Wednesday, June 13, 2001 by Dave Winer.
On various mail lists, websites, newspapers and magazines, the discussion over Microsoft's Smart Tags continues. It's a great story, because for the first time press people have a clear picture of how Microsoft enters domains that previously were exempt from their control. Journalists can now feel, on a personal level, the full effect of Microsoft's dominance or monopoly in Web browsers. Have you been wondering what Microsoft would do once it controlled the browser? It's the old Embrace and Extend strategy, applied to e-commerce, literature, and journalism.
Of course they call it innovation, but I see it as a shutdown of the Web, as we've known it. A first step down a slippery slope that ends with us all writing for Microsoft, with no independence, no integrity, worldwide. This is something that even our conservative government might want to stop. Microsoft will not only be compromising free speech, but also will be empowered to insert their commercial messages into communication between vendors and their customers, in all product categories, not just software and services.
Further, this morning we learned that there is no way for a webmaster to opt-out. A user can smart-tag all sites, rendering any (expensive) effort to opt-out of the defacement pointless. (Details on Scripting News.)
Instead of smart tags, how about smart people?
I got creative and thought up a plan to start breaking free of Microsoft's control.
It goes like this.
What if every Friday were a Microsoft-free day for the Web? You can use MSIE any day but Friday. To give something back to the Web, if you want to read my site you would have to use Mozilla, Opera, OmniWeb, Lynx -- anything but Microsoft's browser. One day a week.
I'm running a survey on this idea.
(Free UserLand.Com membership required.)
What do you think?