Firefox seems to be unpopular with Microsoft

Microsoft's Office templates web-site appears to be a great resource for users of StarOffice and OpenOffice.org; as far as I can see (but I'm not a lawyer), you have the right to use the templates there, you just can't re-distribute them for profit (I found no special legal verbage to distinguish the rights of a Microsoft Office user versus that of other office suites).

But what I really wanted to share with you was a rather odd thing that happened when I was browsing some of the folders over lunch, looking for some inspiration for a template I wanted to create. Clicking through the folders, I opened the Marketing Materials folder of the Templates site.

Now for the strange bit... I happened to browse this section with Mozilla and then shortly after view it with Firefox, my everyday browser. if you view this page with Firefox you only see 1 template (one for your word-processor called "Request for permission to reprint article"). If you view the same page with Mozilla, you see 12 templates. Maybe some of you would like to try this in Internet Explorer.

I hope this is just a bug in the microsoft.com web-site; I would hate to think that someone there doesn't like Firefox ;)

Update: Some comments pointed out that other browsers seem to be broken, such as Konqueror. Just to try to get to the bottom of this, I tried some other browsers:

  • IE 6.028 shows all 12 templates (yay)
  • Netscape 7.2 does not show any warning on the page, but like Firefox it also only shows 1 template
So it appears that the missing content has nothing to do with the microsoft.com "unsupported browser" warning - very odd.

Final update: One commenter notes that "MSIE 6.0.2900.2180.xpsp_sp2_rtm.040803-2158 shows only 1 template", so it seems that the open-source browsers are not alone in being rejected. I guess we can assume there is some rather broken code for browser type/version checking running on that site; it breaks even on a micro revision of the browser. Just one more reason why we should cry out for open W3C standards.

Comments:

i see 12 in firefox(1.0 win2k) and 12 in the latest version of IE(win2k) but on firefox(1.0 mac osx 10.3.6) only one template shows...hmph...

Posted by stephen on November 11, 2004 at 10:54 PM PST #

I'm using Mozilla 1.4, and I tried the Firefox test with the 1.0PR. Based even on the feedback so far, there is definitely some oddness going on there.

Posted by Colm Smyth on November 11, 2004 at 10:58 PM PST #

1 for Firefox 1.0/Linux and 1 for Konqueror 3.3

Posted by Dario Spagnolo on November 11, 2004 at 11:16 PM PST #

I see only 1 with MSIE 6.0 and Firefox 1.0 but it has the decency to display a warning "Warning: You are viewing this page with an unsupported Web browser. This Web site works best with Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.01 or later or Netscape Navigator 6.0 or later". Please rephrase your entry to better reflect the reality instead of spreading FUD and accusing Microsoft of everything.

Posted by Anonymous on November 11, 2004 at 11:18 PM PST #

Thanks for your comment, however I'm not spreading FUD ;) I'm simply highlighting a very specific demonstrable issue that only seems to affect a small number of pages (to my knowledge) on the microsoft.com site. Web server bugs that affect different browsers generally only reflect the \*rendering\* of content, but here we are seeing \*content\* that is completely missing. That is either a technical error, or it is a deliberate withholding of content; I can't judge which it is, that's why I am simply reporting the error that I see. It is my hope that Microsoft will take Firefox and Mozilla seriously; in fact, based on your experience, I think they should do something to address a recent version of their own browser!

Posted by Colm Smyth on November 11, 2004 at 11:33 PM PST #

Don't worry about it, looks like they seem to be workin the problem. It's not like stuff like this hasn't happened before (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opera_(browser)#Opera_and_MSN)

Posted by Anonymous on November 12, 2004 at 12:30 AM PST #

Don't worry about it, looks like they seem to be workin the problem. It's not like stuff like this hasn't happened before (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opera_(browser)#Opera_and_MSN)

Posted by Anonymous on November 12, 2004 at 12:41 AM PST #

...FireFox, Apache, Linux, OpenOffice, Google... Microsoft sure will do everything it can to stay on top. Have you tried their new search engine? Try "more evil than Satan" there and look what comes out first. Yep, it's deliberate. As is this. I hope the user-agent switcher extension can help there, at least until Microsoft finds a way to extend their web pages with proprietary DRM.

Posted by rmalafaia on November 12, 2004 at 01:04 AM PST #

Update your entry. MSIE 6.0.2900.2180.xpsp_sp2_rtm.040803-2158 shows only 1 template.

Posted by Anonymous on November 12, 2004 at 02:44 AM PST #

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