Listening to Customers

My job is focused on receiving feedback from customers and there’s plenty of it. Feedback comes from a great many sources including corporate customers, product support teams, critical problem resolution teams, newsgroups, blogs, ISVs, web developers, colleagues, friends and family.

One of the challenges of working on what is arguably the most used piece of software in the world is that there is such a broad array of customers with many different requirements. There are three broad categories of customer for IE:

  • End users
    The end user represents someone who uses IE for browsing the web. There are many different types of end user though, some are not technically savvy while others might be power users and many fall in between.
  • IT professionals
    This customer segment is concerned with deploying and supporting Internet Explorer within their organizations. That might range from a part time role of keeping a few machines up to date in a small company to a large network of many thousands of desktops running custom internal applications.
  • Developers
    There are many different types of developers that make use of IE from Windows developers that host Internet Explorer components such as Maxthon to web developers focused on displaying content in any browser on any platform. The web developers seem to form the majority of readers of this blog which is another important feedback mechanism.

As a team we listen to all these groups through a wide variety of feedback mechanisms. There are regular chats on the web with members of the IE team that I help host, this includes monthly public chats that anyone is free to join and also private chats subject to Non Disclosure Agreement with our MVPs who provide valuable feedback. I look forward to all opportunities I get to talk with customers, either one on one, through the blogs, through the newsgroups and on the monthly chats that we host. We also have the wiki on Channel 9 as an additional place where you can leave feedback and suggestions.

As we collect feedback I look for common trends and ensure that we are listening to all customers, not just the most vocal set. We've been collecting feedback for our work on IE7 for some time through all these mechanisms, this helps us decide what work needs to be done and how to prioritise it. While some requests may have to wait for another major release I believe that IE7 will offer an unparalleled browsing experience on Windows.

I also noticed a recent eWeek article that said "Microsoft holds a secret Webcast with its closest partners to brainstorm on ways to improve Internet Explorer". I’m not aware of any discussion that matches eWeek’s description. As with any software project we talk to many different customers on a consistent basis and some discussions are confidential as we explore ideas and possibilities.


Comments (112)

  1. Anonymous says:

    Just like Microsoft is unaware of any connection between threatening to fire 800 Danish developers and European software patents directive?

  2. Anonymous says:

    You always forgot web developers… When will those standards be supported by IE? Before that, I have no need of IE.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I work at a very large financial institution, in the Internet Banking area. How do I engage the right bit of the IE team working on the IE7 anti-phishing controls?

    As it’s the most common attack we suffer, I think we would be able to provide excellent feedback and provide hard core testing of these features.

    Can someone from the IE team contact me:


  4. Anonymous says:

    Hi Dave

    The same request to Listen to:

    web standards.

    Web Developers and Corporates spend time and money in tweaks and fixes for IE, So we (wait a moment… YOU!) need It. Also security is very important. Do you have a Features / improvements / TODO’s list?

    Best Regards.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Feedback for customers is very important.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I have been a very happy power user of IE since the very beginning, but its main problem was that noone or noplace was ever made available to send comments and suggestions to, which would actually be read by someone and responded to.

    Other than that, every browser’s BIGGEST problem has always been their inability to print wide pages. Pleeeeze fix this in V7.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Another type of developer uses IE to scrape data off websites. Please fix the hosted DOM memmory leak!!!!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Why does MS send different content that is obviously flawed if they detect one using Opera?

    How can a person root for an organization that is not interested in standards at all?

    MS makes people angry!

    When will MS wake up? Before it’s too late?

  9. Anonymous says:

    Well, you clearly need to pay more attention to web developers because:

    1. User’s want to be able to browse the web and have the best experience possible.

    2. The user’s experience depends largly on each way the web site is built (also on the UI of the browser, but I’ll ignore that aspect for now)

    3. Web developers depend on the rendering engine of the browsers to deliver this experience to the user.

    4. The inability to make use of the latest standards, due to the poor rendering engine reduces the quality of the pages that can be written and thus impacts on the user’s experience.

    Just because the end user’s aren’t complaining about such issues, doesn’t mean it doesn’t affect them.

  10. Anonymous says:

    No – it does not affect end users at all.

    They just want a page that looks right, correct. But it is YOUR job as a web developer to make it work. If you are unable to do so, then maybe you are not qualified to be a web developer.

    People need to realize that this blog would have MUCH better results if people would stop whining about standards and Microsoft (it has been said thousands of times already on this blog and elsewhere, I am sure they heard you) especially when the blog topic has nothing to do with standards or rendering. This seems to be an issue of maturity.

    Now if your only goal is too waste the time of the IE team, and the readers of this blog, then good for you. Maybe you should look up the IE hacks and try to bring in some work.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Thanks Dave, I for one am grateful for all the hard work that goes into fixing problems with IE and coming through with new releases.

    It can seem like a thankless job at times, but we are grateful, and grateful that the IE team and the rest of microsoft do actually listen to their customers.

    Perhaps, as a suggestion, moving away from the current format of this blog, to something a bit more controlled, it can become rather annoying to want to read these blogs and have people fill these pages up with nothing but insulting comments.

    TreeGhost, I use Opera and IE, and I have no idea what you are talking about

  12. Anonymous says:

    why don’t you adopt firefox and help in improving it? microsoft sells ie at no cost anyway so shipping a microsoft version of firefox would be beneficial for everyone. you and me

  13. Anonymous says:

    I love how this post is made about MS listening to customers like it deserves some award. "See, we’re listening to our customers by releasing a new version to IE years after our competitors." Please!

    MS has never listened to customers when it comes to IE. We’ve been asking for tabbed browsing, compliance with standards and full CSS support for several years now. Opera has had all of this since their inception and Mozilla is doing a 100 times better than MS. Now we’re being told that a beta of the first core update to IE will be released in 4 months?

    The reality is that MS is finally woken up by a 10% reduction in IE’s usage and so many security issues. Yes, it’s good MS is finally doing something, but let’s not pretend it has anything to do with listening to customers.

  14. Anonymous says:

    great news! What about the buggy PNG support? Will it be improved?

  15. Anonymous says:

    Please do not forget to add spam filters to Outlook Express. Spam is a serious problem you know. It is a serious security issue as well.

    Do not forget Outlook Express please. Not only IE but Outlook Express as well.

  16. Anonymous says:

    When MS say "we are listening", soon comments area are filled by "standards, CSS, XHTML, PNG, …" things. How many times do you want to repeat such waste of storage? It is really easy to stop this stupid things. Just say, "We’ll support standards." Or, "We’ll never support them." Clear. You should see that there are only two ways to go. If you don’t want to support any standards which MS dislikes, you should send that message to the World. And, release alternative well-written specification document which you WANT to support. Then everybody can be happier than, at least, now.

  17. Anonymous says:

    I’m eagerly awaiting this beta, as a webdeveloper I have in general the same view of those flaming responses above. However, Limouren, did you accually read this topic before you commented?!? He accually did, specifically, mention webdevelopers as part of those they listen to. Allas, until we get our hands on this ‘carrot on a stick’ we will not know what microsoft is really doing.

    As for the ‘carrot on a stick’, I particularly enjoyed reading this sentence:

    "I believe that IE7 will offer an unparalleled browsing experience on Windows"

    Which with microsofts track records does not bode well. You do realise that unparalleled is a double edged knife? IE4/5/6 are all in their own way unparalleled, and while some of these were, in their day, quite top of the bill, on the edge, inovative browsers, their still unparalelled as everybody else moved far above and beyond what IE has to offer, and thus, IE is unparalleled, but that’s not a positive thing, it’s a disgrace.

    So, is the ‘carrot on a stick’ going to be a joy, or is it going to be rotting on the inside and just something to dangle in front of the eyes of the unwitting in an efford to keep customers from running away?

  18. Anonymous says:

    as already said by other, we just want IE capable to show a webpage the way it should be,and not the way microsoft see it …

    use all standard and forgot your unwanted feature ….

  19. Anonymous says:

    You’re listening to your customers?

    So you’re saying that you never knew they’d want a secure browser without asking them?

    It’s blatantly obvious that all IE users want their browser to be more secure, and they want it to be that way on whatever platform that they use.

    Be honest, the only reason you’re giving the pretense of listening is because of the success of alternatives, if IE was not losing marketshare then IE would probably never improve.

    Keep spreading Firefox is the only way we can make IE a decent browser, when they have no competition they just stagnate.

    Of course I’ll never use IE as my primary browser because I use a mixture of Windows, Mac OS X and Linux and I doubt that they’d have a version for all those platforms (prove me wrong – please), however those on Windows would appreciate a decent internet experience *out of the box* on Windows.

    Currently Mac OS X and even most Linux distributions have a better out of the box Internet experience as they all ship with a modern standards compliant browser with built in tabs and pop-up blocking. Although Linux still has a few more hurdles to overcome to make it a decent desktop OS I’d have no hesitation recommending MacOS X to everyone.

  20. Anonymous says:

    "While some requests may have to wait for another major release …"

    So I guess we WON’T be seing standards compliance after all… Not that I ever was under the impression we would.

  21. Anonymous says:

    You mention maxthon, but I’d recommend avant browser ( as a superior tabbed-IE browser to Maxthon.

    I say this because it seems a lot less buggy, and also (the bit I like) has google bar support, which is invaluable.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Unlike some people posting here, I don’t really like FireFox, while much better than in the Netscape days, the rendering is still not that good (I’m not talking standards compliance here, but visual things like buffered rendering to prevent flickering when changing content dynamically).

    I actually like Internet Explorer, and its added support for Windows-specific technologies such as ActiveX (when used correctly, these can make a Web application as rich as a native application, that is unfortunately also true for malwares).

    But that said, I _completely_ agree that these benefits should be _added_benefits_, on top of the best standards compliant browser, not at the expense of the expected compliance.

    So, as it seems to me ActiveX have been working fine since the IE4 days, the features we are waiting for since end of 1997 (don’t remember the RTM date for IE4, but I remember being a beta tester for it during summer ’97), are security and standard compliance, and if possible support for new Windows-specific technologies such as .NET,… why is support for .NET WinForm Controls the first thing you worked on in that list?

    So, prove us you’re really listening to customers, and not only to big companies that forced you to accept to update IE, and try to include these requests into your prioritization list:

    – Improved security (SP2 was a good start, but don’t stop).

    – Standards compliance (XHTML, CSS).

    – Updated documentation that helps following standard compliance for Web developers using MSDN (when both the W3C DOM or IE DHTML DOM can be used, the IE one should be flagged as deprecated, and the W3C one should be the one explained).

    – A strict mode available for developers to prevent IE from silently ignoring errors in documents, think of it as a Web Debug mode, showing every warning.

    – More standard compliant or cross browsers components, for exemple the IE WebControls for ASP.NET should be the extended WebControls for ASP.NET and support all browsers (even if they render better on IE using IE-specific technologies).

    – Keeping support for ActiveX and WebForm Controls (unlike some other, I DO believe these are valuable, at least in Intranet scenarios).

    – I also expect MS to keep working with standardization organisations to provide new features to the Web, not only to IE. For exemple, support for client-size WebServices requests (from JavaScript) would be a great thing to standardize ( is great, but it would really help if you tried to make these features into standards, not into IE-only benefits).

    In my opinion, things like tabbed browsing and RSS browsing can be left to 3rd parties – What I expect from Microsoft for the UI is a working browser, simple enough for every computer user – The important thing is the reusable browser engine, make that piece a great Windows fondation, that’s what the story behind building a platform is, make people want to build web sites AND applications with IE.

    Thanks for taking the time to read this long post.

  23. Anonymous says:

    So, as it seems to me ActiveX have been working fine since the IE4 days, the features we are waiting for since end of 1997 (don’t remember the RTM date for IE4, but I remember being a beta tester for it during summer ’97), are security and standard compliance, and if possible support for new Windows-specific technologies such as .NET,… why is support for .NET WinForm Controls the first thing you worked on in that list

  24. Anonymous says:

    It is a very good news for customers to have IE7.

    2005 will be another browser battle year.

    I will join the war to deliver a customized CcNote Browser(soon release) based on IE6 ActiveX (IWebBrowser2). It will include innovative user expereices you probably haven’t seen before.

    I’d like IE7 to supply more control for developer who use IE ActiveX. Let user choose

    IWebBrowser2 or IWebBrowserX(? for IE7).

    Easy to detect User click on a link or program(code) invoking navigation. Such as in BeforeNavigate/or NewWindow(?) include how this is invoked.

    I’d like the user data passed through NavigateX() to BeforeNavigateX()/NewWindowX(), so customized IE can determine whether need further action.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Being both an end-user and an IT Professional, I’m rather disappointed at how much "choice" we’ve been given here.

    Really……. "IE upgrades for XPSP2 users"

    Excuse Me? What happened to a LARGE AMOUNT of Windows 2000 users? Dare I even suggest Windows 98 users at all?

    Okay, maybe 98’s pushing it, but as far as customers go, Windows 2000 shouldn’t be ignored. There’s a large common code base between XP/2000, why can’t there be a version for it too?

    Seriously…. give ALL types of users an even chance. Limiting to "only" a type of product is just a virtual kick in the teeth πŸ™

  26. Anonymous says:


  27. Anonymous says:

    Same case than Rohin. Looks like the next Update of the company system will not be IE Based. Anyway we only Used IE for the Intranet Apps, for other porpouses we use opera or Firefox.

    "Seriously…. give ALL types of users an even chance. Limiting to "only" a type of product is just a virtual kick in the teeth :(" = TRUE

    Is that technically necessary? ( I think It’s not)

  28. Anonymous says:

    By only providing "IE7" (aka XP SP3) for windows XP, you are basically saying that "reaching an acceptable level of browsing safety on any Windows platform is such a hard job because of all the cracks that need filling, we can’t summon the energy/resources to do so for more than Windows XP – not even Win2K".

  29. Anonymous says:

    > They just want a page that looks right, correct. But it is YOUR job as a web developer to make it work. If you are unable to do so, then maybe you are not qualified to be a web developer.

    You’re just wrong. There are effects that just can’t happen without, for example, support for the alpha channel for PNG, or SVG support.

    Web developers are limited by what browsers support. Internet Explorer is what most people use, and it’s also the most limiting of the mainstream browsers. You’d have to look to something like Lynx to find something more restricting than Internet Explorer.

    Furthermore, all of Internet Explorer’s shortcomings force us to spend a significant amount of time working around them. I can design and write a website that works in Firefox, Safari, Opera, Omniweb and Konqueror with little to no changes. Then I have to spend extra time fixing things for Internet Explorer because it doesn’t support half the things the others do, or because it sort-of does, but in a buggy way.

    This time doesn’t come for free. Microsoft don’t pay for Internet Explorer’s shortcomings. We have to pass that cost on to our clients. Our clients either spend less on actual website construction (= less website for users), or pass the extra costs on to their customers (= higher prices). Either way, it’s the end users that end up paying for Internet Explorer’s shortcomings.

    When you see people saying that they are held back by Internet Explorer, they aren’t whining, they have a legitimate complaint.

  30. Anonymous says:

    I agree with Richard about moving away from the format of this blog. Right now it’s the "IE" blog which could theoretically cover a whole range of technologies. It would be great to get people from specific areas to have their own blogs. For example, jeffdav’s blog had a bunch of entries on WinInet’s URL cache. I’d love to see separate blogs for MSHTML, WebBrowser control, WinInet/Urlmon, Scripting, etc.

  31. Anonymous says:

    When Bill Gates says, "Browsing is a vulnerability", you’ve got to think:

    WHY WON’T MS TAKE IE **OUT** OF WINDOWS? If it’s such a risk (a permanent risk, since there will always be "bad" people out there trying to cause trouble), it would seem the VERY BEST security fix that MS could make. The ideal would be "okay, IE got hosed, but at least the machine still works" instead of what we have now where IE is a big neon "open" sign luring these jerks in with their viruses, spyware, trojans, worms, whatever.

    Or maybe here’s a reason for the update?:

    In any case, there’s ONE BIG LESSON that I really hope MS gets:

    when you create a product, stick with it, don’t disband the developers, don’t assume you’ve "won" the (browser) wars, don’t assume that "since you’ve won" it’s now "good enough" for your customers: it’s clear security threats will NEVER go away–Firefox, Opera, Safari, and others have clearly shown that there are other features that customers really like and find useful–and it’s also terribly obnoxious that every MS update somehow involves a "side benefit" for MS (think: automatic bookmark for Windows Marketplace as part of XPSP2 "security" update (how the hell is that security?), it’s that sort of self-serving behaviour that makes people think (rightly so) that maybe, just maybe, MS *doesn’t* just have the customers’ best interests at heart

    LEARN THE LESSON: SERVE YOUR CUSTOMERS, NOT YOURSELVES (maybe you’ll even get a few new customers out of it!)

  32. Anonymous says:

    "maybe, just maybe, MS *doesn’t* just have the customers’ best interests at heart"

    All companies have their own interests at heart. In a competitive market that will turn into having the customers interests at heart – otherwise you’ll end up not having any customers. In a monopoly situation, however, it becomes a lot clearer that the customer is not the primary interest of the company.

  33. Anonymous says:

    I’m taking this as a "web developers aren’t the only folk we listen to so don’t expect any standards support in IE 7, just tabbed browsing" post.

    Don’t worry, I’m just going to start billing customers for "Internet Explorer compliance".

    Maybe when your customers actually understand that they’re paying us extra to ensure their new website works in IE, they’ll pass their opinions on to your company.

  34. Anonymous says:

    Hey MSFT guys… Is it against the NDA to tell us if PNG Alpha Transparency will be in IE7 or will we still have to do that psuedo-workaround?

  35. Anonymous says:

    Perhaps IE should get its own PFC?

  36. Anonymous says:

    must have improvements

    full CSS2.1 support

    full DOM support

    full png support

    would be nice improvements

    tabbed browsing (or taskbar improvements – see below)

    rss reader either in IE or Outlook Express

    ability to restore all open IE windows after restart (currently only works for explorer windows – tools > folder options)

    integrated search box (like Firefox)

    better find (like Firefox)

    Back in the day when upgrading Win98SE to IE5, it added the quicklaunch bar to the windows taskbar. In much the same way i would appreciate it if IE7 would add ‘Groupbar’ functionality to the WinXP taskbar.

    Groupbar demo (starts just before the 10min mark): mms:// (from

    This thing allows you to work task based as opposed to application window based. And best of all you can save your current desktop state (all opened windows/positions/applications) and restore it at a later point. Would save me tons of time.

    If not then atleast release it as an XP powertoy.

    Looking forward to a future when I can develop standards based websites that if tested with one browser will work in all!

  37. Anonymous says:

    How about better handling of favourites – In a sidebar that shows a snapshot picture of the pag, the favicon and site details such as last updated, last visited, RSS feed availability, GEO location etc etc?

  38. Anonymous says:

    Please, fix the IE Win CSS well know bugs. It is much harder to build web sites today because IE Win bugs.

  39. Anonymous says:

    When people write about standards to what are they referring?

    CSS 2 is only a _candidate_ recomendation from the w3c. It seems like most developers are jumping the gun on this. This is somewhat like using beta software. It should not be in production apps and doing so is at your own risk. Does anyone have a list of what pieces of CSS1 are not supported by the latest iterations of IE and other competing browsers?

    PNG _is_ a recommendation and support is apparently lacking for IE6 on windows, but not IE5 on Mac. (

    Maybe someone on the IE team can also explain why the code base is so different on the two operating systems. It seems like IE7 should be able to use some of the code already written to properly render PNG transparency.

  40. Anonymous says:

    Re: comments made by "C" (above) about CSS2 being only a candidate recommendation–


    CSS 2.1 is a CANDIDATE Recommendation (25 February 2004)

    Nearly 6 years since CSS2–*that’s* why developers are sick of this IE footdragging, at least where standards are concerned. Nobody is jumping the gun on this one, unless a 6-year delay is considered jumping the gun.

  41. Anonymous says:

    First off, C wrote that CSS 2 was only a candidate. This is incorrect CSS 2.0 is a W3C recommended standard. CSS 2.1 was an update that was in CR status last spring (2004). The CR status was supposed to expire in August. There has been no new news on 2.1 (to date).

    Second, CSS 2.0 should be minimum standard fully met by IE 7.0. W3C has validators to check CSS and this should be the standard used to determine whether CSS 2.0 support is met. I would prefer IE 7.0 meet at least the 2.1 standard and start to implement the solid CSS 3.0 items, or at least the first and last selector standards.

    Other than CSS Support, IE 7.0 should implement fully the PNG support, specifically, the transparancy support.

    Anything less than the above, means that IE 7.0 will still be behind the times with regards to the other browsers on the market which support these features.

    As far as security, get rid the ability to automatically download and execute ActiveX controls. The user should have to be involved an make a decision to download and install a browser add-in, like an ActiveX control. Additionally, the user should be able to remove or disable controls they don’t want the browser to have access to. The bottom line is give the user the control, not some spyware or other third party site.

    As far as corporate needs, they come in two areas. First, ever since IE 4.0, where the browser was "integrated" into the OS, it has been a lot harder to deploy updates to the product. Remove the browser functionality from OS level DLL’s. They should be their own set of DLL’s and not conflict with OS level controls. Add SMS deployment support/options to the IEAK so one can easily build IE packages for deployment via SMS. Finally, provide easy straight-forward ways for companies to control ActiveX controls via System Policy. Each ActiveX control should be be able to be deployed via SMS and controlled via System Policy. The default should be for an ActiveX control to be explicitly off until turned on by policy. This applies to the corporation and to the end user (see previous paragraph on giving users control over what ActiveX controls run on their machine).

    The above are what I expect as a web developer who has used and developed for IE since the IE 2.0 days. MS please listen to your customers.



  42. Anonymous says:

    What is the direction for VML support in future IE ? I quite like the same kind of light protocol. (SVG is too heavy).

  43. Anonymous says:

    > CSS 2 is only a _candidate_ recomendation from the w3c.

    The CSS 2 recommendation was published as a final document in 1998, almost seven years ago.

    > It seems like most developers are jumping the gun on this. This is somewhat like using beta software. It should not be in production apps and doing so is at your own risk.

    CSS 2.1 is a candidate recommendation, which means it’s ready for implementing. Directly from the specification:

    "This is a W3C Candidate Recommendation, which means the specification has been widely reviewed and W3C recommends that it be implemented."

    Other browsers are implementing it right now – Mozilla, Safari, and Opera are all being developed against the CSS 2.1 specification.

    Furthermore, CSS 2.1 is a *subset* of CSS 2. It’s CSS 2 without some of the more difficult bits. There aren’t any big things in CSS 2.1 that aren’t in CSS 2.

    Asking for Microsoft to attempt CSS 2.1 is perfectly reasonable (although I personally have refrained and asked for CSS 2). It is nothing like the situation you describe.

    > (SVG is too heavy).

    The SVG specifications describe different levels of support. Mobile phones have successfully implemented SVG.

  44. Anonymous says:

    although sounding contradictory i, aside from better standards support, i wouldn’t mind if microsoft would add a bit to those standards – HTML specifically. ms did that with the marquee tag for example and behold it now works in firefox πŸ™‚


    <select size="1" combo> (will render as combo-box, allowing users to enter a custom value or select from the predefined options)

    <input type="email" [multiple]> (windows validates if it’s a correct email address – with an option to suppress error messages and determine via javascript if entry is valid)

    <input type="url"> (validates correct syntax and auto-adds http if it starts with www.)

    <input type="date" mask="mm/dd/yy"> (date picker that also has an option to select today’s date)

    <input type="color"> (color picker – like paint/photoshop – outputs in #rrggbb format)

    <textarea type="WYSIWYG"> (hotmail like wysiwyg editor control)

    and now a bit more out there…



    <tab value="Tab 1">

    <fieldset> form controls here </fieldset></tab>

    <tab value="Tab 2">

    <fieldset> more form controls here </fieldset></tab>



    <tree structure="tree.xml"> (displays tree control like a folderlist for example – or same as used on for navigation)

    <datagrid> (works like a table but only accepts single line values and all columns and rows are presented like excel, all data is sortable, copy and pastable)

    <explorer data="files&folders.xml"> (allows a control that displays files and folders like windows explorer and allows sorting double-clicking through folders and thumbnail view for images (if the specified paths lead to actual images).

    obviously some of these things are not really implementable the way i’ve written them but hey that’s why we need M$ πŸ™‚

  45. Anonymous says:

    Putting the sysadmin hat on, I’d like to lobby for the inclusion of Win2K in the release. Most businesses run this OS for workstations, and since most businesses are on Software Assurance, it isn’t like we’re non-paying customers trying to score a freebie…

  46. Anonymous says:

    You may have 3 or 3000 potential customer segments.

    But there are really only two things that are important for IE to be at this point: secure and stable. In fact, I’d go further… stability is second priority behind security.

    I don’t care about new features, I don’t care about anything but security at this point. Until you get that fixed, and have a plan to response on a regular, fast basis to threats, you have no other mission. None.

    I can get my popup blocker from google. I can get skinning from third parties. What I can’t get from them is security.

  47. Anonymous says:

    Haha, someone delete my post because I said they need to have PNG and standards support.

  48. Anonymous says:

    so much for "listening to customers"

  49. Anonymous says:

    only listening, …. no responses?

  50. Anonymous says:

    Just so we make ourselves clear here:

    Billy G (I’m sure you’re keeping an eye on this blog at least for a few days now), why don’t YOU get the facts:

    Web developers want open and universal standards!

    Why don’t you invest part of all the $bns by hiring someone (or maybe even a few people?) who can read the recommendations over at and understand them. Then, pay them to make Internet Explorer understand them. Imagine how the feelings for Microsoft in the entire developer community would sway, just by implementing a small thing like that.


    David Naylor

  51. Anonymous says:

    MS listening to customers? Since when?

  52. Anonymous says:

    <quote>They just want a page that looks right, correct. But it is YOUR job as a web developer to make it work. If you are unable to do so, then maybe you are not qualified to be a web developer.<end quote>

    Really? I thought that was why we have STANDARDS. Other standards based browsers can render pages correctly. Why should a web developer need to spend their time writing browser specific CSS or finding/using workarounds or hacks just to make it look right in Internet Explorer?

    Well, I for one am sick of looking at broken pages in IE6. Those same pages are not broken when viewed in other browsers. No, it’s not the web developer’s job to make it work correctly in Internet Explorer. It is Microsoft’s job to provide Windows users with a W3C standards based browser.

  53. Anonymous says:

    It may not be obvious, but listening is a TWO way process.

    MSFT management is being stupid with its NDAs. The whole world knows full alpha transparency PNG support will be in IE7, why not just announce it and get yourself back some goodwill.

  54. Anonymous says:

    Several months ago, Robert Scoble said "standard compliance would benefit nothing." and after reading the comment

    which Dave P posted, I just re-realized that there the "MS’s hidden cost of not being standard compliant" exists but they are paid by all other people in web development industry, not by MS themselves.

    MS can avoid paying that, because almost all believes MS is not responsible for that extra costs. While they kept being vague about standard compliance and just say "providing the best web experience" or such abstract things, MS can keep people believing that.

    So, I am sure that there would be no solid announcement about "standard compliance" this time, either.

    If MS decided to make IE7 standard compliant, release date will slip, and development cost will skyrocket. It’s too expensive as Scoble said.

    If MS clarifies their position of not being standard compliant, developers like Deve P can charge that cost to their customers, customers cannot refuse, but they would go to MS and complain about that. That will cost MS much, as well. Then soon total cost of not-being standard compliant must be accounted on MS’s balance-sheet.

    What if IE share went down to, say, 70 or 75%? In that situation, everybody would start thinking about other browser and realize supporting multiple browsers costs much. Then finally, they would realize IE is the different fish in the pond. They will go MS to complain. Again, cost of not-being standard compliant must be written on MS’s balance-sheet.

    So, this is why Microsoft MUST announce IE7 for WinXP right now. They believe they can keep their browser share by this announce. 90% of share is still huge. If they can keep this number, they can remain as defacto standard browser, then they don’t need to worry about those hidden costs.

  55. Anonymous says:

    Of course, making IE7 standard compliant will break the compatibility with IE6, ASP.NET, VisualStudio, and all other legacy MS things. People from IE fundamentalist society will come to MS and complain a lot. It seems just not realistic to support standards in IE7.

    Microsoft still has billion in cash, but cannot control their product by themselves. BillG should be proud about that.

  56. Anonymous says:


    Did MSFT pay you for that statement?

  57. Anonymous says:

    I-R-O-N-Y, got it?

  58. Anonymous says:

    How many people here bitching about standards support (as if certain that IE7 will make no improvement here) are really frightened that IE7 will bring the brower on par with Firefox, thus negating its reason for existing? It’s fairly obvious that if Microsoft does what it needs to do to improve IE that Firefox will go back to being a ~5% marketshare browser.

  59. Anonymous says:

    "Of course, making IE7 standard compliant will break the compatibility with IE6, ASP.NET, VisualStudio, and all other legacy MS things. People from IE fundamentalist society will come to MS and complain a lot. It seems just not realistic to support standards in IE7."

    IE 6 already implement a good part of CSS 2 and XHTML standards, all we want is MS *finish* what they started and fix the rendering engine for CSS, and extand compatibility with XHTML and CSS 2 / 3 specs. This has nothing to deal (at all) with compatbility with ASP.NET.

    Old page designed with non standards in mind will still render correctly switching IE in quirk mode (like it’s actually the case in IE6), when standard respectfull pages will use a *fixed* standard mode (unlike the broken one provided in IE6).

    Will support for PNG’s Alpha also broke ASP.NET?

    Well MH, it’s clear, you understand nothing to what you are stating.

  60. Anonymous says:

    Ha ha ha. Truth is so, but, people in IE fundamentalism society won’t understand that. Why do you think I am the member? I am pro-Firefox man. Go to my blog on

  61. Anonymous says:

    Anyway, Microsoft will NOT hear you guy’s "standard compliance" cry here. Microsoft has reasons to ignore that discussion and will not give any clarification about the standard compliance in IE7. I don’t think they will implement the rest of the standard in it, but, even if they will, still they will give no credit here, I think.

    I am not saying you should not write comments about standards here, but, MSers will not touch that topic, you should understand that. MS and MSers blogging here are all under control of BillG and $$$.

  62. Anonymous says:

    I hope you guys all got it….

  63. Anonymous says:

    "How many people here bitching about standards support (as if certain that IE7 will make no improvement here) are really frightened that IE7 will bring the brower on par with Firefox, thus negating its reason for existing?"

    As a web developer I’m truly scared that they will make IE7 LOOK as good as Firefox, i.e. it will have all the sweet features like tabbed browsing, etc, but without true standards support. That would mean another three or four years of pain for a whole lot of people, just trying to make good-looking websites. That’s what scares me.

    Now, if they really do manage to make it as good as firefox, i.e. fix that [insert word of choice here] rendering engine – I would be a truly happy man – as would all other webdevs out there!

  64. Anonymous says:

    <quote>Really? I thought that was why we have STANDARDS. Other standards based browsers can render pages correctly. Why should a web developer need to spend their time writing browser specific CSS or finding/using workarounds or hacks just to make it look right in Internet Explorer?<end quote>

    Because at this point, 90% of the people out there use IE. Because grandpa and soccer mom don’t care whether or not MS supports standards. Because companies will go out and hire someone else if you can’t make it work, or charge more to make the site work with IE(that idea made me laugh). Sucks, but that’s the way it is.

    I agree that making pages look right in IE takes more time, and there is alot MS could do to help us out. However, regardless of whether or not IE follows standards, I am going to do my job – and not waste my time leaving useless/insulting comments to the IE team that have been made plenty of times already.

    At this point – it seems like MS is listening. A newer version of IE will be coming out before longhorn is released. I am willing to give MS a chance – and see what they do with it.

  65. Anonymous says:

    PNG alpha channel, please πŸ™‚

  66. Anonymous says:

    All we’re hearing over and over again is the same argument about interoperability. Microsoft have proven that they are not listening, somehow I get the impression we could continue this until we are blue in the face and it would not make a difference.

    Point in note, Microsoft’s own webpage touting the importance of interoperability brings up 42 errors when run through the W3C’s markup validation service:

  67. Anonymous says:

    > IE rendered the DIV with the text floated all the way up at the top with no extra line-feed that one would expect a P tag to generate.

    P "tags" (you mean elements, not tags) aren’t intended to generate line feeds. They are intended to describe which parts of a document are paragraphs. The extra line feeds are merely a common consequence.

    If you want a margin at the top of a paragraph, use CSS to suggest exactly that:

    p { margin-top: 1em; }

    If Internet Explorer still misbehaves after you are doing the right thing, *then* you should complain. But not when you are abusing markup to try and get specific presentation.

  68. Anonymous says:

    We have a dialogue to make sure that we&#8217;re understanding exactly what people would like to have us do in Internet Explorer, and what we&#8217;ve decided to do is a new version of Internet Explorer, this is IE 7, and…

  69. Anonymous says:

    For the love of god, if you never touch the goddamn thing again for a hundred years PLEASE FIX CSS2 SUPPORT before this release. Your browser’s bad inconsistent support for this fundamental and widely-used web standard is making web developers lives a living hell.


  70. Anonymous says:

    This type of "being too smart" "doing what they want" "assuming closing tag placement" IE behavior causes premature balding in web designers. We need an IE that’s not too smart for the collective good.

  71. Anonymous says:

    For me I think that IE7 needs to be more than just catch up to firefox, it needs to go beyond. Having something that does what the competition is already doing is hardly exciting.

    For me it needs the best CSS support (I’ll also add in CSS3 draft as well), Im currently driven insane by the browsers differences, and I’d actually guess that I could spend up to 20-30% of my time working out these differecnes.

    I also think that SVG support is in order too as developing pages for such a wide specturm of displays can be increadably time consuming.

    SVG goes part way there as it does scale.

    Finally, PNG support. Yes please.

    Im looking forward to see what you guys put out – I really hope there is a noticable difference, if their isnt IE7 wont be such a compelling upgrade for the average user.

    Thanks for the oppertunity to give feedback,


  72. Anonymous says:


    Congratulations for your work… but I’m now working with Linux… And I’ll never go back to Windows… See you later… And good luck with Longhorn.

  73. Anonymous says: Spam me. I’m using IE. And OE. And Microsoft Windows operating system.

  74. Anonymous says:

    I agree with David T. that SVG support would be a Good Thing, but frankly, I don’t think that a company that has shown itself to be incapable of something as trivial as supporting PNG files with transparency is capable of implementing a Postscript-style rendering engine.

    So, if you can buy an SVG implementation from Adobe, then go for it. If you try to implement it in-house, it will be another disaster.

  75. Anonymous says:

    One feature I’d like IE or other browser to have is make mark on the current reading page.

    I call it line mark.

    It works like this way: If it is a long page, I usually use Space Key to go to the next page. If browser can insert a mark line(of course can be switched off) just before the bottom line, and if Space Key or Next page key pressed, this line moves with the page to the top with one line above it. So I will continue reading under the mark line without excercise eyeball to look where I am. Later new mark line will insert at the bottom.

    Another topic is Standard Validation.

    You know when using XML, we can use Schema(or old DTD)to validate the XML document and gives indication.

    If IE or other browsers can give these kind of validation information, such as which W3C specification is valid, so we go further step to browser compatibility. It will help web developer to adopt the standard.

  76. Anonymous says:

    IE Team,

    I think one area that is overlooked by developers is how powerful the browser is when used as a component in the application to present the UI for rich/smart clients, and I don’t mean just to add web browsing to an app — I mean the entire UI. The rich programming model, renderer, DHTML and behaviors are a potent combination for building contemporary UIs. Kudos to the IE team for putting so much effort into factoring IE to allow for this! In a way I think using DHTML to build UIs in rich clients is similar to where things are heading with XAML.

    We have made extensive use of the browser component in our Baseball game PureSim Baseball ( The game has received great reviews from PC Gamer, Gamespot and others, and I’m pretty sure it is the only commercial game built entirely using browser control πŸ™‚

    We exercise every aspect of the technology (from behaviors, binary behaviors, VML, filters etc…)

    I hope the IE7 team will continue to keep folks using IE as a component mind moving forward. Best of luck with IE7. I am rooting hard for you guys.

    – Shaun

  77. Anonymous says:

    Could the IE team address a common problem when talking about IE…people talk about wanting features XYZ to the application, but the application is different things to different people.

    * Rendering Engine

    * UI/User Experience

    * Shell Integration

    * Scripting Engine

    * Platform (Add-ins etc)

    I’m sure that, internally, you have different teams for each of these sections anyway. Mozilla gets round this by having (fairly) clear names (Gecko, Firefox etc), so that any feature discussion can be concise. So often when people talk about improving IE, either people start deflecting answers because they assume that people only mean 1 part of this (eg improving security: does that mean accross all components, or just the UI? Tabbed browsing: you say that other IE based browsers support this at present (ie you assume that the rendering engine is used, with the ui changed), but if you do implement this will it change the other components?), or the discussion becomes boring as people start pointing out features of other browsers when the point made may have been about 1 particular component of the browser.

    So, could you please state a common language in a posting for these sections that we can agree on when talking about "IE"? The roles don’t go far enough as the components mentioned above cut accross these roles.

    Or, is this deliberate so that you get endless discussions about improving IE, with no-one agreeing what IE is ;-)…?

  78. Anonymous says:


    a couple of things one do u have a screen shot of wot IE 7 will look like?

    2 will it have the blue toolbar like in Office 2003?

  79. Anonymous says:

    If Microsoft really is "Listening to Customers", why is it taking the popularity of Firefox to get the ball rolling on improving IE. Until Firefox got hot, IE7 wasn’t expected until Longhorn came out sometime in 2006. That would have made a four plus year gap in upgrading IE. Unacceptable in my book. For those of you who want something better and is constantly improving, Firefox is the answer.

    Here is the link:

  80. Anonymous says:

    Pete: I doubt it’ll have that hideous blue toolbar. IE has tended to be a great example of how to use the *operating system APIs and themes* to develop user interfaces.

    Andy: Do you really think people reading this blog *don’t* know how to get firefox if they’d want to? No need to post a link.

  81. Anonymous says:


    Andy is just materializing his disappointment with microsofts (nonexistant) browser developent for the last four years.

    Paul Quinn:

    At least I believe the rendering engine is known as Trident. As for the rest, I don’t know if it makes sence to make up code-names.

  82. Anonymous says:

    Microsoft listens only to its shareholders, not its customers. It leverages its monopoly to be anticompetitive.

    We are not blind or stupid. Stop treating us this way. A shame on you.

  83. Anonymous says:

    How about showing that Microsoft really listens to customers by adding IE7 to Ladybug ( before the beta and let customers decide what needs to done to again make IE the best browser.

  84. Anonymous says:

    How about you listen to Nokia?

    They just migrated all 55000 of their desktops to Firefox with no problems. Other companies are sure to follow, especially if you don’t give concrete dates and features for IE7. I wonder how many ‘ordinary’ Nokia employees will now download Firefox at home too? Viral marketing – you have none, and you have absolutely zero good will. This too will continue if you don’t listen to what people are saying – be more open, give us dates and features!

    I do wonder what hacks (technical or legal) Longhorm will contain to prevent Firefox running smoothly though. Please don’t botch XHTML rendering – you’ve had ‘advance warning’ from enough people.

  85. Anonymous says:

    Please comment on your Web Forms strategy in light of the article below – will it be all XAML?

    Bill Gates is harping on about interoperability. How are you going about achieving this in the context of Web Forms? The whole thing looks like a debacle from where I’m sitting, and you seem to be forcing your own vision on everyone else as usual, without explaining technical superiorities, if any.

    Can I be assured that GPL/Free Software will be able to use whatever forms mechanism is adopted by the web, even if it is originated by MSFT?

  86. Anonymous says:

    Improved support for W3C standards will only make the web browser a better platform for application development and discourage developers from locking themselves into using XAML and other Microsoft-owned technologies. Microsoft knows this and that is why they stopped improving Internet Explorer’s standards support years ago.

    So try not to be disappointed when the beta of IE7 comes out and standards support still sucks. This is why Microsoft was so desperate to own the browser market in the first place: so they could control web standards. They won’t change until there is rioting in the streets and widespread abandonment of IE.

    Those who don’t want the web to stagnate should replace IE with a different browser and encourage others to do the same. When it comes to web standards, EX-customers are the only ones that Microsoft listens to.

  87. Anonymous says:

    I’m really afraid of this new IE because it will be very hard to make the websites compatible with IE7 and IE6!!! I think a lot of users will still use IE6 after IE7 will be released.

    Am i wrong?

  88. Anonymous says:

    I for one DON’T want tabbed browsing in IE. Tabbed browsing sucks when implemented badly like it is in Firefox. But I would like to see is more keyboard/mouse shortcuts and new behaviors to speed up browsing time.

    1. Opened windows MUST BE MAXIMIZED if the parent window was maximized. Maximizing is the first thing I do when I open a new window.

    2. Ability to MIDDLE-CLICK on a link to open it in a new window that is BEHIND the current window. That way my browsing task is not interrupted.

    3. Ability to open a new window with a TOOLBAR button.

  89. Anonymous says:

    I don’t believe you, it’s that simple. Microsoft have a long history of ignoring demands for better software to appease their own bottom line.

    If you can’t tell us what is going on then frankly, don’t blog at all. Saying ‘please please believe us when we say we’re listening’ is pointless, because no-one will. You work on a team whose product was responsible for convicting your company for monopolist practices. Honesty and humility will help you, this won’t.

    It is time for Microsoft and the IE team to put up or shut up. I strongly advise the former.

  90. Anonymous says:

    Why is there a job at Microsoft just for receiving feedback on IE, but no jobs on giving feedback back to community?

    People have asked to death about better standards support, printing support, UI features, security model improvements, etc. They are right to do so given IE’s terrible track record, but I will touch on accessibility.

    Why don’t we hear anything about about things like support for screen reader integration, or how you tackle making the browser colour-blind friendly, or how you plan to support keyboard-only users or mouse-only users?

    After all, one of the most exciting accessibility developments of recent times is mouse gestures, which can be easily mapped to movements on special sensor pads for the head/limb.

    The sad fact is you do an absolutely appalling job of documentation. You have no transparency. You don’t involve the community at all because you don’t interact honestly and frankly with them. All this is on top of a buggy, old, and generally poor product. It is no wonder that the arrogant, elitist responses on this blog by the IE developers provoke such anger, especially when IE is foisted, often unwillingly, upon people.

    This communication breakdown problem seems to be endemic in MS culture, but it is certainly worst and deepest (as far as I can tell from the blogs) in the IE team.

    If you want to create a real community around your product, you will have to participate and not dictate.

  91. Anonymous says:

    Feature request:

    A toolbar toogle button that lets you turn on and off the downloading of images.


  92. Anonymous says:

    Those are some good steps, but I’m afraid your product has a long way to go before it will be taken seriously by the industry. In particular, I am concerned about "private chats subject to Non Disclosure Agreement with our MVPs who provide valuable feedback." Why use NDAs to hide what goes on in these chats? I’m afraid that without total transparancy of the development process, and a GPL licence, your Internet Explorer program will never have more than a minor market share.

  93. Anonymous says:

    You obviously don’t listen very hard.

    Previous discussion on this blog talked about whether ALT text should display a tooltip. Obviously you’re not going to change your stance on this, but someone (however clueless their previous comments) made the observation that your own DHTML documentation uses neither ALT nor TITLE in its IMG example. This directly encourages sloppy coding and exacerbates accessibility difficulties.


    That was weeks ago, and it still hasn’t changed. No reason was given for it not changing.

    Doesn’t sound to me like the action of someone who listens.

  94. Anonymous says:

    Well it’s been nearly a week since the "big announcement"… and we don’t know anything more than we did then. You guys (and IE the product) are in a really important time right now… please keep blogging! I was really optimistic when I heard the announcement, so let’s keep the momentum going and let us know what’s going on! πŸ™‚

  95. Anonymous says:

    I would like to thank you guys (the development team) for four things:

    1. Letting me disable ActiveX.

    2. Letting me disable Windows Scripts.

    3. Good integration with the OS.

    4. Regularly releasing patches.

    However, I would like to make two negative statements:

    1. Your standards support offends every god of every religion on Earth.

    2. Your rendering engine crawls when compared to Gecko.

    Thank you.

  96. Anonymous says:

    Simple really,

    Follow standards.

    I am a web developer and I have to charge more for my designs as, in some circumstances, I charge by the hour. Simple page works in everything but IE. Spend an equal amount of time, on a simple page, getting it to work in IE.

    First result. The customer pays more for the website. Who suffers? Everyone except MS.

    Second result, every single person (and I mean everyone, individuals and businesses) I know now uses Firefox after seeing the difference on my computer. Who benefits? Everyone except MS.

    Please don’t just listen (which I don’t believe you are doing anyway – putting a very badly designed blog online is not listening), but act on what people are saying.

    It is pretty clear what people want and need.

  97. Anonymous says:

    IE7 already exists on Sourceforge. You should call it IE8.

  98. Anonymous says:

    1. FULL W3C and PNG compliance

    2. ActiveX requires some user intervention to run

    3. Don’t, as some previous posters have asked, implement some crazy homebrew HTML extensions like you did with marquee and that text glow effect. The proper way to get new extensions into HTML is via the W3C.

    IE is the biggest barrier to easy web design, and to be honest I think you’ll start seeing more and more sites that, rather then claiming to want IE, that will claim to want anything BUT IE. I think its safe to say that another non-standards compliant release will be another nail in IE’s coffin.

  99. Anonymous says:

    Its a pain working with IE, both as a web page designer and as a tech – on the tech side, too many times have people come in with problems with IE (security holes, ad-bars, hijacked home pages) and I’ve switched them over to firefox. Never had anyone call back to complain. The problem I see with any new version of IE, however feature-full, is that it will most likely be as hijackable and insecure as every single other version. Fix the security holes, devs… otherwise you have another lemon browser. Then again, if you write another buggy browser I’ll have more business coming into the store, so feel free to go nuts!

    Oh, and PLEASE SVG and PNG support… πŸ˜‰

  100. Anonymous says:

    Please add a full PNG(and SVG) support, <object type="text/html" /> with background trasparent πŸ˜‰

    If your team can add a great tool for DOM and CSS analysis …

    Last think "Why not a javascript debugger?"


  101. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for providing your job description – NOT. What a nice way to avoid actually DOING SOMETHING, like addrerssing the numerous actual questions that have been posed over and over and over again.

    HINT: Adherence to STANDARDS is one of them.

  102. Anonymous says:

    Here’s a minor cosmetic Bug in IE6 (and possibly 5?)…

    Try and load a page from a URL that you cannot connect to (e.g. your modem or DSL line is down) so that you get the IE "Cannot find server" page. This also becomes the title of the IE window.

    Now, establish the connection (e.g. dial the modem) and hit the Go button on the Address Bar.

    What I see is, I now get to the site and it loads and renders correctly, but the window title remains as "Cannot find server".

    This can be a problem when multiple browser windows are open, filling the Taskbar.



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