Important note: In this blog, I speak on behalf of myself and myself alone. I am not involved in W3C activities at Opera, as my work is mainly outside the area of standards. For official statements from Opera Software ASA, please get in touch with our PR contacts or read our press releases. With that out of the way…
I have previously written about how there are signs that Microsoft may be trying to sabotage the EcmaScript 4 standard by using various dishonest tactics, such as misinformation and stalling. Imagine my surprise when, even at a time when it is under investigation for anti-competitive practices, Microsoft may be actively working to slow down the progress of other standards as well. …
I fully understand why it has been suggested that Microsoft may in fact be purely acting in a manner to slow down the group and the development of the CSS platform — it seems easy to come to the conclusion that you change your arguments every other month to counter whatever proposal is put forward.
Is this really what goes on behind closed doors? Is part of the CSS process being kept private to protect certain people or organizations?
As someone who would expect processes for open standards to actually be open, this does not make sense to me. Surely, there must be some kind of misunderstanding here? Surely there must be a good reason to keep things private beyond protecting a commercial entity from public scrutiny?
Unfortunately, L. David Baron of the Mozilla Corporation seems to confirm that there is something troubling going on behind closed doors. He left the private mailing list just a few days ago, and this is some of what he had to say (again, emphasis mine):
I believe the member-confidential nature of the group hurts the future development of CSS by making the group (…) get mired in debates and stalling tactics that companies would not be comfortable using in public.
He may of course be referring to someone else, but then again, Daniel Glazman has a blog post with a telling title which links to Baron's announcement above: "Mozilla, CSS WG, Microsoft"
It seems clear to me that his departure from the private mailing lists was triggered by Microsoft's actions, namely their constant attempts to undermine and sabotage open standards, and thus competition in the market.
Update: While there are certainly people at Microsoft who do care about standards, the management with their overall strategy for the company ultimately calls the shots. As Daniel Glazman himself points out in a recent blog post: "They do their best to represent their company's interests"
I personally understand why the company I work for chose to take this once in a lifetime opportunity to deal with Microsoft's anti-competitive practices by contributing to an antitrust process that is already underway here in Europe. Do you?