Say Goodbye to Microsoft Webfonts?

August 19, 2002 | Rants and Raves | By: Mark VandeWettering

I love twiddling around with fonts, but let’s face it: most of them completely suck, especially for display on screens and in web browser. Without any doubt, the best widely available fonts were Microsoft’s core webfonts, which used to be freely downloadable from their website. Unfortunately, they recently
announced that they were withdrawing free downloads of these fonts.

They cited "abuse" as the reason that these fonts were withdrawn. Apparently they were
being repackaged and distributed with other packages against the provisions of their EULA. It’s unfortunate that they have chosen to do this, as the idea of creating high quality standard fonts clearly benefits the creation of high quality content on the Internet, something that it seems would be in their
best interest to promote. Their original promotion of these fonts as technology which is useable to
make attractive websites was laudable, as they were clearly much better than available alternatives. I viewed this as a rare case of clear thinking on their part, if not actual altruism.

It is completely unclear to me how the withdrawal of these fonts from easy availability does anything to
enhance Microsoft’s bottom line. By making such fonts more difficult to acquire, it merely fuels the need
to generate reasonable alternatives.