CSS 2D transforms do not work when applied to inline elements.
This has been previously raised in bug #24919, but that bug was closed and it was claimed that transforms only apply to inline elements. This is not correct, according to the spec both inline and block-level elements are supported. Also, both Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft IE9 support 2D transforms on inline elements.
Some discussion on this issue in the www-style mailing list here: http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-style/2010Nov/thread.html#msg222
The spec will be updated to clarify that transforms are not applied to inline elements (but are applied to inline-level elements like inline-block, and to replaced elements).
But that was not the consensus reached in the www-style thread, and it is not how IE, Firefox, or Opera's implementation of 2D transforms work.
I will have to raise this on www-style.
I didn't see any specific objections to my proposal at <http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-style/2010Nov/0222.html>