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Microsoft The Internet

IE To Block Pop-Ups 719

smd4985 writes "Next year MS will release a XP service pack that enables IE to block pop-up ads. Only a few years late. Maybe Mozilla.org/Opera should patent the technology to make it hard for Bill 'embrace and extend' Gates to kill those XCam ads...."
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IE To Block Pop-Ups

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  • Proxomitron? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Empiric ( 675968 ) * on Monday November 10, 2003 @07:30PM (#7439442)
    What's the point? Among others, Proxomitron [agentland.com] is free, takes 5 minutes to set up, and is massively configurable for popup/banner/script/etc. blocking.

    The strange thing here for me is why Microsoft would do this from a business perspective. I would think they're drawing a fair amount of income from their MSN portal advertising. Maybe it doesn't work for MSN? Or they're only blocking popups because the don't plan on having them on a MSN linked site anyway?
    • "Maybe it doesn't work for MSN? Or they're only blocking popups because the don't plan on having them on a MSN linked site anyway?"

      Or maybe they are exchanging them for browser interstitials? *snickers*
    • by Davak ( 526912 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @07:34PM (#7439491) Homepage
      My favorite pop-up blocker is google's toolbar. [google.com],

      If I'm going to have some stupid something sitting my windows toolbar section, it might as well do some useful stuff--search google, block pop-ups, and give me pagerank.

      I love free software.

      Davak
    • Proxomitron is slow. Ever try turning it off for a little bit, and find yourself surprised at how much less delay there is between when you click on a link and the page comes up? Sloooow. Popup blockers that work on the parse tree directly or within the javascript engine are inherently faster and more precise.
    • Re:Proxomitron? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Hanji ( 626246 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @07:41PM (#7439584)
      *sigh*

      You people just don't get it, do you?? You could have a massive button on IE's toolbar labelled "DISABLE POPUPS," and I would bet half of IE's users would never think to click it. Unless a feature is turned on, by default, and works without thinking about it, most users won't use it.
      • Re:Proxomitron? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by invisik ( 227250 ) *
        Somebody said to me the other day they wanted to switch off of their local ISP DSL to Earthlink DSL because it had pop-up blocking.

        Enough said.

        -m
    • Re:Proxomitron? (Score:5, Informative)

      by edwdig ( 47888 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @07:54PM (#7439723)
      Ever install a version of Netscape with popup blocking?

      By default, it whitelists netscape.com, aol.com, cnn.com, and a bunch of other sites associated with AOL and Time Warner.

      MS could very easily do the same in IE.
    • by easyfrag ( 210329 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @08:07PM (#7439860)
      What's the point?

      I think the point is that MS sees that pop-up killing is quickly become a killer app. I don't think that they are worried about third party apps like Proxomitron because only a small subset of users can/will install them anyway. You could argue that this is being done partly to prevent a drift towards alternate browsers, especially Mozilla, but again only a relatively small audience have the knowhow or desire to change from IE.


      Personally I think this is more about reigning in the power of Google, specifically the Google Toolbar which can block popups. Joe User knows Google (they do not know Proxomitron) and the Toolbar is easy to install and it is very popular. I bet the Google Toolbar is installed all over Microsoft's campus.


      Google used to be just a search engine, now it does much more, including supplying software to Microsoft's end users. Have any of you checked out the new Google Deskbar [google.com]. Think about it: this is an application which bypasses the browser.

      I think Microsoft is very afraid of Google and thats why they made an offer to buy them. They were turned down, so now watch what happens, on Longhorn there will already be a "MSN Search Deskbar" on bootup. This is an opening salvo in a Microsoft war on Google.

      • They were turned down, so now watch what happens, on Longhorn there will already be a "MSN Search Deskbar" on bootup.

        Keep in mind that Microsoft has had built-in internet searching via the Windows Shell through the Start Menu's "Search..." function for a few years now, so I don't think this is a huge surprise for anybody.

        I also don't think it takes an incredible leap of imagination to think they might put an "Internet Search" control on the new Longhorn Sidebar [winsupersite.com]. Claiming that by doing this they're tryi

    • Sadly, Proxomitron is no longer being supported or developed. [proxomitron.org] I wish it weren't so, I liked it a lot. But, there's always privoxy.
  • Wow!!! (Score:5, Funny)

    by b!arg ( 622192 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @07:30PM (#7439443) Homepage Journal
    And maybe in a couple more years we'll get mouse gestures too!

    fp
    • Re:Wow!!! (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      yes, yes, and another couple more years we can expect tab browsing. cheers !!!
  • by Spleener12 ( 587422 ) * on Monday November 10, 2003 @07:30PM (#7439447)
    The thing is, before now companies who did the pop-up thing didn't bother figuring out how to get around existing pop-up blockers because the browsers that had them are not remotely in the majority, and I'll bet that there isn't a terribly significant percentage using separate pop-up blockers, either- kinda like how Mac/Linux users are mostly safe from viruses because most viruses are designed for Windows because most people use Windows. If pop-up blocking is integrated into the browser that 90% of the web-surfing population is using, you can bet that they'll start figuring out how to get around it- or worse, figure out some more annoying method of advertising. Either way, us Mozilla(Firebird)/Opera users might get screwed along with the IE users.

    Or they'll just exploit one of IE's 40 billion security holes to get the pop-ups through and everyone else will be just fine.

    • by CmdrTHAC0 ( 229186 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @07:33PM (#7439486)
      Don't worry. Since it's only an update, nobody will install it.
    • Mozilla and Proxomitron can both respond quickly to any new ways of putting up popups, and I bet Opera won't be too far behind.
    • or worse, figure out some more annoying method of advertising.

      The absolute worst kind of advertising, IMNSHO, is stealth marketing (aka: viral marketing). It's not as overtly annoying, but it makes my skin crawl and my blood boil to know that the growth of "subertising" is inevitable - the only defense being trust networks, which aren't really used well yet.

      Right now, the only thing that gets through my adfilter (privoxy [privoxy.org]) are stealth shills and those floating DHTML ads (like this one [3dluvr.com]). I'm sure if this

  • Prediction (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Davak ( 526912 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @07:30PM (#7439450) Homepage
    Soon pop-up ad companies will be hiring lawyers to attack Microsoft for blocking ads...

    Who do we cheer for then? (grin)

    Davak
    • SCO, for staying out of it?
      • What?!? SCO stay out of it? Some of the developers who write Mozilla did so on unpaid copies of Linux, so SCO owns what they made, right? That means... SCO OWNS MOZILLA!
    • Re:Prediction (Score:5, Insightful)

      by AKnightCowboy ( 608632 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @07:49PM (#7439669)
      Soon pop-up ad companies will be hiring lawyers to attack Microsoft for blocking ads...

      No, the ad companies will just go on to more intrusive advertising, like full page click-through ads like on some sites. This is actually a bad thing since IE's idiot customer base was actually still generating some decent revenue for the popup spammers. Now once that dwindles off they'll need to find new and more annoying ways of advertising. Full screen Java commercials anyone? Yes, I know, shut off Java/Javascript/Flash/animation, etc. We can all go back to HTML 1.0 and Lynx right?

      • by NialScorva ( 213763 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @08:04PM (#7439839)
        go back?
      • Re:Prediction (Score:3, Insightful)

        by kavau ( 554682 )
        We can all go back to HTML 1.0 and Lynx right?

        I know this is meant as a joke, but how much do we really benefit from all those fancy-shmancy extensions like Flash or JavaScript? I would argue that mostly advertisers benefit. For the rest of us (at least for those still sitting behind a dial-up connection), they just result in slower browsing. Of all the more advanced "web technologies", the majority of web sites I visit maybe use frames, but that's about it.

        The internet was originally designed to distri

        • Re:Prediction (Score:3, Interesting)

          by GregWebb ( 26123 )
          As a web application programmer, yes, users of complex web apps benefit significantly from JavaScript because it means we can write interfaces that allow the sort of complexity you need to do some of the bigger jobs without having whole hosts of different screens to click through.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 10, 2003 @07:31PM (#7439461)
    IE To Block Pop-Ups; Slashdot to not post dupes; Hell to freeze over

    Can I get my $5 back? I cant believe I paid for this shit
  • by AnnCoulterTroll ( 722864 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @07:31PM (#7439463) Journal
    Maybe Mozilla.org/Opera should patent the technology to make it hard for Bill 'embrace and extend' Gates to kill those XCam ads...."

    If Microsoft was patenting this technology, most /. users would call it evil, right? But, you claim Mozilla/Opera should patent it, and that would be good, right? Somehow I don't quite follow the logic here.

    • by Spleener12 ( 587422 ) * on Monday November 10, 2003 @07:34PM (#7439496)
      No, he's not saying that it would be good, just that it would be funny. Subtle difference there.
    • For someone with the name Troll at the end of your username, you sure don't have a sense of humor.
    • by darnok ( 650458 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @07:54PM (#7439733)
      If software patents are going to exist, then it makes sense to patent things you invent in order to protect yourself. If not, and your invention is worth anything significant, some other dweeb will come along, patent the thing you invented, then sue you for using it. That becomes a problem if said dweeb has deep pockets (e.g. Eolas, Microsoft, ...) and you don't.

      If you own patents on anything, there's nothing stopping you from licencing these patents for $0 to anyone else in the world. In that light, I'd rather Mozilla *did* try to patent the technology, then licence it out to the rest of the world free of charge. Better yet, get the patent and donate it to the EFF. That way I'd be reasonably sure popup blocking would remain free for anyone to implement/use however they saw fit.

      Of course, if software patents didn't exist, the whole discussion would be moot and the world would be a much happier place IMHO.
      • If software patents are going to exist, then it makes sense to patent things you invent in order to protect yourself. If not, and your invention is worth anything significant, some other dweeb will come along, patent the thing you invented, then sue you for using it.

        No it doesn't. All you need to do to protect yourself is:

        1. Wait until you get sued
        2. Invalidate the patent with proof of prior art.

        Getting a patent is a long, expensive process. Defensive patenting doesn't work so well for the little guy.

  • but then (Score:4, Funny)

    by foggi3 ( 706456 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @07:32PM (#7439464)
    where will i download smiley emoticons and locate old school mates from?
  • But better late than never. Good to know that microsoft has realized that "maybe users really DON'T want to collect their prize for being the 1239023948th visitor to the site"

    IE is necessary for a lot of sites that aren't really HTML/CSS compliant and use tricks in IE to make themselves look good in it, but render them useless if you view it with another browser that doesn't know about this little trick. It's the state of the internet now that you can't browse without a pop-up blocking browser, or else you
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 10, 2003 @07:34PM (#7439498)
    ...is that they plan to have Clippy jump up and say 'It blocked a popup window for you. It looks like they were trying to sell you Viagra.' every time a popup is blocked.
  • Get the Google toolbar [google.com] for IE. It beats the hell out of any pop-up blocker that I've seen and it's pretty cheap too.
  • spyware (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sporty ( 27564 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @07:37PM (#7439532) Homepage
    Now it they could only stop spyware and crap that integrated with aps in nasty ways you can't remove.

    Bloody registry entries..
  • Bad news (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hi_2k ( 567317 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @07:38PM (#7439540) Journal
    This is REALLY bad news for the rest of the world. This means that since most people will be able to block popups, the popup companies will resort to new methods of spawing, such as java windows, automaticaly executed ActiveX controls, and hijacking the browser window through their ads. While the middle wouldnt be a problem for anyone other than IE users, the other two could pose a serious threat to my abiltiy to use the web.
    • Re:Bad news (Score:5, Insightful)

      by RatBastard ( 949 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @08:12PM (#7439904) Homepage
      Insightful? How about "bloody obvious"?

      And why was the popup invented? Because we started ignoring banner ads. When they disciovered that banner ads didn't work they moved on to a new model. When popups stop working they'll move to a new model.

      How, exactly, is this even an issue? Sure, they'll come up with some nasty crap that takes over your broswer and most broswers will come up with a fix in very shiort order and MS will take three years to fix it.

      The technology war between the force-feed advertisers and the human race is nothing new. We'll figure out how to deal with it as it comes.
    • Re:Bad news (Score:4, Informative)

      by antiMStroll ( 664213 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @09:36PM (#7440573)
      Mozilla has a relatively fine grained set of controls regarding Java script covering

      moving or resizing of windows

      raise or lower windows

      hide the status bar

      change the status bar text

      change images

      create or change icons

      read cookies

      for the browser and mail independently. Until MS releases ActiveX for Gentoo, I won't be worrying about that either. ;)

  • I'm wondering if we can expect some lawsuits to follow this move. First of all, companies that rely on popup ads, are likely to be pissed. Second of all, companies who sell popup blocking software are going to be screwed. I wonder if Microsoft's move could get killed under anti-trust oversight.

  • About patenting (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Ataru ( 50540 )
    My memory is no doubt shorter than it should be (probably da weed) but I don't remember Microsoft EVER having a go at someone over a patent issue. As far as I know they use patents only defensively. I would be genuinely interested if anyone could come up with a counterexample. Anyone?
  • Unnecessary... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SushiFugu ( 593444 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @07:41PM (#7439590)
    Maybe Mozilla.org/Opera should patent the technology to make it hard for Bill 'embrace and extend' Gates to kill those XCam ads....

    I mean really, why is it necessary to make such an unproductive comment? The only thing that sort of comment accomplishes is making Open Source advocates look bad.
    • Re:Unnecessary... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by SoVi3t ( 633947 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @08:13PM (#7439913)
      I agree. The problem, as I have stated before, is that open source advocates seem to want anybody who uses Windows, or even looks at it, to suffer. So what if Microsoft is putting in a feature that many of it's users have requested, into their product? OMG!! A COMPANY IS USING BUSINESS SENSE! THEY MUST BE THE DEVIL. Seriously, mod me down as flamebait all you want, but seriously, some of the comments thrown around lack any thought whatsoever.
  • by jtnishi ( 610495 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @07:43PM (#7439615) Homepage
    REDMOND, Wash. -- Apr. 19, 2004 -- Today Microsoft Corp. announced a new $20 million advertising campaign for their Microsoft Windows(R) Server 2003 family.

    The campaign will use pop-under windows as the core of their advertising campaign. Utilizing a little-known bypass for their banner pop-up blocker mechanism in upcoming versions of Microsoft Internet Explorer, Microsoft will take 100% of the available pop-up banner impressions available for users. "This is a great day for Microsoft," said Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates. "Finally, our users will be able to view only those ads that our company sees fit to display to users."

    About Microsoft

    Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software -- any time, any place and on any device.

  • by Hanji ( 626246 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @07:46PM (#7439639)
    If I have *one* person tell me, upon downloading this, "Hey, did you know that they can block popups now??", I think I *WILL* kill them.
  • Use Privoxy (Score:4, Informative)

    by FsG ( 648587 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @07:47PM (#7439655)
    Privoxy [privoxy.org] is an open-source web proxy that blocks ads of all kinds, and is highly customizable. It'll run on Linux, Windows, OS X, and god-knows-what-else, and will block all those annoying banners with a high degree of effectiveness. Better yet, it's been available since 2001; once again Microsoft is offering too little, too late.
  • Patent?! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Cuthalion ( 65550 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @08:03PM (#7439826) Homepage
    Maybe Mozilla.org/Opera should patent the [popup blocking] technology

    "Method for not opening a new browser window when asked to"?

    Prior art: Every browser before Netscape 2 did this, very effectively!
  • by WaterDamage ( 719017 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @08:06PM (#7439849)
    Great, knowing how well MS did with "The most Secure OS ever" (WinXP) I can rest assured that their solution to block ads will be better than Mozilla's ;) Now where's my WinXP messenger spam script....hmmmm...
  • MYIE2 (Score:4, Informative)

    by DongleFondle ( 655040 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @08:27PM (#7440022)
    MYIE2 [myie2.com] is a 3.3 MB download addon to Internet Explorer that adds pop-up blocking, tabbed browsing, mouse gestures, super drag and drop, customized searches from the address bar, aliases, and is highly customizable, so in a way, you already can get those things in IE.

    I understand that it doesn't fix CSS or any of the security flaws, but it is a nice option for the hopelessly addicted IE user. Oh, and its free.
  • by boarder8925 ( 714555 ) <thegreentrilbyNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday November 10, 2003 @08:54PM (#7440263) Homepage
    Level: Critical

    Problem: Popup blocker in Internet Explorer 6 SP2 contains a vulnerability that could allow a hacker to gain remote access and execute code on your computer.
    And then there will be a patch to the patch to the service pack.
  • by SEE ( 7681 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @10:02PM (#7440750) Homepage
    They'll still be able to make Notepad Popups [computerbytesman.com]
  • by SethJohnson ( 112166 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @10:33PM (#7440971) Homepage Journal


    One thing I haven't seen a lot of discussion of is why MS hasn't stepped forward to do anything about popups and spam before this. Enjoying their monopoly in the OS arena, they've established a browser monopoly and have no competitive pressure to improve their browser. IE users have been subjected to torturous popup ads for a few years now. If you examine any of the MSN marketing materials (intentional alliteration), you'll see that they tout popup blocking as one of the advantages to their service.


    If the company would improve its browser, they would have one less 'feature' in their MSN service.


    Clear example of monopoly exploitation in one product (browser) to gain an advantage in another area (ISP service). Sure, every other ISP is offering pop-up blocking, but let's see how they implement this service patch. Wouldn't it be interesting if it sort of half-works, but is 100% effective for MSN users?
  • by WoTG ( 610710 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @10:52PM (#7441068) Homepage Journal
    This isn't going to solve anything, it'll just force pop-up vendors to move to DHTML for their popups. If you've never seen one in action, the once at tek-tips.com [slashdot.org] comes to mind. It's a pretty reasonable "please sign up" type popup that occurs once per visit, until you register and let the cookie do it's thing. Mozilla doesn't block this, and it might be a long time before it ever does. I doubt that it's as easy to recognize these as advertising algorithmically as it is with JavaScript popups.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @01:39AM (#7441864)
    What are pop-ups and why can't Mozilla show them? Am I missing something?? Will the next version of Mozilla finally be able to show these pop-ups??? Will Mozilla ever catch up with IE????
  • by altek ( 119814 ) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @01:46AM (#7441893) Homepage
    And in other news, IE will include tabbed browsing in a service pack to be released in 2007 with much fanfare of how it will revolutionize browsing the web!

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