back to article Microsoft bribes Oz to ditch Firefox

Microsoft isn't just bribing people to use its search engine. It's bribing people to ditch Firefox for Internet Explorer. "We're buried $10,000 somewhere on the internet and if you're the first one to find it, you get to keep it," Microsoft's Australian arm has told the Land of Oz. "But you'll never find it using old Firefox …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh Jesus Christ

    Did they hire the same great team that dreamed up "Della" for Dell?

  2. Anonymous Coward

    User Agent Switcher

    ... in Firefox, even on Linux (!!), works just fine. You can just edit the provided IE 7 agent or use these settings (they work):

    Description: Internet Explorer 8 (Windows Vista)

    User Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; MSIE 8.0; Windows NT 6.1)

    App Name: Microsoft Internet Explorer

    App Version: 5.0 (compatible; MSIE 8.0; Windows NT 6.1)

    Platform: Win32

  3. Adam 10


    I agree with what they all said, I think <insert name of multinational> are really bad for promoting <insert name of product A> when I can use <insert name of product B> which is much better than <Product A> and <Product C>. I use <insert name of OS> anyway so it doesn't affect me.

    Isn't that how comments are usually written for a web browser or OS article? ;-)

    Anyway, doesn't this prove that Internet Exploiter really makes you more productive than DireFox? Provided you find the $10K of course!

  4. Ivor
    Thumb Down


    meh it just says "never find it using that browser" in konqueror.

    I see they've now changed the abuse from "get lost." to "get lost..." with a rollover that says "lost in the hunt".

  5. Matt Bradley

    A gift to driveby scammers

    Is this for real? Is it April 1st again?

    Assuming that it is (and I'm finding it very hard to believe) - it means that Microsoft have launched IE8 in Aus with a BUILT IN gift for driveby download and phishing scammers. All some enterprising scammer has to do now, is start sending out emails subject: "Find the secret MS $10,000", containing a link to a dodgy scam site, and entrants into to this new MS contestant will have their brand new IE8 browser used to steal their identity, or install malware on their machines.

    This is BRILLIANT. Can't wait for the IE8 news stories from Aus over the next few months.

    Wheres the "laughing my b***cks off" icon?

  6. Bernie 2

    Gee...'d think M$ could afford a nicer price.

    It'd take you half an hour to win more money than that on most cheapo day time TV game shows.

    Maybe if they were pitching a Ferrari or a new house or your own call girl or something it might be worth installing a UA switcher on Firefox and giving it a go.

    As it stands, who cares.

  7. Robert Forsyth

    Good Publicity, Bad Publicity

    it's all Publicity.

    As someone pointed out, it is incredibly cheap advertising.

    Also pointed out, if GNU/Linux doesn't 'sell', because it is free*, people will be removing IE8 like mad.

    *free - they are giving it away, it must be a turkey.

    It annoys me when the Goliath does this, but we seem to be lacking Davids - it is like a Hollywood movie in negative: the big, evil, anti-American corporation, doesn't get blown to bits at the end.

  8. Lionel Baden 1


    can i use firefox with ie add on ??

  9. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

    @ the word

    Isn't that two words?


  10. Martin 74

    MS not got their own storage????

    The background image on their Twitter page is stored in Amazon's cloud:

    Does M$ not have their own webspace!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I am not getting the nasty message about not using IE8 when I go on the page, they taken that bit out?!?!

    The working is confusing, it doesn't quite say in the T+C that it is IE8 exclusive:

    7. The Clues URL and Hidden Webpage can be viewed in Internet Explorer 8.

    CAN be viewed in IE8 and other browsers also?!?????

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    RE: ie is the only browser with this, this, this...

    fink wrote: ""

    It's such a heap of BS. I mean everyone with half a brain knows Internet Exploiter is a pile of poo.

    Microsoft have set the criteria for compairson so obviously they've chosen ones they think they can win. Even then, it's mostly innuendo and lies!

  12. Andy 13

    Read my middle finger M$

    Your ugly grey rectangular virus inducer won't run on my operating system.

  13. Linbox

    You can use FF

    My machine has IE8 installed (for compatibility reasons) but I never use it. I don't have anything "clever" enabled in FF and yet that website is more than happy to show me the clues. It looks as though having IE8 installed is enough...?!?

    Can anybody else confirm?

  14. John Molloy

    Not Just Firefox...

    Basically it comes up with the browser you are using - quite a few of us Mac people were complaining YESTERDAY about it's demolition of Safari. So it's not basically picking on FIrefox - it's just picking on EVERYTHING which is NOT IE8.

    The wording was amusing though - but they'd never get away with it in the UK.

  15. Jesthar
    Gates Horns

    Red rag to the Opensource brigade, then...

    ... as unless it's something preclusive like a craptiveX widget, they're gonna find a way to hack it just for the bragging rights and the chance to rub M$ noses in the doodoo - even just make it work in an older version of IE, of course, but one of the 'alternate' browsers would be best!

    And as an aside, a colleague of mine who works for a sizeable IT company told me yesterday to avoid IE8 like the plague, as the 'advanced' security was playing havoc with their ability to do any legitimate work involving anything IE had chosed to define as 'potentially dodgy' (which apparantly includes Java, and possibly elements of JavaScript, too, at first sight), and trying to disable the offending 'features' is a nightmare...

  16. g e

    I have concealed $20,000 on the net

    But you'll not be able to find it in any version of Internet Explorer as it's a standards-compliant site.

  17. Anonymous Coward

    @Mark 149

    You, me, outside, now.

  18. Tony Smith 1

    First Security Issue (1 of many?) uses an invalid security certificate.

    The certificate is only valid for the following names: ,

    Typical MS really, they have not thought this through have they

  19. Shakje

    @Lindsay Roberts

    No wonder your customers ARE NOT HAPPY!!!1 They're paying someone almost $10,000 who DOESN'T under$tand HOW to USE CAPS LOCK or a $ sign. Seriously, Windows Update updating a piece of software? Who'd of thought.

    In related news, what twat thought this was a good idea? Although Fink's link is actually worse..

  20. Tony Smith 1

    Am I doing something wrong?

    This displays fine in Firefox 3.0.10 running on Kubuntu 8.04

    I don't have any user agent modifications.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    @Lindsay Roberts

    Then clearly your customers are as thick as a whale omlette as IE8 is not a critical update but a recommended one.

    If they cant read or understand what they are installing then there lack of intelligence is hardly the fault of MS.

    IE8 works, simple.

  22. CorpusCani


    I REALLY wish I hadn't read that, I felt a rash of sudden anger and vitriol nearly explode out of me...

    IE8 MORE standards compliant my arse... and its CSS implementation is buggy.

    There appears to be a bug with the min-height attribute when styling a unique element by "id", the content ceases to define the height so, with overflow: hidden, it'll get cropped - it's fine if you assign the styles inline or by "class". The cascade inheritance model seems to be somewhat broken - any styling associated with an "id" takes precedence over anything else. So if you define an "id" style in an external CSS file it will override any inline styles that should take precedence - you normally wouldn't want to do that anyway but I was trying to work around the previous height bug.

    Internet Explorer 8; It a stinky pile of old shit - just marginally less stinky and less shit than previous versions.

  23. northern monkey


    oh my god, I think I've just done some damage to my sides!!

    I can't imagine the microsoft bods could write that without tongue firmly planted in cheek either!

  24. A B 3
    Gates Halo

    Don't knock Oztralia Bub

    Here's a quickie on Australia:

    * The ACT is full of pollies and public servants.

    * The harbour bridge (in Sydney NSW) is one of the worlds widest bridges.

    * Melbourne has trams.

    * Tasmania is bloody cold.

    Home to worlds most deadly snake:

    Eastern Taipan (snake): Can kill you in 30 milliseconds. Will bite you 9 to 20 times. Mostly in the balls.

  25. andy gibson

    Firefox should turn this around

    This would be a great way for Firefox et al to show people that vulnerabilities will exist in IE8 that can be exploited if a site can be written in this way!

  26. WhatWasThat?

    UA Point of order

    I notice that the app name is "Microsoft Internet Explorer", but wasn't IE8 renamed to "Windows Internet Explorer"?

    Unfortunately, I am at work and mandated to use IE8 already, so I cannot test this. Anyone?

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What's happening to The Register?

    "Microsoft isn't just bribing people to use its search engine. It's bribing people to ditch Firefox for Windows Explorer."

    You mean Internet Explorer, not Windows Explorer - the desktop file browser and manager.

    I'm not being a pedantic nerd or moaning specifically about this one mistake, but I really am surprised that someone on a website like this has made that kind of 'housewife' mistake. I've noticed a lot of this sort of thing on The Register lately. There were three Opera articles in a row where different writers clearly didn't know what they were writing about, and the same things have been happening in other articles about everything from hardware to software to business.

    And with a growing trend to just rehash press releases, the Reg 's IT reportage is slowly turning into that of the BBC or ZDnet, complete with perfectly acceptable comments sometimes failing to show up. Has something changed at the top or has there been some kind of recent exodus/walkout?

  28. Eduard Coli

    We should help them to help themselves

    I think the best thing to do would be to use our Windows botnets to at least find the page M$ is proffering and post it for all in good land down under to see, possible if they load a small app of ours.

  29. Martin Smith 2

    First Clue

    "3000 Upside Down" = WWW

  30. Meaty

    If IE8 is the only browser that works with the webpage..

    Then they aren't following standards. AGAIN.

  31. JP Strauss

    I think I found the $10000!!!!

    I visited this one site and it said I was the 100 000 000th user and that I have won $10000!

  32. Defiant
    Thumb Up


    Great news, Firefox have been dirty so why shouldn't Microsoft play them at their own game

  33. Stephen Bungay
    Jobs Horns

    So EMbrace Extend Extinguish lives on...

    It occurs to me that M$ is embracing it's old ways, extending the functionality of it's browser in an attempt to extinguish the competition. As the saying goes... a leopard can not change it's spots.

    Rule #1: Don't deal with Microsoft

    Rule #2: See Rule #1

  34. Anonymous Coward

    If you're the first Microsoft whore

    Rest assured you won't be the last......

  35. Anonymous Coward

    You have won!

    Send me your bank details and we'll transfer the money directly from my our dead uncle's second cousin's dictatorship slush fund....

    oh bother, I messed it up again, didn't I?

    Twitter, AUD, IE8 - I'm not sure which is the worst!

  36. mike 92

    First Spoof?

    Zoom in and enjoy

  37. Dave 129

    Had fun with that yesterday

    The Australian site was working, then not, then going to a 'live' search result, then working. Then only working in IE8, then working again in Opera and FF. The other site ( or whatever) never worked yesterday (yesterday being Thursday 18th June) for me.

    Of course it's all largely redundant as you can just set Firefox's UA to the exact same thing as IE8s, so unless the target site has the thing hidden in some custom (probably unsigned) Active-X control, there's no way to stop a Firefox user. And yes because I was bored enough I really did grab UA Switcher and copy and paste the UA from IE8 into it *cough* Worked fine too.

  38. marschw

    Apparently it works on lynx

    So, uh, I guess text-mode browsers work too:

  39. Anonymous Coward

    I note that ...

    I note that the BBC didn't cover this story at all. Normally their "tech" (really loose quotes) department are always brimming over the top every time there's some Microsoft news.

    Perhaps it's all part of their unbiased approach.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Am I doing something wrong?

    Don't know, shows up fine in F10 w/FF 3.0.11

  41. cordwainer 1
    Gates Horns

    Would this contest even be allowed in the US?

    It's my understanding that under US law, no purchase can be required in order for someone to enter any contest or sweepstakes. The Terms and Conditions for this contest make no mention of a similar restriction.

    So here in the US, one could fairly easily argue the contest should be declared invalid: not everyone uses Windows, and owners of other OS's might possibly need to expend a some amount of money to obtain or access a Windows machine.

    Frankly, my guess is that's WHY the contest is based in Australia. Of course, everything M$ does makes me suspicious they're trying to do an end run around something. >:->

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Please don't use UA switcher...

    $AU 10,000 isn't really a lot of money. About £3500 or so.

    Your chances of getting that cash are pretty slim.

    All in all, you stand a very small chance of coming out of this ahead.

    But by feigning using IE8, you're handing MS a major publicity coup - "Look at the Beeeelions of IE8 users on the web. They're everywhere".

    This is a *very* cheap way for MS to inflate their browser statistice. And we should not help them to do that.

  43. Dr. E. Amweaver
    Thumb Down

    In a word...


    Red rag to both proper developers and haX0rs everywhere, not to mention anyone who wants to do a fake "you've just won... now give us your bank details so we can pay you" to fool any bogan who runs across it.

    Also, @ AB3, I think the pTerry take on Australia is appropriate. The invaluable part-work "Dangerous Mammals, Reptiles, Amphibians, Birds, Fish, Jellyfish, Insects, Spiders, Crustaceans, Grasses, Trees, Mosses and Lichens of Terror Incognita" extends at least into "Volume 29c Part Three", while a list of the harmless ones contains only "Some of the sheep."

  44. Andrew Punch

    Let me know...

    when there is beer involved.

    -An Australian


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