PERHAPS REALISING THAT industry standards are the way forward,Microsofthas started to promote HTML5.Although HTMl5 is far from being a finalised standard, just about everyone, from browser developers to users, are eagerly awaiting the finalisation of what is being promoted as “the next version of the web”. . Now it seems thatMicrosoft, which traditionally prefers a go-it-alone strategy when it comes to industry standards, has joined in to sing the praises of HTML5.In atalk at the Vole’s PDC 2010 conference, Giorgio Sardo, senior technical evangelist at Microsoft waxed lyrical about what HTML5 can bring for developers and users. Sardo even went so far as to say that HTML5 isn’t just a “marketing message”, that it is a critical component and it is “very important to make it right”.Representatives from Microsoft, IBM andApple chair the W3C HTML working group that is in the process of defining the HTML5 standard. Aside from pushing HTML5, which isn’t particularly hard given the failings of popular plug-in software such as Adobe’sFlash Player, Sardo didn’t waste the opportunity to promote the performance of Microsoft’s upcoming Internet Explorer 9 (IE 9) web browser.Apparently the latest beta release of IE 9 has managed to pass more CSS 2.1 tests than Firefox 4 beta 6, Opera 10.70 and Safari 5.0.2.In a separateannouncement, Microsoft claimed that it had managed to shift 10 million copies of its IE 9 beta in the first six weeks of its availability. Apparently this is because of the “significant improvements in browsing that IE9 brings to the web”, not just IE 8.All this talk of embracing HTML5 is good news for those involved in developing websites or just viewing them. It might mean that developers don’t have to spend hours checking whether Microsoft’s browsers render their code correctly. For users it should mean greater functionality without the need to install cumbersome browser plug-ins.If Microsoft is serious about embracing real industry standards in some of its other products then perhaps the company might be able to begin shaking off its image as a bully that runs roughshod over legitimate standards to promote its own proprietary, closed software and interfaces.