From this article on AppleInsider, Steve Ballmer mentioned that WebKit, the open source web engine, was considered for the next version of Internet Explorer, and may still be looked at. WebKit, built of the KHTML engine used in KDE’s Konqueror web browser, is fully open source, and has the ability to incorporate new web standards faster than would a proprietary base, such as Internet Explorer 7 and 8.
What Mr. Ballmer missed however, is the point. The article states of the question posed by a student:
“That’s cheeky, but a good question, but cheeky,” Ballmer replied, according to a report by TechWorld. Ballmer explained that Microsoft would need to consider the future of the browser and determine if there is any lack of innovation for the company to capitalize upon with ‘proprietary extensions that broaden its functionality.’
Laughably, Microsoft still doesn’t get it. Proprietary extensions are only used to lock down the web, so only certain people can see all the content. Microsoft is now stuck between a rock and a hard place, as Firefox and Safari both gaining ground on the browser. So, their last move is to lock in the browser with proprietary extensions to render the other browsers obsolete. The only problem — those proprietary standards must be used by web services, something most are not wanting to do, with open source browsers becoming ever more popular.