I truely respect the notion that standards are not effective when not respected by the dominate player in the field. This leads to a discussion of course of what does it take when the dominate player doesn't have to abide by the standards because their influence is, by definition, dominate. They can do pretty much what they want - and from a business perspective you can't argue that they've been sucessful. The experience of the poster who said they had no choice but to use IE is exactly what Microsoft would like to occur. However, the other argument that to be secure, you have no choice but to not use IE is also potentially valid as things stand right now.
At any rate, believe it or not, I am not defending Microsoft. It wouldn't matter if it was some other company or not, it's the circumstances that intrest me. How do you create a body of standards that are in fact bigger than any one organization. For example if Microsoft tried to modify TCP/IP that wouldn't fly cause it is truley foundational and bigger than them. Whey they "embrace and extend" which could be seen like Darth Vadar's touch in some minds, is in the interaction of their products. WebDAV comes to mind. Adding verbs that are particular to Microsoft.
As for the charge they intentionally break other people's products, my bias is that is probably not so - at least to a large degree. No more so than any vendor breaks any other vendors thing. They have too much on their plate keeping their own products working. If anyone has a specific example, that would be useful.