Microsoft made a decision over a month ago that Internet Explorer 8 will not use their “super standards” mode by default. They said that websites would be able to opt-in to having IE 8 render sites in a standards-compliant way, but they thought it would be best if they broke as few sites as possible.
According the IE Blog Microsoft has switched their way of thinking. They will now be enforcing the “super standards” mode by default, and making it so that developers can specify in the code whether they want the site to be rendered like it was in Internet Explorer 7. They try to say that this decision came because of the feedback from the community, but they also mentioned that it will help them avoid any legal issues:
Microsoft recently published a set of Interoperability Principles. Thinking about IE8’s behavior with these principles in mind, interpreting web content in the most standards compliant way possible is a better thing to do.
We think that acting in accordance with principles is important, and IE8’s default is a demonstration of the interoperability principles in action. While we do not believe any current legal requirements would dictate which rendering mode a browser must use, this step clearly removes this question as a potential legal and regulatory issue.
I think that this is the best move by Microsoft because it will help push for more standards-compliant websites to be produced. It will be interesting to see how fast websites are to converge to the standards implemented in Internet Explorer 8. I’m guessing that we won’t really see the effects of it for 5 or so years after its release which is when a majority of users will have IE 8 on their computer.