Users of Windows Live Hotmail have experienced difficulties in accessing Microsoft's email service when using Firefox, a representative of the Redmond company revealed. Using Mozilla's open source browser prevented Windows Live Hotmail from functioning normally, killing the most basic features of the service. According to Microsoft, the problem lies only partially with Firefox, as the browser provides the foundation for the Adblock add-on. Ellie Powers-Boyle, Windows Live Hotmail Program Manager pointed to the extension as the source of the issues associated with the company's email service becoming unusable.
Adblock is a third party open source program designed to run on top of Firefox and block the serving of online advertising when visiting websites with Mozilla's browser. The add-on permits users to create customizable filters and to block ad elements and their source-address. "We've had some reports, and our QA team has confirmed that having the Firefox Adblock add-on enabled for the Hotmail site can make it impossible to compose or reply to a message in the full version. This does not affect Internet Explorer users or Firefox users who do not have the Adblock add-on. Depending on which Adblock filters you've created, you may or may not be affected," Powers-Boyle explained.
While Microsoft tested Windows Live Hotmail to ensure full Firefox compatibility and support, the company failed to do the same for the extensions in the add-on ecosystem built around the open source browser. "The Hotmail team does cross-browser testing, including full Firefox testing - it's important to us that you can get to your e-mail from anywhere. Unfortunately, it's not possible to test every browser add-on, so sometimes things break, and thanks for your prompt reports of this problem," Powers-Boyle added.
Adblock proved to be one of the most popular add-ons for Firefox, but the popularity is limited to the end users. Because it prevents online advertising from being displayed along with free content, Adblock does not have a similar appeal to website owners, and Microsoft is no exception. The Redmond company specifically emphasized that it in no way condones the suppression of advertising in its otherwise free online products. Still, this time around, Powers-Boyle indicated that the add-on can deliver some unwanted side effects.
"We're working how to mitigate this problem in a future release. In the meantime, if you're having problems composing or replying in Firefox, you have two options. Either disable Adblock for Hotmail. You could also try tweaking your filters, but the foolproof method is to go to Tools --> Adblock --> and select "Whitelist this whole site." Or switch to the classic version. This means clicking the "Switch to classic" link that you see in the lower left corner," Powers-Boyle explained.