The Swedish Chef Goes After Microsoft
Oslo, Norway - Feb 14, 2003
Two weeks ago it was revealed that Microsoft's MSN portal targeted Opera users, by purposely providing them with a broken page. As a reply to MSN's treatment of its users, Opera Software today released a very special Bork edition of its Opera 7 for Windows browser. The Bork edition behaves differently on one Web site: MSN. Users accessing the MSN site will see the page transformed into the language of the famous Swedish Chef from the Muppet Show: Bork, Bork, Bork!
In October 2001, Opera users were blocked from the MSN site. The event caused an uproar among Web users and MSN was forced to change their policy. However, MSN continues a policy of singling out its Opera competitor by specifically instructing Opera to hide content from users.
"Hergee berger snooger bork," says Mary Lambert, product line manager desktop, Opera Software. "This is a joke. However, we are trying to make an important point. The MSN site is sending Opera users what appear to be intentionally distorted pages. The Bork edition illustrates how browsers could also distort content, as the Bork edition does. The real point here is that the success of the Web depends on software and Web site developers behaving well and rising above corporate rivalry."
MSN now allows access to users of Opera 7, but is still targeting and sending users of earlier versions a broken page. This treatment is completely unnecessary, as the page would look the same in Opera as in Microsoft's own Internet Explorer if it had been fed the same information.
"We are working hard to make sure the Opera browser works well on all Web pages, even those that do not follow the Web's standards to the letter," says Hakon Wium Lie, CTO, Opera Software. "But it becomes impossible when we are targeted and fed distorted pages that don't work in any browser. It's like putting a moose in the blender -- a recipe for disaster! Microsoft should clean up their act on MSN and their other Web sites."
For more technical documentation, see the article Why doesn't MSN work with Opera?
Opera 7.01 for Windows in Bork can be downloaded from ftp.opera.com.
Some people have too much time on their hands.