In a move that has raised eyebrows, Microsoft has submitted a patch to the WebKit project to extend the open source rendering engine with a prototype implementation of the Pointer Events specification thatthe company is also working on together with Google, Mozilla, and Opera. WebKit is the rendering engine used in Apple’s Safari and Google’s Chrome browsers, making Microsoft’s work a contribution to products that are in direct competition to its own.

The patch came from Microsoft Open Technologies, a subsidiary company that Microsoft created in April to serve as a home for all of Microsoft’s work and relationships with open source projects and development of open standards.

Pointer Events is a draft specification that provides a unified event model for multi-touch, pen, and mouse input. It’s the World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) second attempt at a standard for handling touch input. The first specification, Touch Events, has been essentially abandoned. Touch Events were modeled on the proprietary touch API that Apple added to Safari for the iPhone. However, the specification was written without Apple’s involvement, and the Cupertino company refuses to commit to disclosure and royalty-free licensing of any patented technology that might cover the Touch Events spec.

Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

via Ars Technica » Technology Lab