...or; Microsoft blocking Opera users again

There's been some buzz lately about the updated Live Search Maps. Up until now I haven't been able to see it, something I figured was due to internationalization issues. Though after reading the comments to Scoble's recent post, I decided to look into it again; Turns out it's just Microsoft harassing (blocking) Opera users (again).

A web page with two simple search fields (what & where)The reason I figured it was an internationalization issue is that whenever I clicked a link to a mapped location on LSM, I was redirected to intl.local.live.com. A site I, due to the "intl" prefix, assume is an international version of Local Live Search. This again made me assume that all visitors from outside the US were simply redirected to a beta and/or less useful international version. As Microsoft has an annoying habit of delaying web-releases for non-US visitors, I didn't actually think that much about it.

Given Microsoft's lousy track record when it comes to support for "other browsers", I'm a bit surprised that I hadn't already looked further into this. However the following comment reminded me of how things work at 1 Microsoft Way...

Hmmmm... Works in Firefox.
In Safari it just redirects to http://intl.local.live.com/ with the two search boxes.

That sounded very familiar, so I immediately fired up IE to check if it actually was my choice of browser that was keeping me out. Surprise, surprise. Even with IE6, a browser released in 2001 that's far inferior to most other browsers, I could admire "The Scoble mansion" from a (actually rather impressing) bird's eye view. So Microsoft didn't have any issues with my location...

web browser displaying a 'bird's eye view' (photo) of of a beautiful neighborhoodKnowing that LSM could be displayed outside the US, I started wondering it it could be displayed in my browser. I quickly configured Opera to Mask as Internet Explorer and revisited the site. Voila; I had the maps displaying in Opera (the screenshot shows LSMs "Bird's eye view" as rendered in Kestrel). A quick look around confirmed that most things worked without any major issues, the notable exception being that I needed to open an URI twice to open a location and that searching for new locations don't work. I'm however certain that someone at Microsoft could fix these problems quickly if they wanted to.

Isn't this about the same thing Microsoft denied doing, then said they'd stopped doing, then were exposed for doing again and then finally paid up to keep it out of the courts? Maybe its time to make that statement again...

Note: Well what do I know, as mentioned earlier I'm biased. So don't take my word for it, as always I encourage you to look into it for yourself and make up your own mind. I think I should have provided the links and information to get you started...

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