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Microsoft

Microsoft Offers Phone Support For IE 7 195

Posted by Zonk
from the test-this-browser dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The BBC is running a short piece detailing Microsoft's newest step in testing Internet Explorer 7, which just went into Beta 2 yesterday. They're now offering free phone support to U.S., German, and Japanese users who try out the trial software." From the article: "'We believe that IE 7, even at this beta stage, is a significant improvement and we want as many people as possible to try it and use it,' said the browser development team in a post on its blog. 'IE 7 is feature complete and has been through significant compatibility and reliability testing. People (especially technology enthusiasts) will have a good experience with it,' continued the post. Microsoft said the new version addresses some problems affecting banking and news sites. It is also designed to be more secure than the current version, with built-in protection against malicious software and online phishing scams."
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Microsoft Offers Phone Support For IE 7

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  • ActiveX? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    built-in protection against malicious software and online phishing scams.

    So are they doing away with ActiveX?
    • ActiveX is disabled by default, but no. Release notes: "ActiveX controls--ActiveX controls are disabled by default in Internet Explorer Version 7."
      • Re:ActiveX? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Mistshadow2k4 (748958)

        How long do you think it will take before an exploit is found that allows a malicious web site to turn on ActiveX without the user's permission? Bets, anyone?

  • I thought the days of Microsoft rushing products in an attempt to maintain market share were over with adoption of the trusted computing model. I guess I was wrong. When I used IE7 last, I found it to be far from completion and could definetly not recommend it to any of my clients or even my friends. I definetly saw some cool features in it, but I do not understand how they can be pushing this as a viable solution for some.
    • Sounds kind of like Firefox beta... why is MSFT evil when they release beta versions of their products?

      disclaimer: I disdain msft as much as the next guy, but I'm all for fair commentary.

      • When I used IE7 last Have you tried this one? Are you part of the beta? Seems you jumped on the MS bashing wagon a little too quickly. It is beta just as FireFox, Google et. all have done in the past. If this were a release candidate then maybe you would be fair in making this comment.
    • Wikipedia:

      A beta version or beta release usually represents the first version of a computer program that implements all required features although additional features may be added. It is likely to be unstable but useful for internal demonstrations and previews to select customers, but not yet ready for release.
  • by Vo0k (760020) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @09:38AM (#15196075) Journal
    I was absolutely sure they mean it will contain a skype-like application, voice chat, internet telephony.

    Nope. Support by phone will be available. MSIE won't support a phone.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @09:39AM (#15196083)
    What's the criterion for inclusion in this scheme? Your mother country has to have invaded another sovereign state? ;-)
  • by jbeaupre (752124) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @09:40AM (#15196089)
    I'm really looking forward to a good experience when running Windows Update experience, since that's all I ever use IE for.
  • Seems to me... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by danpsmith (922127)
    ...that Microsoft is playing catch up these days. It's well aware of the fact that it's lost the confidence of the true "tech-oriented" people and now it hopes to win them back.

    What they don't understand is that their business model needs changing. No longer is software that's outdated the moment you release it that has security holes in it left and right that don't have patches going to be tolerated.

    We have an open source browser with wide spread web support. I don't care if you have the tabs or not, I'
    • by Anonymous Coward
      > No longer is software that's outdated the moment you release it that has security holes in it left and right that don't have patches going to be tolerated.

      Other people understanding not what said is being?
    • ...that Microsoft is playing catch up these days.

      You mean, like, the 31 last years ? :P

      Well, they don't when they can afford not to...
    • The bottom line is that most people will just use whatever is shipped with the OS. It doesn't really matter how outdated or bad it is. Well... within reason.
    • the true "tech-oriented" people

      Most of them switched to linux.
  • It is good to see that an x64 build is now available with IE7B2.

    Shame that as usual the phone support feature is not available in the UK...(not that I really care, FF is fine).

    Note that the download link is http://www.microsoft.com/windows/ie/downloads/defa ult.mspx [microsoft.com] (where you can choose your desired poison) as opposed to the one in the stub (which links to the technology overview document).
  • I am hoping (Score:5, Insightful)

    by endrue (927487) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @09:43AM (#15196106)
    that we don't start bashing MS for this. Give them credit for beta testing and making sure that the product works and also for providing support to the end-users that try it. This seems like a interesting move on their part and a good effort to make sure that the code they will eventually release is stable. I use many beta products every day and they do not provide me phone support. If gmail craps the bed then I am SOL.

    I can image that we will see a lot of people here at /. trashing this for one reason or another. Just don't bash them later for not testing their code.

    - Andrew
    • I like that companies try new things, but really do we need Microsoft focusing on some integration of some phone support in a browser?

      I think too many software companies still have the philosophy that more is better. In reality we just want the tool to work right the first time and be secure. I think Microsoft should focus all its effort on producing a fast totally secure web browser first. Then when that is done create a API in which you add-on features you want (which will not break nor leave the origi
      • but really do we need Microsoft focusing on some integration of some phone support in a browser?

        I think you misunderstood the article (unless I did). What they are saying is if you use the beta and have problems you can call them on the phone for help with the issue, not that IE is having some type of Skype functionality. Its simply that they are offering free phone support (call if you have a problem) to all the beta testers.
      • They're offering phone support. You have a problem with the browser, you can phone them about it (as long as you're in the US, Germany or Japan).

        They're not supporting some phone or other *in* the browser, or supporting the browser *on* a phone, they're supporting the (beta of the) browser *by* phone.

  • After a lifetime of being everyone's "computer geek" freidn/relative and entertaining the occasional midnight phone call from people saying things like "Help me Rob, I just clicked on the Internet and my email says an instant error message!" I can finally direct some of that love to Microsoft.

    Of course, MS probably won't have people install Firefox nearly as often as I do...

  • Yesterday? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rjstanford (69735) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @09:44AM (#15196114) Homepage Journal
    That's what the website says -- released 4/24. Yet I've been using IE7 for a while now, I'm thinking about 6 weeks, and I could have sworn it was Beta 2. In fact, my Help/About box claims that its Beta 2 as well. So is this a rerelease or really version 2.1?
  • Dvorak's spin (Score:2, Informative)

    by jbeaupre (752124)
    Love him or hate him, I found a few interesting things to think about in one of his recent commentaries http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1895,1952995,00.as p [pcmag.com]
    Summary: MS's biggest problem is IE and they should just dump it.
  • Could this also be a widescale method of finding potential bugs in the software? When someone calls in they can record the problem and see if other callers are getting similar errors. I just hope it doesn't turn out like the last beta boot software which wouldn't let you boot. If Microsoft is providing support, however, it's probably damn stable (compared to other windows apps).
  • by Billosaur (927319) * <wgrother AT optonline DOT net> on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @09:46AM (#15196124) Journal
    It is offering free telephone support to consumers in the US, Germany and Japan who decide to try it out.

    Yes, that's right. You get this lovely tripod with gripping arm, absolutely free with your trial of IE7 Beta. Now, when you are stuck on interminable hold with Microsoft Tech support, you won't have to hold the phone up to your ear -- the Phone Support will do all the work! It frees up your hands so you can send hate mail to Bill Gates while still waiting for the next available tech support specialist.

  • Obvious criticisms (Score:3, Insightful)

    by erroneus (253617) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @09:50AM (#15196140) Homepage
    Asside from obvious criticisms, I think this is an interesting move on Microsoft's part. I remember when the browser wars started. I chose the wrong side. I was excited by Windows95. I was excited that it included TCP/IP and a web browser. I didn't know or really even care about compatibility or specs or any of that stuff. I was a relatively new and unwashed user and I loved Microsoft for all the things in Win95.

    With IE7, they seem to be attempting to bring some of that newness back, or maybe it's just my own perspective. In any case, I'm not a new or unwashed user any longer and I have real concerns over vulnerabilities and other annoyances. Will ActiveX remain as the most exploitable part of MSIE and any OS that uses it? Will CSS remain 'broken?' (I shouldn't say broken since that word implies accident and gives the impression that it's unintentional. CSS is incompatible and is intentional sabotage on Microsoft's part against the world of compatibility. In spite of all standards agreed upon, Microsoft in all its power and glory is unwilling to be compatible with the rest of the world.)
  • I think the borge icon doesn't reflect the level of evil Microsoft has obtained.
  • by 0WaitState (231806) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @09:55AM (#15196172)
    "Hello, welcome to Microsoft Internet Explorer Seven phone support..."

    "Press 1 to be told to reboot, press 2 to be told to reinstall IE7, press 3 to be told to reinstall the OS, press 4 to be told to apply next month's patches to the OS, press 5 to be told to contact the website's administrator for writing non-IE7 compliant HTML, press 8 to purchase Microsoft malware protection services..."
  • Broken rendering (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zenmojodaddy (754377) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @09:56AM (#15196181)
    I'm not a web professional, but I've been given the job of designing a small website for my employers, and IE's crappy CSS support has caused me a world of hurt.I was going to ask whether anything has been done about fixing it, but an earlier post regarding the Acid 2 test has pretty much answered that. (It's a wish list? Well, yeah, but if Konqueror and Safari can grant those wishes, why not IE?)

    I suppose the most we can hope for with IE7 is that it stays broken in the same ways as previous versions, so we don't have to learn a whole new raft of ugly hacks just to a get a page to look presentable.
    • I'm not a web professional, but I've been given the job of designing a small website for my employers, and IE's crappy CSS support has caused me a world of hurt.I was going to ask whether anything has been done about fixing it, but an earlier post regarding the Acid 2 test has pretty much answered that. (It's a wish list? Well, yeah, but if Konqueror and Safari can grant those wishes, why not IE?)

      Haven't you learned? Microsoft doesn't support standards, it writes them. That way, whatever broken stuff
      • Strangely enough, I'm none too enamoured of Firefox at the moment. It too has its share of rendering quirks - nothing quite so bad as IE, but there all the same. One technique I've used in the site is to set a large padding-bottom value for columns, with a similarly-large negative margin-bottom, and placed the columns in a container with overflow:hidden. This ensures that both columns end up the same height. Nice and neat. However, if you try to link to an id within one of the columns, large chunks of the c
      • Haven't you learned? Microsoft doesn't support standards, it writes them. That way, whatever broken stuff their software does, it is "standards compliant".

        Your attempts at irony are shooting in the wrong direction, as Microsoft is part of W3C and indeed has a big part in defining the CSS and related standards.
    • I suppose the most we can hope for with IE7 is that it stays broken in the same ways as previous versions, so we don't have to learn a whole new raft of ugly hacks just to a get a page to look presentable.

      Don't worry - they've been carefully fixing up their CSS support just enough to break all those nice hacks everyone's been using to get their websites to work on IE, but not enough that you don't need them...
      • Don't worry - they've been carefully fixing up their CSS support just enough to break all those nice hacks everyone's been using to get their websites to work on IE, but not enough that you don't need them...

        Gosh I wish I could mod you +5 Inane.
    • I think emphasis on the Acid test is a bit overblown, since it tests far more than just standard valid CSS handling. It also takes into account very specific points about fallback methods, handling of bad tags, improper syntax, etc. Even Safari, which passes the Acid test, still doesn't allow web developers to replace the goofy Aqua buttons on a site with standard ones. In general, what we need in IE7 (well, all browsers) is support for all the features properly-coded standard CSS; full compliance with Acid
      • Given that no browser was able to render the Acid2 text correctly when it came out, how did they ever test that it worked as intended?
      • Even Safari, which passes the Acid test, still doesn't allow web developers to replace the goofy Aqua buttons on a site with standard ones.

        The CSS spec specificially exempts form controls from having to follow style, so I'm not sure what that has to do with "standard valid CSS handling". It's also silly to say that it can't replace the Aqua buttons with "standard" ones--those buttons are standard, both in the browser and in the entire OS. What you really mean is that it doesn't allow you to replace th

    • but an earlier post regarding the Acid 2 test has pretty much answered that.

      Actually a lot has been done to improve CSS support in this release, and lack of Acid 2 compliance doesn't mean "it's same as old releases". This is too naive and biased view for me to even comment further on.

      But you may notice everyone's favorite Firefox (which I also use) doesn't pass Acid 2 as well, the experimental branches in the code tree that do pass are just that - experimental, and not likely to happen before Firefox 3.0.
    • The Acid test isn't a full CSS complience test. It partially tests how a browser handles *broken* CSS.

      Note: some 827 people (rough estimate, contents may have settled during shipping) have written to point out that the CSS used in the test is invalid. This is deliberate, as a means of exposing the ability of user agents to handle invalid CSS properly. http://webstandards.org/action/acid2/#content-main [webstandards.org]

      Personally, I find that this means that the proper rendering of the Acid test is somewhat subjective.

  • Anyone else catch the line:

    Supported Operating Systems: Windows 2000; Windows 95; Windows 98; Windows ME; Windows XP.

    I guess there is hope for those that don't want to upgrade their Pentium/133 systems. :-)
  • by mritunjai (518932) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @10:02AM (#15196222) Homepage

    No it does NOT prevent phishing scams, but actually IE actually makes various online hosting providers' anti-phishing filters useless. If someone hosts a text (yeah, .txt) file with HTML, *only* IE renders it as an HTML page.

    One of my friends who was drowsy late night after cramming for exams, got phished!!! All fault of IE and partially his (being too drowsy!)... by this site : http://newphotosfamyli.bravehost.com/link2.txt [bravehost.com]

    (Yeah, the site is still up after being reported to concerned people! If someone knows this fellow please punch him in the gut for me, thanks!).

    More details and comparison of how Opera, Firefox and IE handle this phishing site are in my blog : http://blog.mritunjai.com/2006/04/23/gone-phishing / [mritunjai.com]

    • by nursegirl (914509) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @10:30AM (#15196425) Journal
      This is really disturbing - Safari renders it as html instead of text as well. Good thing I use Firefox for unknown sites. I need to mention this to other Mac users. Everyone I know has been told about the inherent unsafety of IE, but most people think Safari is safe.

      Has anyone tried Konqueror on this site?
      • Has anyone tried Konqueror on this site?

        Renders it as text, not HTML. Mind you, it even renders *binary* files as text occasionally...
      • uh which version of Safari are you using... mine doesn't render it as html... just plain text, I've got 2.0.3

      • Yes it is disturbing that two leading browsers (IE and Safari) on two leading desktop OSs (Windows and OSX ) render this phishing site as HTML... thus playing their part in laying down the trap!

        FILE A BUG REPORT !! Violation of standards is *not* a good thing and this is a clear cut baked and dried example of where it causes real agony to users who get trapped!

        Side note: For unknown sites, I use Opera (near perfect record with security), and Firefox. Opera is better because most crap sites won't work with i
      • I know has been told about the inherent unsafety of IE, but most people think Safari is safe.

        Everyone I know has been told about the inherent safety of firefox, but most people didn't know that at one point, firefox had a bug that allowed you to script to other tabs.

        Browsers are only safe until you find the next bug. IE has plenty, but Firefox, Safari, Opera et al. are not completely safe. There are just fewer hackers trying to prove that they aren't.

        I'm still not sure why IE is being criticiz
  • by berenixium (920883) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @10:03AM (#15196229) Journal
    "Hello, this is Dogbert's Internet Explorer 7 Helpdesk. How may I destroy you?"

    "Please hold while I disconnect, erm, redirect you to the appropriate expert. Sucker!"
  • No doubt (Score:2, Funny)

    by CaptainZapp (182233) *
    'We believe that IE 7, even at this beta stage, is a significant improvement and we want as many people as possible to try it and use it,'

    That it's a significant improvement to IE 6. What I don't quite get is why it should be a significant improvement to the competition; specifically Opera & Firefox.

  • Microsoft has decided to offer free phone support for Calculator and Solitair.
  • Stuff like page transitions, HTML TIME, their own proprietary tags for fancy text shadows, blur and gradiants. I realize a few rare people might use those but I think they could just use open standards instead. So many other programs out their depreciate things over time, why cant they? Thats how Firefox (phoenix) became the lightweight champ it is, it dropped a lot of the bloat Mozilla had.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    nt
  • by rlp (11898)
    I for one welcome our new XHTML/CSS rendering overlords.

  •   Who wants an Internet phone toy that only manages to connect you
      to TWO other countries (with no choice of which ones), anyway?!?

      Skype is -my- friend, here!
      Not perfect, but it does all that I want done in the VoIP dep't.

      What about you? Do you think MS will ever catch-up in VoIP?
  • by GeekDork (194851) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @10:43AM (#15196574)

    It seems that they're really pulling off the "still no CSS" stunt. Too bad. Also, IE7 still tries to download properly served XHTML. What a failure.

  • I remember there being phone support in IE5. This one time I was browsing some foreign sites to meet beautiful ladies, and my IE had a warning pop-up that said I needed to be authenticated to proceed. My modem started to dial and mere minutes later, I was finally viewing the pictures and movies that I had wanted to access in the first place.

    Sure, this "phone support" was expensive, since I got a $89.22 phone bill for a three-minute call to Bulgaria a month later, but all in all everyone had a great time.
  • I kept hearing blue screams of death.

  • What I don't get is why this beta version of MSIE does not install as an independent program that still leaves the previous MSIE version accessible.

    Who wants to try a beta test program that completely wipes (or better: hides) the stable version?
    How are we supposed to check websites, modify them to work on MSIE 7, and still test for compatability with MSIE 6?

    It is not like it is completely impossible. You can quite easily install a .local version of MSIE 7, and it runs, but it fails in some small but critic
  • The Word document that is the Technology Overview for this beta indicates IE7 now supports transparent PNG files. These are described as follows: "A PNG is a typographical file format". Hmmm.

    Remember, as MicroSoft says, "the software should not be used in mission-critical environments".

(1) Never draw what you can copy. (2) Never copy what you can trace. (3) Never trace what you can cut out and paste down.

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