I was looking through history of HTML following a article on iphone and its role to evolve web. During the process I found another article that defines some dates on HTML standard. you can read that article here (http://www.yourhtmlsource.com/starthere/historyofhtml.html#1.0)
To my surprise, HTML v2.0 was standard until 1997. I was amazed to read that. Later in 1998, we have HTML version 4.00. But why we follow HTML 2.0 until 1997? Well the answer goes to history of firefox, Netscape navigator the Browser of that time, which start losing its ground against IE 5. IE 5 not include most of HTML 4.0 standard but is certainly better with its ability to correct HTML errors left by developer.(Remember that forgot TD in HTML code mess the page in navigator?).
Later in year 2001, when web was not very much evolve and market was recovering from IT SLOW down, microsoft dare to release IE 6, which help market gain some momenutum. But do we expect a Commerical company to invest heavily during that time? I guess no, so does microsoft might have done. They just make improvement to existing IE version and release a new browser for their upcoming Windows XP. Microsoft rules the market in web during that time, nobody knows of GOOGLE. So do microsoft has to follow HTML standard or should it follow what help them better user experience? I guess what microsoft does is good.
But certainly most techincal people doesn’t like that specially if they are annoyed with Windows ME bugs. Also the netscape is looking someway to defeat IE in web browser. Later in year 2004 they get a chance when people around the world start to learn of OPEN SOURCE Browser Firefox. Wow, it was after almost 6 years of defining web standard and 3 yrs after IE 6 they start ground again IE 6. However the main idea of Firefox is not to provide better option for client but to provide “Alternative” to Microsoft product. This was reflected in their advertisements as well. Even surprisingly they use that techinque even today when they are the LEADER in web browser.
When you install IE version it never ask to import data from other browser, but when you install Firefox or Chrome, they both ask to import ONLY from IE. Surprisingly my last install of Chrome doesn’t ask me to import data from Firefox, which is most used browser of that time. Do they have answer for it?
Microsoft is a commerical company not a charity foundation that give free software and then ask for donation? It create a product and sell it. Though in today’s world user mean nothing but “better” options. They are not friend of any product. Lately I discover Firefox render page differently on MAC then compare to windows or Linux box, now shall I start hate firefox ? This is what happen with MS. Even if Firefox is open source how many User of firefox actually download it’s source code and compile Firefox ? I guess it is less than 1-2% of how many users are using Firefox in their daily life.
Internet explorer with its market share get relaxed and fall behind on standard and with non coorporate users are taking more of web they fall the ground. As a web developer I see problems with 2-3 browser having almost equal share in market, we prefer one browser of any brand any standard. But as user I don’t mind using any browser they are good for one and bad for other.