IE & tabbed browsing – what are the competition *really* doing to MS?

The amount of effort that MS has poured into tabbed browsing over the years – first denying its utility, then showing how you can do it with other IE-based browsers, and finally in actually implementing it in IE7 – makes me wonder what’s up in the minds of the competition, and all the “whiners”, who kept harping on the lack of tabs in IE [caveat: I like tabbed browsing as much as the next person]

At best, tabbed browsing is a “nice to have”, and if you *really* didn’t like that IE didn’t have it, I gotta wonder why you didn’t just go use another browser that *did* have tabs. I can see *some* legitimate reason for putting tabs in IE, but the effort that it generated on MSFT’s behalf I believe was disproportionate to the benefit of finally getting tabs in IE.

It reminds me of the times when the press are goaded into spending inordinate amounts of time reporting on trivial issues, giving the government or industry plenty of “cover” in which to execute much more controversial policies and decisions. Like implementing extreme policies while the press spends every waking moment wondering about Terry Schiavo, as one example.

Microsoft, you should watch out for what people are *really* doing while you’re not watching – while you’re being goaded into focusing all this attention on such a trivial implementation (even if some of your biggest customers are “demanding” tabbed browsing). At minimum, you’re being taunted into playing a game of catch-up with the competing browsers, and getting no more benefit from this than being able to claim “me too” on a feature that I believe is ultimately trivial. What major “big-bang” features do your competition get to deliver, while you’re playing me-too rather than implementing new features?

I know this sounds a bit paranoid, but it doesn’t mean it’s inaccurate…

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