piffle and balderdash
This forces web designers to prioritize coding for IE. Coding for standards-compliant browsers becomes a secondary consideration.
Bollocks basically - it's not _that_ hard to write standards compliant code that will work on IE 7 - mostly. You need to just accept that the DOM is broken and to be careful with your CSS use. For instance if you want to make a DIV 200 pixels wide with a padding of 10 pixels instead of making 1 div 220px wide, make a 200px wide div and put another div inside it with "width: auto; padding: 10px;" - problem solved.
The biggest issues are things that are obviously missing from IE - obj.setAttribute() for instance.
Define Standard - the irony here is that MS have representatives in the W3C so they do, in part, help define the standards - they don't however adhere to those standards that they helped create.
Furthermore, you can't claim that IE is "standard" - there is still a split between IE6 and IE7 in the wild (even some instances of IE5 still) - and they handle CSS/JS/DOM differently and so should really be considered different browsers.
Here's the browser stats from the W3Schools site for Jan 08 - bear in mind the site is fairly techy and therefore more likely to attract erm, well, techies:
By that metric Firefox is the standard - if you wanted to get really silly, you could add up the values for Firefox, Opera, Mozilla and Safari - since they are ALL (pretty much) "W3C Standards compliant" and so render the same - it's only IE that isn't.
You get slightly different results from my work website (a largely non-techie user base):
Standards compliant browsers: ~20%
IE7 is by far the most popular, but thankfully it's also the version (of IE) which most closely follows the W3C standards so you can sort of code for IE7+Standards browsers to cover 73% of the user-base; drop your CSS to the basic IE6 implementation and use JS _very_ sparingly and you cover 99% of the user-base.
Basically, to keep IE happy, follow the standards from about 5 years ago and you should be OK. IE is _badly_ in need of updating, and IE users really need to update their browser - there really shoudn't BE any instances of IE <7 left.
The way "standards" actually come about are that browsers conform to a standard, they then extend that standard - filter: alpha(opacity=x); for instance, the extension gains popularity and is modifed to become part of the next standard - that defines the standard.
Someone came up with the idea of semi-transparent objects (possibly even MS) and the "alpha/opacity filter" spread with IE and Firefox having different implementations. Eventually both implementations were scrapped and "opacity: 0.x;" became the standard. Firefox, Opera et al were all updated to conform to this new standard but IE7 still languishes behind with their old "filter:alpha".
Having won the "browser wars" first time around and getting IE on every desktop has meant that MS haven't done anything serious with it for years - even version 7 didn't greatly improve the underlying rendering engine.
Posted AC so that you can't match those stats up to where I work by using "me" as a commonality!