Perpetual follower: Microsoft mulls Apple’s WebKit for Internet Explorer

“Addressing a developer conference in Sydney Australia, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said the idea of using WebKit as the rendering engine within its web browser was ‘interesting’ and added ‘we may look at that,'” Prince McLean reports for AppleInsider.

MacDailyNews Note: WebKit was originally derived by Apple Inc. from the Konqueror browser’s KHTML software library for use as the engine of Mac OS X’s Safari web browser. The WebKit framework is used by Omniweb, Shiira, iCab, Adobe AIR, Google Chrome, iPhone and other mobile phones, Nokia’s Series 60 browser, Google’s Android platform and Torch Mobile’s Iris Browser. As of September 2008, latest nightly builds of WebKit pass the Acid3 test with pixel-perfect rendering and no timing or smoothness issues on reference hardware.

McLean reports, “A student attendee “put Ballmer on the hot seat by asking, ‘Why is IE still relevant and why is it worth spending money on rendering engines when there are open source ones available that can respond to changes in Web standards faster?'”

“‘That’s cheeky, but a good question, but cheeky,’ Ballmer replied, according to a report by TechWorld. Ballmer explained that Microsoft would need to consider the future of the browser and determine if there is any lack of innovation for the company to capitalize upon with ‘proprietary extensions that broaden its functionality,'” McLean reports.

MacDailyNews Take: With “proprietary extensions that broaden its functionality” in order to lock-in users and/or web developers.

McLean continues, “‘There will still be a lot of proprietary innovation in the browser itself so we may need to have a rendering service,’ Ballmer said, adding, ‘Open source is interesting. Apple has embraced Webkit and we may look at that, but we will continue to build extensions for IE 8.'”

MacDailyNews Take: “We will continue to build extensions for IE 8” in an attempt to keep the sheep in the pen.

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “James W.” for the heads up.]

MacDailyNews Take: Apple leads. Microsoft follows. As usual.

MacDailyNews Note: Net Applications’ current October 2008 usage share figures for browsers accessing their network of over 40,000 websites:
• Microsoft Internet Explorer – 71.27% (vs. Oct. 2004: 85.78%)
• Firefox – 19.97% (vs. Oct. 2004: 9.10%)
• Safari – 6.57% (vs. Oct. 2004: 2.65%)


  1. RE: Govt. use of proprietary software

    In the 80’s I used to be part of an R&D;team that designed avionics equipment for the military. We were prohibited from using ‘sole source’ components in our designs because the govt. (wisely) didn’t want our warplanes grounded because one company went out of business. This policy had the beneficial effects of creating competition and jobs, but also demonstrated that public money wasn’t being spent to build any one companies empire.

    I contend that if publicly funded government websites require the use of one companies proprietary software, the government is violating the public trust and needs to be held accountable.

  2. @Jimithy,

    It’s not made up. He was in those old school McDonald’s commercials from the 1970’s with the Hamburgler.

    New job now – last one didn’t work out.

  3. Webkit and Safari are so amazingly fast and is the only browser that can pass the Acid3 test 100%. But why o why can’t it render the WYSIWYG controls in web based email? You can pass the most stringent web compliance test, but you can’t let me send a yahoo mail with bold text and embedded hyperlinks? C’mon!

  4. My faith in MS following a standard without attempting to bastardize it into their own proprietary format is minimal. They don’t want good products, they want market control.

  5. “So now I’ve installed XP on my Macbook — something I swore I’d never do.”

    Sometimes you need to put religious wars aside and just use the right software for the job you need to do. I guess you finally realized that.

  6. “You can pass the most stringent web compliance test, but you can’t let me send a yahoo mail with bold text and embedded hyperlinks?”

    Because the standard is defined by what IE does, not by what another organization hopes web browsers might do.

    Who cares about the Acid test? Safari etc should be coded to the 100% IE compatibility test.

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