Microsoft Versus
Dissecting Microsoft | Directory


Microsoft was a founding member of the OpenGL architecture review board. In February of 2003 Microsoft announced its departure from the standards body. Microsoft stated it would "focus our energies on improving and evolving our own Windows graphics platform." OpenGL and Direct3D, part of the DirectX API, are very similar, both serving the purpose of a uniform API for applications to render 3D graphics on any supported graphics chipset. Microsoft has chosen to abandon the standard, which presumably means no assistance in supporting the standard's use on the Windows™ operating system. Software developers will be more inclined than they already are to use Direct3D as opposed to OpenGL when developing for the Windows platform. Whether or not Direct3D is technically superior, there are advantages to standards, especially for the users (customers) and non-Microsoft developers. Choosing OpenGL a developer can target multiple operating systems simultaneously, giving more choice to the developer and user. Open standards also free developers and hardware manufacturers from licensing fees and restrictions.

Microsoft® Internet Explorer does not render PNG graphics correctly. Transparent backgrounds, for example, render properly with a standards compliant browser. Internet Explorer, however, typically fills the background black or white.

The future interface for all Windows client applications is void of standards as well. User interfaces created in .NET, using the Avalon API and/or XAML, don't use existing SVG or XUL standards. Avalon users therefore lose out on existing tools and end up fostering more segregation.
Copyright © 2004-2007 Matthew Schwartz