Earlier this year, Microsoft lost a landmark case against a little company called Eolas. Eolas had sued Microsoft for infringing on a patent it had that allows Web browsers to display some content on a Web page. Big Redmond has been ordered to pay some US$520 million in damages to Eolas, but more importantly, Microsoft is moving on a way to work around this patent in an update to Internet Explorer 6 for Windows.
This situation has caused a modest uproar in the Internet community, as Eolas has been accused of patent squatting to make a buck. Indeed, normally anti-Microsoft voices have been singing a chorus of support for the company in the name of open standards and an open Web. Be that as it may, the fact is that Microsoft is changing the way content like QuickTime, ActiveX Controls, Java, and Macromedia Flash is displayed in IE for Windows. Because of this, Apple has released a set of guidelines to help Web developers cope with the changes, especially with QuickTime content. From Apple:
In early 2004, Microsoft will make changes available for its Internet Explorer browser for Windows. The changed Internet Explorer for Windows handles active content, such as QuickTime, Macromedia Flash, Java and other ActiveX controls in a new way. Rather than automatically rendering and displaying active content, the updated browser prompts the user to confirm each active content item on a page. Not all Web sites will be affected by the upcoming changes to Internet Explorer for Windows. Your Web site may be affected if it features active content that is contained in an HTML web page using <object> ,<embed> , or <applet> tags. This document describes changes that can be made to the way web pages are coded, so that webmasters, Web site owners, businesses, and individuals can ensure their Web sites will continue to provide a similar experience for all visitors no matter what browser they are using
You can find more information in the following three documents:
- Preparing Web sites with Active Content for Upcoming Changes to Internet Explorer for Windows
- Authoring Web sites for Compatibility with Internet Explorer for Windows FAQ
- Creating the Best User Experience for Active Web Content
Thanks to the numerous Observers who wrote to us about these documents.