In a statement today, Opera Software ASA welcomed Microsoft Corp.'s "quick backtracking on denying millions of Opera users access to their main Web portal, MSN." Microsoft's abrupt change of mind came after hostile reactions were reported in the media from many Opera users who had tried to access the site, according to Opera CEO Jon S. von Tetzchner.
Microsoft claimed that Opera users were denied entry because the Opera browser "doesn't support the latest XHTML standard." However, Tetzchner said, "Opera's XHTML standard is of the highest quality."
"In fact, Opera is internationally acclaimed and renowned for its strict compliance with all international Internet standards," he said. " Maybe Microsoft should take a look at its lack of respect for the World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) international Internet standards before bad-mouthing others."
What's more, the Opera CEO said that the irony of Microsoft's claim to standards-support "is complete when you check the MSN.com site for compliance with the XHTML standard." Go to the W3C's standards validation service, type in "www.msn.com," and the document returned "demonstrates clearly that not a single document on their site adheres to W3C specifications, and many of their documents do not use XHTML at all (e.g. http://careers.msn.com/), Tetzchner said.
"This is not the first time Microsoft has tried to deny Opera users entry," he continued. "Before, Microsoft has tried to keep Opera users out from its IIS-servers by excluding Opera from the browsercap.ini set-up files. That would exclude Opera users from any Web sites running on Microsoft's server solutions."
What's more, Tetzchner said that Opera Software sees Microsoft's latest behavior as a "sign of their acknowledgement of Opera as a valid threat to its dominance." In the last year, over six million copies of the Opera browsers have been successfully downloaded and installed from Opera's Web site by Windows users, he said.
And, of course, there are also Opera Web browsers for the Mac. In fact, on Oct. 18, Opera released Opera 5.0 for Mac OS X Beta 2, which lets you "show your support" and register the beta for US$39.
Or you can download the browser for free if you don't mind the presence of a small ad banner. In addition to some bug fixes, Opera 5.0 for Mac OS X Beta 2 also offers users the ability to search bookmarks, auto-fill forms and filter cookies.
Opera 5.0 for Mac OS X Beta 2 supports the following World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) standards: 128-bit encryption, TLS 1.0, SSL 2 and 3, CSS1 and CSS2, XML, HTML 4.01, HTTP 1.1, ECMAScript, DOM and WAP/WML. And it has search features that let you move between several popular search engines, and search for terms, domain names or stock quotes.