Working together for standards The Web Standards Project

Reading through an article about Microsoft in Business Week, I was not shocked but oh so enraged by this bit from an interview with CEO Steve Ballmer:

“We won the desktop. We won the server. We will win the Web. We will move fast, we will get there. We will win the Web.”

In the past months, WaSP and Microsoft have been working together in the trenches to improve standards support in Microsoft products. While this is certainly a very positive move on Microsoft’s part, critics of both Microsoft and WaSP have pointed out Microsoft’s long history of aggressive business practices and ideologies. As a member of the WaSP / Microsoft Task Force, I’m extremely confident that the developers we’re working with get it and it’s been my take to separate Microsoft business practices and ideologies from the day-to-day software development work. And I stand by that perspective.

What I cannot stay silent about when reading these words is how blatantly uncaring a statement this is. How ignorant and arrogant and just plain wrong.

The Web is not a prize to be won, and Mr. Ballmer’s attitude is deplorable in the light of what the Web means to the world, to users, to designers and developers and to put it into Microsoft parlance, customers.

The Web belongs to everyone. The Web’s core vision and value is to be platform independent. Microsoft has no right to think it can win a tool that is for the people, of the people, and ultimately – by the people.

No Mr. Ballmer, Microsoft will not win the Web for one very good reason: We the people will make sure you never do.

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