Korea is Microsoft’s favourite country

Back when the antitrust complaint was first filed, our Open the Web guy David Storey commented that "Korea is a perfect example of a country that almost solely designs for IE bugs and Active-X". …

In an earlier post, he also talks about the sad state of the Web in Korea:

Korea is a quite unique market in that they have very advanced devices and one of the highest take up rates of broadband internet access in the world, yet Internet Explorer has a huge market share in Korea, so almost every site I've tested is designed and tested for IE and Windows only, without use of web standards. This causes big problems for every other browser and platform, including Firefox, Safari and ourselves.

In other words, Korea is a scary example of how Microsoft's vision would have played out if there was no one around to hold them back.

For those who think this is of no real harm, consider that Korea is one of the most developed countries in the world when it comes to network infrastructure. It's a very important mobile market! But Microsoft's stranglehold on the desktop side means that they also get to muscle in onto the mobile market.

Once again, Microsoft has abused its position in the desktop market to prevent competition in another market. What good is a mobile browser if it doesn't work on any sites because they all rely on proprietary Microsoft technologies?

So if you thought that Microsoft has stopped using dirty tactics, think again. Given the chance, as they were in Korea, they will apparently happily continue their "embrace, extend and extinguish" strategy.

Microsoft's marketing machinery tries to paint a picture of a reformed company, but their actions now and in the future will speak for themselves. Considering the situation in Korea, one can not help but remain suspicious.

The situation in Korea shows what happens if one does not put real force behind one's demands towards Microsoft.

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6 thoughts on “Korea is Microsoft’s favourite country

  1. This "Korea is a perfect example of a country that almost solely designs for IE bugs and Active-X" has nothing to do with this – "Korea is a scary example of how Microsoft's vision would have played out if there was no one around to hold them back."Sounds like major FUD if nothing more – schoolboy logic. —I.E bugs are irrelevant. Any platform has its quirks. Ask anyone who writes portable code. If the web design folks are hurting their little fingers coding around IE bugs then they can gladly handover their jobs to other people that will get the job done. The entire web is a mess, <= 10% of the web is standards compliant. IIRC think ars technica put it at 4%. But I'm willing to take 10%. Also, Each and _every_ browser tries to provide technologies that will lock-in users to their browser. Why did Opera choose to develop their own plugin API? Why not reuse the one from Mozilla. After all you want to lock-in people to Opera. Right? Also its common sense that standards hurt the market leaders. If you need a committee vote before developing standards, then every member is going to be representing each of the major browsers/corps and they will veto any change which their party isnt ready to ship yet. Design-by-commitee only works for specific things. It isn't a general solution. Yes it sucks to let MS win all the time, but I'd imagine Netscape did the same thing adding their own tags to HTML in the 'first' browser race.I don't have anything nice to say about MS. They blow. But doesn't mean your post is of any relevance either…

  2. Originally posted by Ol-a:

    Sounds like major FUD if nothing more – schoolboy logic.

    And this arguments sounds like a combined red herring/ad hominem. Please try to come up with something which is valid and of relevance.

    I.E bugs are irrelevant. Any platform has its quirks.

    IE bugs are not irrelevant because IE is the dominant browser. And rather than Microsoft fixing them, it is other browsers and Web developers that have to work around them. This costs a lot of time and money. IE's bugs combined with proprietary technologies and undocumented features is a large part of what caused the lock-in, and the halted development of the Web for several years.

    Why did Opera choose to develop their own plugin API? Why not reuse the one from Mozilla.

    This is also a red herring. But as a matter of fact, Opera uses the NPAPI plugin API from Netscape.If you are referring to widgets, Opera is heavily involved in creating an open standard for widgets. Furthermore, widgets themselves are based on Web technologies (open standards).

    The entire web is a mess, <= 10% of the web is standards compliant.

    Indeed, and that's thanks to a company which had a strategy to use lock-in, and still does, as is evident form their sabotage of ECMAScript 4 (because of Silverlight apparently) and their stalling tactics behind closed doors in the CSS working group.

    Design-by-commitee only works for specific things.

    Design on a whim doesn't really work. The security nightmare caused by Microsoft is evidence of that. If you get people together to discuss things, you can highlight more aspects to make sure you have covered everything.If Microsoft hadn't actively sabotaged and stalled open standard work, it would have progressed much faster.

    I don't have anything nice to say about MS. They blow. But doesn't mean your post is of any relevance either…

    My post is highly relevant because it shows what happens when Microsoft gets its dominance in a market. I didn't even mention the security nightmares Korea have been having because of their IT monoculture…Now, most of your comment didn't really have anything to do with the blog post. Please try to stay on-topic, and avoid red herrings and personal attacks.

  3. Yes, my post was partially off topic. I read a couple of your posts and replied to only one. Sorry for that."IE's bugs combined with proprietary technologies and undocumented features is a large part of what caused the lock-in, and the halted development of the Web for several years."Sorry this doesn't hold up IMHO. IE still is/was a major player and if their implementation had bugs (regardless of state of standards) people would still be forced to create IE compatible web pages. So, yes the obvious point here is that standards are only useful if people actually use/implement them. Which again goes back to the design-by-commitee problem. I see a analogy here of OpenGL vs DirectX. MS just worked with two manufacturers of GFX cards and blew opengl out of the water comming in from behind. I see that as a success of NOT using the commitee design route. Yes there are many examples on BOTH sides, and in the end I would probably side with the design-by-commitee for web standards. But my point is I don't fault MS for not choosing to play the game, because they can only loose from doing that. "happens when Microsoft gets its dominance in a market. I didn't even mention the security nightmares Korea have been having because of their IT monoculture…"How so? They could have chosen to use a non Active-X MS solution too. Your use of ActiveX to people who cant read your mind shows that because active-x brings up instant shudders in the mind of most ppl familiar with its crappy bugs (which ms might or might not have solved – i dont know) Korea using Active-X implies that choosing a MS solution is always a bad idea. (again, unproven)I think you have enough firepower against MS & that you don't need to 'invent' new means of attacking them. I know for a fact that a display of zealotry (which is how I interpret this and earlier posts on MS) instantly turns off neutral people who might otherwise be sympathetic to your cause. You will attract the "slashdot crowd" no doubt, but that's not necessarily a net gain.

  4. Originally posted by Ol-a:

    Sorry this doesn't hold up IMHO. IE still is/was a major player and if their implementation had bugs (regardless of state of standards) people would still be forced to create IE compatible web pages.

    You are not really responding to my point. I pointed out that this is not just about bugs. Court documents from previous cases also shows that Microsoft willfully and consciously introduced incompatibilities to cause lock-in, and prevent competitors like Netscape from gaining a foothold. There will always be bugs, but simple bugs are something entirely different from conscious efforts to cause lock-in.

    So, yes the obvious point here is that standards are only useful if people actually use/implement them. Which again goes back to the design-by-commitee problem.

    When it comes to a global network which is supposed to be accessible from all sorts of browsers on all sorts of devices, it goes without saying that one needs to come to an agreement in order for this to work.Standards are being implemented, used, and actively worked on. Mozilla, Opera and Apple are actively working to implement the Web standards of the future, such as HTML5 and CSS3. It takes time because there are a lot of things to cover, things that would have been missed if it was designed by a single entity. This includes security concerns.

    I see a analogy here of OpenGL vs DirectX. MS just worked with two manufacturers of GFX cards and blew opengl out of the water comming in from behind. I see that as a success of NOT using the commitee design route.

    It is not a success if it causes lock-in and prevents competition. You could equally well see this as undermining the open process by redirecting resources to proprietary technologies. Like with Web standards, had Microsoft not redirected most efforts towards proprietary solutions, we would have been much further along today.

    But my point is I don't fault MS for not choosing to play the game, because they can only loose from doing that.

    I fault Microsoft for breaking the law, and consciously trying to create lock-in and undermine competition in the market. I fault people and companies for breaking the law. Why shouldn't I? One has to take responsibility for one's actions. I can't see why Microsoft shouldn't have to do that as well.

    How so? They could have chosen to use a non Active-X MS solution too. Your use of ActiveX to people who cant read your mind shows that because active-x brings up instant shudders in the mind of most ppl familiar with its crappy bugs (which ms might or might not have solved – i dont know) Korea using Active-X implies that choosing a MS solution is always a bad idea.

    Choosing a closed, proprietary solution on a network or service which is supposed to be open is indeed always a bad idea. The Web is not the Microsoft Network, even though Microsoft's strategy was to make it so.I didn't bring up ActiveX either. I quoted someone who did. And it just so happens that ActiveX is exactly what's causing problems in Korea. This includes huge security problems.

    I think you have enough firepower against MS & that you don't need to 'invent' new means of attacking them.

    I am not inventing anything. I am conveying factual information. And if you read my previous blog posts, such as the ECMAScript 4 farce and the underhanded tactics Microsoft has employed in the CSS Working Group, you will realize that the truth about Microsoft's attitude and actions is far worse than most people seem to realize.When someone resigns from the CSSWG because they are sick and tired of Microsoft's stalling tactics behind closed doors, it goes without saying that something is seriously wrong.

  5. Well as a software engineer working in Korea I would have to say a few things.First of all IE dominace in Korea is not just Microsoft's fault. As a matter of fact lots of entities need to be blamed for IE dominace in Korea.The major reason for the dominace is overuse of ActiveX technology and laws forcing the use of the security technology based on ActiveX on online banking and commerce sites.This came about before 128bit SSL was born and Korea developed their own security protocol which needed to be implemented someway. Unfortunately ActiveX technology seemed like a feasible and simple solution at the time so it was implemented with ActiveX. Also supported by the law enforcing the use of the security technology, it became inevitable that people are locked into IE.I use Firefox as my main browser but if I want to purchase something or do my banking online, I need to go back to IE.Ironically, Windows Mobile devices cannot do online banking either since ActiveX modules that are distributed currently are only built for X86 and you need one for ARM to use on Windows Mobile.Although there are web design issues also, it is simpler to solve. The bane of the current IE dominace is Active X.Even MS is not advocating the use of ActiveX but Korea is deeply infected with the technology it cannot escape.There have been many movements recently to change the law so at least the banking and online commerce can be done with other web browsers but there hasn't been a major breakthrough yet.But I believe it will change eventually since there are lots of people who agrees that we should use a common standard so we could have the freedom to use any web browsers on the market.

  6. Thanks for the "inside info", coderiff :)Yeah, I did mention mobile phones in the blog, so it does indeed seem that Microsoft has shot itself in the foot there.

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