Microsoft Taps Evangelist to Push IE

After being criticized by pundits for resting on its laurels and letting its technology stagnate, Microsoft is reportedly reinvigorating the pace of Internet Explorer browser development.

Dave Massy, a technology evangelist at Microsoft has been reassigned to promote IE, which remains a fundamental part of the Windows operating system despite not having had a major revision since Windows XP was released nearly three years ago.

Windows XP Service Pack 2 breathes life into the browser, delivering a long-awaited configurable pop-up blocker, a new download manager to combat the growing threat of spyware, and support for P3P (Platform for Privacy) to inhibit intrusive tracking cookies from being unwittingly deposited on users' systems.


Otherwise, Microsoft is sticking to its June 2003 edict that no new standalone version of Internet Explorer will ship outside of a significant upgrade to Windows.

The next generation release of Internet Explorer is still slated to be included in Longhorn; Massy and his team are merely soliciting more public feedback.

Commenting on Microsoft's renewed interest in browser development and how it affects developers, Jupiter Research senior analyst Joe Wilcox wrote in his Web log, "As for software development, since Microsoft made IE part of Windows and exposed application programming (APIs) to developers, the company has an obligation to make sure its partners have the best technology. That's sound business practice and consistent with Microsoft's renewed focus on providing software developers with better tools."

While Internet Explorer has sat on the shelves at Redmond and taken the brunt of Microsoft's security woes, browser innovation has come not from Microsoft, but from the grassroots.

For instance, the Mozilla Foundation has been developing Firefox, what it deems as a faster and more secure alternative to IE - complete with additional productivity features such as tabbed browsing, as well as an extensive plug-in architecture. Likewise, Opera 7.50 risks a different take on the Web browser by integrating e-mail and IRC chat into browser windows.

"I just hope that competition isn't Microsoft's reason for putting more resources into IE (again, assuming misreporting or wishful thinking hasn't made something out of nothing). I'm not surprised that Longhorn evangelist Robert Scoble uses Firefox," commented Jupiter's Wilcox.

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