Did Microsoft Cripple Firefox on MSN.com?

UPDATE, August 8th: Someone pointed out an example of Microsoft feeding different (less) content to Opera browsers. Also read another story about MSN crippling Mozilla browsers on MSN.com. It looks like Microsoft is using the unfair leverage of their monopoly to cripple the competition's software.

UPDATE, September 15th: It appears that MSN.com has been fixed and Firefox middle-click works again with the default user agent.

UPDATE, October 3rd: See also the post about MSN.com not sending referrers when using Firefox on seorockstars.com.

Did Microsoft Recently Cripple Firefox on MSN.com?

There was a time when you could go to Hotmail with Firefox and middle-click (or Ctrl-click) in order to open a link in a new tab. It suddenly stopped working one day as Microsoft added JavaScript to the links.

I just noticed that the links on MSN.com were not opening in tabs in Firefox on Ubuntu. Is Microsoft intentionally adding JavaScript to their web sites to cause Firefox to be incompatible?

Here is a snippet from when I viewed the source of MSN.com:

var firefox = (navigator.userAgent.indexOf("Firefox") != -1);
if (firefox)
	var s = document.createElement("script");
	s.setAttribute("src", "http://stj.msn.com/br/hp/framework/1/AtlasCompat.js");

Just to be sure, I turned off JavaScript and tried to open a link in a new tab with a middle-click. With JavaScript turned off, it worked. I then turned JavaScript back on and tried again. It didn't work. Then I set my user agent to IE6 on Windows XP (even though I was using Firefox on Ubuntu) and tried again. With the user agent set to IE, Firefox had full functionality on MSN.com.

I didn't look at all of the JavaScript. Maybe someone is interested in investigating this more closely. Unfair business practices?

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