UPDATE: I was wrong and I now feel I recommended the incorrect solution to the problem. After hearing back from many people more knowledgeable that I am, I think this is a better solution: http://www.billreiss.com/follow-up-to-webkit-for-ie-hint-i-was-wrong/
With all of the hype about HTML 5, it sounded like we were on the way to web development nirvana where as long as you coded to the HTML 5 spec, things would “just work”. This is a great idea and it would be true except for the fact that developers are not coding to the HTML 5 spec, they are making sure that their stuff works great with WebKit based browsers. You can’t blame them since Safari and Chrome use WebKit, and therefore a huge majority of their mobile users are on WebKit. The W3C sees the danger of this and is very concerned that WebKit could become the defacto standard.
Internet Explorer has made great strides, and they can claim that in some tests they beat out WebKit in support for standards, or that they have better performance in some areas (like with a virtual fishbowl). According to html5test.com, IE10 is still lagging in HTML5 standards support but it’s definitely getting closer.
I end up asking myself why Microsoft spends so much effort supporting a browser that still can’t become a clear leader in HTML 5 support. Microsoft’s insistence on continuing with a non-WebKit based browser, no matter what the supposed benefits are, is negatively impacting their users.
When it comes down to it, what does Microsoft gain from IE? I’m really not clear about this, and I’ve asked many other people inside and outside Microsoft about this, and I still have no idea. Even if there was a clear advantage, wouldn’t that advantage still be around if they built a version of IE on top of WebKit?
VHS beat BetaMax, even though BetaMax was considered by most to be the better technology. This happened again with HD-DVD and Blu-Ray. Microsoft was on the losing side of that battle, and now rumors are that the next XBox will have Blu-Ray. At this point it really doesn’t matter who has the superior technology, so even if Microsoft feels IE is technically superior, it’s too late.