I shat on Opera yesterday, and I did the same thing to Mozilla a couple years ago, and while I’m not about to go headlong into another tirade on Microsoft, I do have to point out why this contest out of Microsoft Australia is, actually, as stupid as it sounds (contrary to what they’d have you believe).
First, my memory isn’t so short as to have forgotten that it was Microsoft and their browser (Internet Explorer 6) that held back the web for so many years.
Second, promoting a contest that is based on the very same problem that lead to IE6 stifling innovation on the web is not just in poor taste, but surpasses the height of cynicism — just as Microsoft is trying to be perceived as an increasingly productive “web citizen”.
To reiterate my point, making entry to the contest contingent upon using Internet Explorer 8 not only limits participation to Windows users, but suggests that designing pages to favor IE8 over other browsers is somehow okay, or condoned by Microsoft — completely antagonistic to their recent successes in supporting web standards in the browser!
Here’re the relevant rules of the contest (again, emphasis mine):
- To enter the competition, the entrant must follow clues released by @Tengrand_IE8 on Twitter and on www.tengrandisburiedhere.com. The clues section on www.tengrandisburiedhere.com is only viewable in Internet Explorer 8. These clues will lead the entrant to the hidden webpage.
- The hidden webpage can only be viewed in Internet Explorer 8. The entrant must have download Internet Explorer 8 to successfully view the hidden webpage. Upon discovery of the hidden webpage, the entrant must register his/her details, via the hidden webpage ‘Claim’ button.
Third, spending $AUD10,000 seems like a complete waste of money when it could have been put towards promoting web standards by basing the contest on building some sweet non-Silverlight, non-IE8-specific web application. But no, they chose not to seize that opportunity.
Yes, this really is as stupid at it sounds.
On the upside, here’s an awesome CC-licensed graphic by John Martz that, in the spirit of this contest, you could serve to all your IE6 visitors to remind them how out of touch their browser vendor can be (click for full size):