Browser Wars Episode V: The Angry Birds Era

It’s back on again. Five times makes an institution, I suppose, despite what some feel is an anachronistic name (“Browser WARS? Haven’t you won already?”). This year, with Angry Birds getting at least an honorable mention. March 10 2012, from 5PM – 6PM, at Salon K of the Hilton Hotel in Austin, Texas, for SxSW.

I can’t seem to stay away. This is a vibrant space, and the very smart people I will moderate during Saturday’s discussion are the forerunners of it: Brendan Eich, who invented JavaScript, and is Mozilla’s CTO; Chris Wilson, who worked on every version of IE till IE8 and now works on Chrome for Google (we’re thrilled to have him back, following a brief moratorium); Charles McCathie Nevile, Opera’s Chief Standards Officer, back again this year; and John Hrvatin, IE’s Program Manager and a veteran from last year.

The technologies that we steward here have profound implications for society, and an hour is tight. Recently, Microsoft protested about how Google circumvents privacy in IE and Safari (showing, amongst other things, that two players, Google and Microsoft, are at loggerheads frequently).

Then, there are interesting questions about content itself. Should web video have DRM, or is that the real anachronism? Content protection measures in HTML5 Video proposed by Google, Microsoft, and Netflix have been dubbed unethical; parties within one company clearly don’t agree about how to take it forward, but that’s really how the web works (and big organizations like Google).

And then there’s those Angry Birds. Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the web, called for installable web apps to become more widespread, something which Ian Hickson (editor of the HTML5 specification) dubs “anathema.” What prevents Angry Birds from being an HTML5 app on mobile, and what exactly are the application stacks the web is in competition with? Some of our panelists and their organizations have been moved to call us to arms.

Throw in the vendor prefixing controversy (now as seen in the popular press!), SPDY, VP8 and other “non-standard” well-meaning projects, along with the Metro environment’s use of HTML5, and I think we’ve got ourselves enough wheat and chaff for a panel. As usual, audience participation counts for at least one-third of the panel, so come with questions. I look forward to seeing you all there, and to a Saturday night out in Austin after the panel. That’s an institution with longevity, too.

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3 thoughts on “Browser Wars Episode V: The Angry Birds Era”

  1. A bit sad that I’m missing out this year! If you get a chance, I’d love it if, talking about installable apps, there were some kind of standardization on creating them. Using XUL or Jetpack on FF, using Chrome Apps on Chrome, and who knows what on IE, Opera or Safari is just painful.
    Now that market shares are much more equivalent than they used to be, browser vendors need to cooperate!

  2. We’ll miss you this year Julien! I’ll raise this during the panel… there’s been some steps in this direction already — Widgets etc. — but I’m not sure we’re near consensus.

  3. “What prevents Angry Birds from being an HTML5 app on mobile”, one thing that prevents it on iOS devices is that the current HTML5 version of Angry Birds, the one at, requires Flash for the audio.

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