Developers open fire on IE Mobile 6 browser

Two months after Microsoft announced the availability of emulators and documentation for the Internet Explorer Mobile 6 browser, poised for release across new devices based on the software giant's Windows Mobile operating system, there is growing frustration within the developer community over the perceived failings of the browser. "Until the Windows Mobile team gets their act together and at the very least makes IE6 Mobile a downloadable upgrade for all existing WM6 phones, I'm switching browsers to Opera Mobile. IE has been banished from my phone," writes software consultant Robert McLaws on his Windows Now blog, as noted in a NetworkWorld feature. "Microsoft may be content to let Mozilla and Apple kick their butt in the mobile space, but that doesn't mean that I have to be caught in the middle."

As McLaws points out, the software community has been waiting on Microsoft to release a full-fledged mobile browser for about four years--in September 2008, the firm began quietly notifying partners it would be forced to delay the much-anticipated Windows Mobile 7 operating system until the second half of this year. Developers are balking in response to the prospect of settling for IE Mobile 6, a new browser based on a vintage OS: "I don't want to sound harsh, but bringing the engine of Internet Explorer 6 back from 2001 doesn't seem like a good deal to me," writes "igalan" at the Windows Mobile Team Blog. "It's much better than what we have now, sure, but it pales in comparison with Opera 9.5 (available now on many HTC devices and Sony Xperia). It doesn't make much sense to me asking developers to download this engine and test their current 2008-2009 code against a 2001 browser and bringing back the problems we had with it."

For more on the growing developer dissent:
- read this NetworkWorld article