A web standards advocate has told Bill Gates that Microsoft's secrecy over the next version of Internet Explorer has alienated web developers.
Relations between developers and designers, and the team working on the upgrade to Internet Explorer (IE) 7.0 have become increasingly rocky, but developers' simmering discontent has recently boiled over. In comments attached to posts on the Microsoft blog dedicated to the browser, developers have chastised Microsoft for not following through on browser upgrade promises, for not supporting crucial web standards, and most of all, for not keeping them in the loop.
Molly Holzschlag, one of 10 influential bloggers who met with the Microsoft chairman this week, pressed the company's chairman to explain why the IE information spigot had been turned off. "Something seems to have changed where there is no messaging now for the last six months to a year going out on the IE team," Holzschlag said, according to a transcript she posted on her blog. "They seem to have lost the transparency that they had. "This conversation [between web developers and the IE team] seems to have been pretty much shut down, and I'm very concerned as to why that is."
"I'll have to ask [IE general manager] Dean [Hachamovitch] what the hell is going on," Gates replied. "I mean, we're not, there's not like some deep secret about what we're doing with IE."
"But they're not letting people talk about it," Holzschlag continued. "I do realise that there is a new engine, there is some other information, and this information is not being made public. We are being asked not to talk about it. So, I'm concerned about that."
"He was clearly surprised by the news," said Holzschlag. "You could see that from his reaction. And yes, he was angry. To me, he seemed very concerned that the message [between Microsoft and web developers] got broken."
Gates defended Hachamovitch as the dialogue between he and Holzschlag went on. "There's a paradox about disclosure, which is when you're far away from doing something you're super open; when you're very close to doing something you're open; when you're making your cut list of what you can do and not do, then particularly because - well..."