I'm not going to go into too many details here, but I just wanted to point out that Opera has filed a complaint with the European Union against Microsoft for "...tying its browser...to the Windows operating system" and for "...hindering interoperability by not following accepted Web standards." The article goes into all kinds of the same old anti-trust stuff, but it also mentions that Microsoft's technology "creates a de facto standard that is more costly to support, harder to maintain, and technologically inferior and that can even expose users to security risks."
This is tremendous huge win for anyone who 1) has respect for the web, 2) don't like segmenting QA plans to including an entire segment to IE support testing, or 3) likes to have a little self respect left over after a pure-AJAX project. For years I've been saying that someone needs to take the IE team up on war crimes, but this filing by Opera is definitely a step in the right direction. Perhaps someday we web developers will have the freedom to create rich client-side applications without having to add special support for the world's most "special" browser.
It's just absolutely unacceptable that someone that can infuse such a product into the world's information infrastructure and think they can get away with it. If the WCF team had the same quality-control standards as the IE team, then SOAP would never, ever communication with anything. If the networking stack guys had the that low of standards, can you even imagine trying to communicate between a "Microsoft TCP/IP" client and and Apache server? Microsoft is an excellent company with great products and amazing standards, but the IE team seems to be absolutely against these things. Sometimes people seem to forget that the word "standards" isn't just a word meaning "common, same, or basis for comparison", but that it also refers to a certain level of quality. I've said it before and I'll say it again: the IE team has no standards (I feel a bumper-sticking coming on!)
Do yourself and the world a favor by downloading and supporting Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, or Opera. Each of these are proper 7th generation web browsers, unlike Intranet Explorer whose existence is analogous to those half dead, temporary batteries that sometimes come with your kid's toys. They are meant to be replaced. So, if you are getting someone a computer for Christmas, give them the gift of one of these web browsers so they don't have to drag their muddy feet all over the Internet.