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Will Microsoft add SVG support to Internet Explorer in the near future?

Sunday, January 10th, 2010

Microsoft has applied to join the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Scalable Vector Graphics working group. I would say ten years to late, but they did it. So will all the examples on this site work in Explorer soon. I hope, but I fear not. Let’s explain that to you.

Animated SVG Logo Webonomic

One of the reasons I write critically about Microsoft is that they’re trying to slowdown internet innovation, probably best illustrated by the so called Embrace, extend and extinguish strategy, which had the purpose to extend open standards with proprietary capabilities, and then using those differences to disadvantage its competitors.

As a consequence, and another big reason I don’t like Microsoft, they push the time and costs of developing websites by approximately 40%. Simply because you have to write your JavaScript twice, can’t use modern CSS and lose a lot of time fixing lay-out bugs. That’s the price the world is paying for the Microsoft dominance in the browser market. Other estimations go about 20-30%, the well know Dutch developer PPK on quirksmode “Want a site that works perfectly in IE6? Fine, but it’ll cost you about 20 to 30% extra.”. (Costs of JavaScript libraries are excluded here).

I think Microsoft used that strategy and I think they were successful. Actually Microsoft stopped developing their browser form 2001 till 2007. Second thought: there is only one way that Microsoft will change that strategy, loss of market share. That didn’t really happen, at least not on a big scale, seems that most consumers don’t even know the word browser, Explorer worked out of the box, the blue e on your windows desktop was a synonym for internet, and Opera or Firefox a program for hackers or activists. Most sites used Activex, or other proprietary JavaScript, so a lot of sites didn’t work in Opera, actually they were designed (deliberately) to only work in Internet Explorer.

Now Google (and to a lesser extent Apple) entered the browser-market, things are starting to change. At least the web is gonna change: sites do not longer contain information, they contain applications.

And when you use web-applications, you don’t need them as a stand-alone program. That’s the danger for Microsoft. It’s not new, it has always been there and Microsoft knew. That’s why they made their browser `a critical part of their operating system`, technically nonsense, but they reached their goal. I took the EC a few years to refute that claim, a few years Microsoft made a lot of money.

Why didn’t Microsoft embrace SVG earlier. Well they developed Vector Markup Language (VML) during the nineties. That didn’t became a standard, so I guess they decided to stop doing anything for 5 years. Now Microsoft gained some substantial marketshare with Silverlight, a Flash/SVG comparable technology, which it’s used a lot for streaming Media lately, they probably think let’s join the SVG working group to – these are my wordssee if we can slowdown their activities.

Will we see SVG support in Explorer 9. I bet not!


I was totally wrong. There is SVG support in Explorer 9.

I can take my loss, it makes me happy to see Microsoft embrace webstandards 🙂