Categories
Internet Mozilla

Microsoft Blocking Firefox

It appears Microsoft is blocking Firefox from a number of it’s webpages. I’ve heard of this before, but now thanks to the new reporter tool, we have hard data to back it up. At the time I’m writing this there are 39 reports in the database. I should note that we have a little over 1000 users in the system at this point, so 39 reports is rather significant.

Most of the reports are about Firefox are that they are being told:

Sorry, we are unable to show you the page you requested. Please try again later.

In IE obviously the links work. Spoofing the user agent to that of Internet Explorer also has success. The area being reported is the downloads section of their site. Yes downloads worked. I tried several and had no problems.

Besides for illegitimately blocking Firefox, Microsoft has mislabeled their error message to encourage the user to “Please try again later?, as if it’s a server issue and will likely be resolved shortly. At least on Windows Update they say right away that it requires Internet Explorer, which is an honest dialog as Firefox does not support ActiveX which is used by AutoUpdate.

The only issue I can see with those pages is that the gradient on the top of the Microsoft site doesn’t render correctly. As I recall (and Asa blogged a while back) the css for it isn’t in the specs, hence unsupported in Gecko, though I haven’t verified that as I’m not a css guru. The same problem appears on the Microsoft homepage, but they don’t block that (presumably because the point of the page is to get people to buy things).

Come on Microsoft. You did move a bit towards standards. Save the browser sniffing for when it’s necessary (such as Windows Update). Let your customers use the browser that they feel comfortable using. Here’s a hint. We’re closing in on 65 million downloads in the next few hours. That’s 65 million people who believe in choice. Isn’t it time to respect computer users choices?

I hope to see Microsoft address and correct this issue.

Update: some report Firefox 1.0.4 working. Safari and OmniWeb seem to be blocked as well with that cryptic error message.

Update 2: It appears to be fixed now! Thanks to Microsoft for addressing it rather quickly (less than 2 full business days).

57 replies on “Microsoft Blocking Firefox”

i did the microsoft up date on 6.18.05 and since then firefox closes out after just a few clicks. it has never done that untell the last up dates… no more for me gates….. the heck with your updates

Yeah, I noticed ms.com blocking Firefox from its download pages when doing the security updates for this month. If you switch your user agent, it works, at least.

Nicely written, but I must pick one nit: Your assertion that 65 million downloads means 65 million users is not justified. To the best of my knowledge, nobody’s ever done an analysis to prove that. I, for example, have downloaded Firefox 10 times since 1.0 (most of the point releases on three computers). In the future, you should simply quote the number of downloads and say “That’s a lot of users”

For some stupid reason Microsoft.com doesn’t like “b” in 1.8b2 part of UA string. I mean that Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; ru; rv:1.8b2) Gecko/20050614 Firefox/1.0+ doesn’t work, but Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; ru; rv:1.8) Gecko/20050614 Firefox/1.0+ and Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; ru; rv:1.82) Gecko/20050614 Firefox/1.0+

That was reported in https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=297177#c1

The minimal UA I can trigger the error is (pardon me for the long string)

Mozilla,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,G

So the observations that they don’t like the “b” revision is… well, they’re really counting characters. Note that G has to be upper case (I was #40, who reported that changing the g to lower case works).

(Your blog seems to not want me to have literal strings of – or . making them into dashes and ellipses)

Interestingly it is possible (though not likely) for other UAs to accidentally have a G at that exact spot…

Microsoft isn’t only blocking some Firefox betas and alphas, but they are also blocking Safari.

I have tried to open http://www.microsoft.com/downl.....laylang=en at the same time in Safari and Firefox 1.0.4.

Safari is told to try again later while Firefox displays the page.

However, Safari connects without any problem if I change its UA to match the one of Internet Explorer. This is probably because Safari’s UA includes “Mozilla/5.0” and “KHTML, like Gecko”.

-> Chris Nolan

The number of Firefox users is even be higher than 65 million because :

– automatic updates aren’t counted in the downloads total
– Linux distros come with Firefox pre-installed and have their own installation and update mechanism via repositories
– you downloaded it 10 times to install it on one PC but sysadmins download it once to install it on hundreds/thousands of machines
– People also install it from CDs, Firefox is included in lots of magazine CDs every month

there are 889 million internet users, the most conservative stats give 8% market share to Firefox world-wide, that is already 71 million users, that indeed is a lot of users, more than you think.

They pulled a similar stunt with Opera a few years ago. In that case, Opera was able to conclusively prove that Microsoft fed them a broken CSS stylesheet.

As far as the downloading numbers go … I use 1 copy of Firefox to update 8 different user’s machines. I put in on my PUBLIC dierctory at work and everyone else downloads it. The same people also copy it to the memory keys and bring it home. That’s 18 machines (including my own 2) per 1 download!

@ rick752 – I agree… When I use to have dial up.. I downloaded 1 copy and used it over and over for many computers and other stuff… About 30 machines for me ^_^

That happens to me alot “Sorry, we are unable to show you the page you requested. Please try again later.” & “please try again later”. I didnt know what it was until now…

I recently purchased a beauitful new Powerbook G4, and of course, one of the first things I did was to download Firefox (Safari is much better than I.E. but no Firefox!). But I really needed to have Windows Media Player. So I went over to the Windows download center, and when I found the link to download I got that lovely cryptic message. I tried several round-about methods using the same link and similiar ones, but to no avail. Finally, I tried Safari, and it worked. Realllly sketch.

Works for me… I haven’t had any problems with microsoft.com. Now windows update due to active x still needs IE.

Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:1.7.8) Gecko/20050511 Firefox/1.0.4

Quote:
Nicely written, but I must pick one nit: Your assertion that 65 million downloads means 65 million users is not justified. To the best of my knowledge, nobody’s ever done an analysis to prove that. I, for example, have downloaded Firefox 10 times since 1.0 (most of the point releases on three computers). In the future, you should simply quote the number of downloads and say “That’s a lot of users?
——–

I agree his assumption was wrong but you must also keep in mind that Firefox users tend to be power users and probably spend more time surfing website. This means more websites are visited with Firefox due to this high impact browsing. Any impact made by 65 mil. downloads !=65 million users is countered by that.

gates is just being a greedy punk. he’s trying to close out everything that isn’t his. damn.

If microsoft keeps bossing users around then this might spark the transition of the use of everything else non-microsoft (linux, etc.)

It fails to parse revision numbers that have letters in them. They aren’t blocking any specific browsers.

That’s all there is to it. You’re just crying wolf, having failed to properly investigate the issue and just jumping to conclusions instead.

(Of course, being able to use a site shouldn’t hinge on this sort of thing, but I doubt they’re actually out to get Firefox users.)

“It fails to parse revision numbers that have letters in them. They aren’t blocking any specific browsers.

That’s all there is to it. You’re just crying wolf, having failed to properly investigate the issue and just jumping to conclusions instead.”

Well, then, find a letter in the revision number of the following string.

Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; U; PPC Mac OS X; fr) AppleWebKit/412 (KHTML, like Gecko) Safari/412

412 includes no letters, so why is Safari not able to access the page?

The site is also blocking Konqueror and my browser string is “Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; Konqueror/3.2; Linux) (KHTML, like Gecko)” and I cant see any letters in the revision number so I don’t think it is a revision number issue. Anyway why would they leave an error in just this web page and not fix it?

[…] De gjr det igjen

Hver gang en utfordrer blir for stor begynner Microsoft blokkere den aktuelle nettleseren fra sine tjenester. Vil mozilla f […]

general.useragent.override string Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:1.7.8)

I added this string in about:config and every thing works normal for me. Even the send and reply work now. Hope it helps.

In konquer just change the browser id to send identification only leave rest unchecked should work.

[…] омощью не IE браузеров, например Firefox, Safari или OmniWeb. Подробнее ->> И?точник: linux.org.ru […]

Quote mr. T “Nicely written, but I must pick one nit: Your assertion that 65 million downloads means 65 million users is not justified.”
For ex: I, as a system administrator, download once, but distributed over two hundreds computers…. 🙂 and so on

I saw this last night on Linux with Firefox but on the earthlink.net tech support pages! Is this a Windows server thing and not just MS sites that do it? Hmmm…

Recently I’ve been playing with ASP.net 2.0 beta, and it refuses to allow FireFox to let me view a page on the server. Spits out an error about permissions.

It’s probably a bug though. I wanna wait til the final to jump to mindless conconclusions.

I am begining to suspect a bigger issue, I have been using FireFox and the new Netscape 8 for a while now, and were working fine. Recently there was a few Microsoft security updates loaded, Now, the Netscape and FireFox are crashing where they didn’t before… Is Microsoft up to old tricks again???

Anyone else having the same problems?? ❓

Bill Gates is too slippery of a snake to actually order something to be broken (Microsoft’s mandatory e-mail deletion policies lubes him up to make him even more greasy) on purpose–but over and over again–just not making it compatible with everything else is probably his favorite club in the bag. I am a Web designer, and IE5.0 doesn’t BREAK a set of standards–they don’t render them properly. And, IE 5.5 and IE 6.0 each fail to render their own, different set of standards. Ultimately, the pain of me having to add workarounds for all three poorly-behaving browsers to my style sheets is supposed to break me down and just start building sites that display properly in the IE family and majority of users. I don’t think so . . . .

Lol surely this can’t help Microsofts image right now especially with their next release looming and MACOS coming to a Pentium chip. Its like an election and man they haven’t been gaining any votes from me for a long time.
However this is just what can be expected from a group of people where Windows hasn’t shown any innovation since windows 95. They were more so bug fixes than anything else at least in my humble opinion

Lets see some opens standards/source I have broken/ or stolen from:
IMAP
CSS
Kerberos
The BSD TCP/IP Stack
java
http
dav
html
xml
soap
LDAP
IPSec

Hey don’t think that! It’s copyrighted, trademarked and I own it! and you

I have experienced the same borking of FF after an “M$ Windoze Update” in that FF refuses to go to any webpages. I have yet to check noted bugs in the database or threads, it’s just odd that it occurred AFTER a windoze update…..

Bill came out of nowhere and stuck it to some of the biggest names in IT, and hes just trying to make sure he doesnt make the same mistakes they did.

Leave a Reply to Igor Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.