Microsoft have released the latest version of their web browser, Internet Explorer 9, with many advances and claims that it is leagues ahead of the competitors.
Is any of this true? Should you download the latest version?
Well, first of all, the software that they've released is only a "release candidate", not the final version. This means that they are expecting you to test it for them for free.
You've spent a lot of your hard earned money on their software (and usually been stung in reward) and now they want you to test their latest software for them, for free.
So, putting that aside, what about their claims? Are they true?
Microsoft have said "This release is one that is playing catch up [on past releases], but it leapfrogs everything and now you see the other folks on the back foot trying to catch up with us"
So at least Microsoft have admitted that all of their previous versions were worse than the competitors. But has it "leapfrogged everything"?
"Hardware acceleration was something no one was talking about until we did it".
Well actually, that's irrelevant. Pretty much all of the other browsers are faster than Internet Explorer. They've all already addressed their performance issues while Microsoft did nothing.
"No one else was talking about privacy and tracking until we did it".
That's a complete lie. Internet Explorer has the least privacy and the most tracking of any major browser. All of the other browsers addressed privacy and tracking years ago.
Microsoft are also pushing the expanded support for HTML5, the latest version of the language that websites are written in.
However, we would have preferred it if they had focused their efforts on getting it to work properly with HTML4 before progressing to the next level. Internet Explorer's poor adherence to the existing web language standards has been the bane of existence for every web developer the world over. It makes designing websites that look and behave the same on everyone's computer really difficult. I think all web designers would rather they just fixed their existing problems before moving onto the next topic for them to mess up.
Oh, and yes, all of the other browsers have been supporting HTML5 for a long time too.
So in short, no, Microsoft are not one iota ahead of the competition and are still leagues behind it. They will still annoy every web designer the world over by making our lives difficult. Their latest version may be more secure and more private than previous versions, but hey, that's nothing to brag about.
It's a nice try, Microsoft, but you're not fooling anybody.
As usual, if you are using Internet Explorer, for your own security and safety, we recommend upgrading to a mature browser such as Firefox, Opera or Safari (there are many others to try as well). If you are already using one of these browsers, please don't be tricked into thinking it's safe to go back into the Internet Explorer water...
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