Microsoft plays the blame game fast and loose with Internet Explorer 10 and Windows 8

Yesterday, Microsoft made available the first public beta of Windows 8. The developer preview can be downloaded on the Microsoft website, and has received plenty of media coverage and has been the subject of much scrutiny and review. However, in our testing of Windows 8 for compatibility with NeoSmart software and products, we came across a rather, shall we say, interesting approach that Internet Explorer 10 now takes to its crashes. With Windows 8, as with previous versions, when an application hangs or crashes, an error reporting dialog is displayed prompting the user to select an action to take with the crashed program.

What’s different with Windows 8 and Internet Explorer 10 is that Microsoft chooses to deflect the blame from itself, and pin it instead on the unfortunate owners of the website that the user had last visited. In the following screenshot, Internet Explorer 10 has crashed after being unable to handle some of the web scripting on our website. Except instead of the error dialog you would expect (something to the effect of “Internet Explorer has stopped responding,” an error caption which we are all familiar with and of which the web is full), the error dialog instead reads:

neosmart.net is not responding.

Internet Explorer 10's lies and deceptions

Come again? Really? To us, this seems like a rather mean and dishonest approach to dealing with the shortcomings of the web browser. While it is true that at this moment in time, Internet Explorer is more prone to crashes and hangs than it would be in the final (RTM) release of Windows 8, this does not in any way give Microsoft the right to assume that in the future any hangs or crashes in IE are to be blamed on the designers/coders of the website being visited.

In fact, no code even if purposely meant to crash the browser should succeed in doing so, and certainly should not be held to blame. If Microsoft cannot make a crash-proof browser, that does not mean that they should dishonestly deflect and redirect the blame towards and innocent third party.

15 thoughts on “Microsoft plays the blame game fast and loose with Internet Explorer 10 and Windows 8

  1. Ultimately, I’d rather see which web site (and which IE browser window) is having problems than just a general “One of your IE processes just had a problem .. and good luck finding out which one).

    If it said, “Neosmart.net, running in IE ##” has encountered a problem … would that satisfy you?

    This is a good general direction overall.

  2. See, it’s the same issue – you need to analyze the grammar. In both the original and your version, Aaron, the subject of the sentence is the website (neosmart.net), while “running in IE” is simply a modifier. What would work is “Internet Explorer, while loading neosmart.net, has encountered a problem and is no longer responding.” That properly sets the blame and uses the website as it should be used – additional info and not the original source of mistake.

  3. It is a matter of perspective.

    If IE10 crashed or became unresponsive, it should detect this, report this to the user and kill its (hopefully child-) process.

    If however it is indeed the website that is unresponsive (this also happens frequently) the error message could be correct.

    IE10 should not crash because something is unresponsive though. That’s entirely IE10’s problem and that should also have been reflected in the error message. (IE10 because was unresponsive).

  4. There are three flaws with the somewhat condescending stance you unfairly subject IE to in this article.

    1: 99% of the time, when I’ve seen IE freeze, it is due to a long-running script on a website. This means that guess what – the website IS the cause of the unresponsiveness. “Stopped responding” and “stopped working” are 2 different things (if memory serves me correctly, the latter is what is displayed when an app actually crashes).

    2: This is simply a means of identifying which tab the problem occurred on. Remember, tab isolation is a good thing. Granted, it could perhaps be better-phrased in cases where it really is the browser’s fault.

    3: This behavior already exists in IE9, so it’s nothing new in Win8 / IE10.

    I’m not sure who’s being more “fast and loose” here. ;)

  5. Forget about the blame game bro and focus on adding back non-Windows OSs to the bootloader. You make awesome software, people will still come to your site, no matter who blames it for what.

  6. As a developer – I honestly wish MS would drop internet explorer altogether…

    I have to assign 2-3 days time purely on internet explorer debugging.

    Do everyone a favour MS – preinstall firefox instead!

  7. How will preinstalling Firefox 3 help you developers? Your problem is older versions, not IE. You should try some other solution like charging extra for it.

    Its not Microsoft’s problem that people are still stuck with old versions that give you nightmares, they’re sick of it themselves and want everyone to upgrade to IE9/10, a browser which is clearly better than that memory hog Firefox.

  8. Yea no kidding… Mozilla went downhill after 3. Chrome isn’t phenomenally better… IE has its faults too. People are just anti microsoft.. kinda stupid since it does have majority share of the market. Until you can get mainstream games on Linux I am sticking to it. IE10 and Windows 8 so far is hugely better in the way it manages things and so far I have yet to see a crash, even over 2008 server r2 and windows 7 both x64 variety.

  9. @PTB:
    You’re so right. I think 50% of the Windows users start the IE one single time to go to mozilla.com and download firefox. MS has to understand they are no longer competitive in the browser-game….

  10. “@PTB:
    You’re so right. I think 50% of the Windows users start the IE one single time to go to mozilla.com and download firefox. MS has to understand they are no longer competitive in the browser-game….”

    That is certainly not the case. If it was so Firefox will have 50% of marketshare. It doesn’t, Internet Explorer does. Stop believing in alternate reality.

  11. I like Windows 7. Generally, if one version of windows is good, then the next is not, vice versa.

    But this time, I am pretty sure that Windows 8 will be very good!

    Lets wait and see…

  12. I do not like Windows 7 set up as I find it incredibly messy and to have to type in the name or code for a program every time I want to use it is ridiculous. I can certainly appreciate that users who didn’t organize their folders, programs etc. into a nice list in Win 98 and XP would be happy with Windows 7. Yes, I know about the libraries, not the same as my own setup would be.

    I have looked at the Windows 8 beta and find the appearance of the desktop garish and ugly, at least right now. My first action would be to cover it up with a picture of some king.

    I don’t mind IE and have used it for years without a problem, however I don’t think it is fair if they blame a program or website for a browser problem. Maybe I have been fortunate, I have had very few browser problems.

    Love EasyBCD, saved my ‘life’ many times. Thank you

  13. moz sort of started this with their “report non-standards-compliant website” button.. in ff1? 1.5? or maybe this ‘command’ was only in a menu.
    I never used it. I have found sites with typos/garble in html source. If not too difficult to find webmeister’s email, I send an email.

  14. So you are a computer novice? Either that, or you would have known that this is also an issue with IE 9 on Windows 7.

    Geez.

  15. Ha ha Peter I think you are the computer novice.

    Only computer novice use IE 9 on Windoze 7

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