CNET reports Visse saying: "The experience may be slightly degraded simply because they don't support the standards we support closely, as far as the HTML standard in those browsers."
Jon von Tetzchner, Opera's CEO, fired back: "Opera's XHTML standard is of the highest quality ... it is internationally acclaimed and renowned for its strict compliance with all international Internet standards. Maybe Microsoft should take a look at its lack of respect for the World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) international Internet standards before bad-mouthing others."
There's more. W3C has a validation service that checks HTML and XHTML documents for conformance to its recommendations and other standards. Pop in 'www.msn.com' and it spits back: "Sorry, this document does not validate as XHTML 1.0 Strict."
Von Tetzchner believes this latest behaviour is acknowledgement from MS that Opera is a "valid threat to its dominance." But he's just getting warmed up: "I would like to use this opportunity to applaud all the vigilant Opera users around the world who immediately reacted to this abominable act from Microsoft. Opera fervently believes that the Internet only will thrive if it remains a structure where human innovation can prosper to the benefit of everyone. All users will benefit from a dynamic marketplace where users can choose from several browser alternatives."
Sources at Microsoft's MSN team informed The Register that the VBscript error reported earlier on some MSN sites has been fixed.
Almost all MSN portals globally have been migrated to a new look and feel, with the notable exception of MSN.co.uk. Apparently this will change on November 6. ®