It is perhaps the unlikeliest scenario any technologist could imagine as recently as two years ago: Microsoft evangelizing developers to embrace Web standards by helping it to build its Web browser. Although one of the first browsers to be distributed for free, Internet Explorer has never been open source. Historically, it’s always been ready when it’s ready; its value proposition has been to the consumer who prefers convenience over adaptability; and when the fact that it was dirt slow was pointed out, the response typically was, the consumer isn’t going to care.
Today, the value proposition started to take shape for IE9, the browser that in an earlier era didn’t need a value proposition. Microsoft’s strategy, which premiered today at MIX 10, was to seize control of tomorrow’s key talking point, HTML 5 compliance and compatibility — to make HTML 5 identifiable with Internet Explorer. In fact, IE General Manager Dean Hachamovitch’s greeting sentence to MIX 10 attendees this morning wasn’t without the term “HTML 5.”