Microsoft Says IE 8's Default Settings Will Comply With Web Standards

Internet Explorer 8 will ship with three configuration modes; the default one renders content using methods that give a top priority to Web standards interoperability.
Microsoft on Monday said it will configure the default settings in the upcoming Internet Explorer 8 browser to render content using methods that give a top priority to Web standards interoperability.

The software maker's initial plan was to use IE 7-compatible behavior as the default setting for IE 8, Ray Ozzie, chief software architect for Microsoft, said in a statement. "We have now decided to make our most current standards-based mode the default in IE 8," he said.

IE 8 will ship with three possible configuration modes. Besides the two listed above, a third option available is based on rendering methods dating back to the early Web. Microsoft last month said it would release IE 8 in beta no later than the end of June. Earlier versions of the browser have already passed the Acid2 test, which measures how well a browser works with current Web standards, Microsoft said.

In choosing to favor standards, Microsoft recognized a "concrete benefit to Web designers if all vendors give priority to interoperability around commonly accepted standards as they evolve," Ozzie said.

The announcement came less than a week after the European Commission imposed a record $1.35 billion antitrust fine against Microsoft. Without mentioning the EC decision, Brad Smith, Microsoft's general counsel, said there were no legal requirements behind the latest move.

"While we do not believe there are currently any legal requirements that would dictate which rendering mode must be chosen as the default for a given browser, this step clearly removes this question as a potential legal and regulatory issue," Smith said.

The European Commission said it imposed the fine after determining that Microsoft isn't living up to the terms of an antitrust settlement that followed a 2004 ruling in which the EC found that the company was engaging in anti-competitive behavior. The government body imposed the fine just days after Microsoft pledged to make it easier for rivals to build products to run on Windows and other Microsoft technologies.

Editor's Choice
James M. Connolly, Contributing Editor and Writer
Carrie Pallardy, Contributing Reporter
Shane Snider, Senior Writer, InformationWeek
Sara Peters, Editor-in-Chief, InformationWeek / Network Computing
Brandon Taylor, Digital Editorial Program Manager
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor
John Edwards, Technology Journalist & Author