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Monday, October 4, 2010

Browser Wars–Episode 2: The IE Strikes Back

Look, I know that, when it comes to browsers, I’m dealing with a lot of very passionate people.  Most of us have one browser that we support very passionately.  I seem to be the exception, moving from one browser to the other as I get irritated with some feature of my previous one.  However, for the most part, I use Firefox.

But that might be changing soon.  Last week I downloaded and installed the beta of Internet Explorer 9 on my Windows 7 x64 system.  (Just so you know, the IE9 that I tested in one of my previous posts was just a limited demo, not a fully-fledged Beta.)

All I can say is “wow”.  It really seems like the Empire (aka Microsoft) are trying to win this war with a perfect score.  And with IE9, I think it’s completely possible that they will.

After installing and firing it up, my first thought was “Wow, it’s here already?”  Loading in a mere 3 seconds (compared to Firefox’s 5 seconds) is quite the achievement for IE.  My second thought was “These guys are definitely taking a few hints from Google chrome”.  It has a very clean, Chrome-like interface, though in my opinion, IE9 is prettier, sporting the Apple-like polish and sparkle.


But looks aren’t everything.  So I decided to test one of the greatest things that plagued previous tabbed versions of IE: the painfully long wait while tabs are opened.  Well, I clicked the “new tab” option and, voila!  The tab opened instantly.  And not only did it open, it had an automatically-generated list of the sites that I visit most often (just like Speed Dial, but automatic)!

Security was another thing that plagued IE6 and, to a lesser extent, 7.  But most people agree that, since IE8, the security issues are more or less sorted out (as much as security can ever be “sorted out”, anyway).  If you keep your Windows up-to-date (you DO own a legal copy of Windows, don’t you?) you shouldn’t have any problems.

In all honesty, there are only two negative statements that I can make about IE9 at this point.  The first is that I had some slight display problems (specifically some characters overlapping one another, especially in Facebook).  But since this IS still a Beta, that is excusable, and will probably be sorted out in the final release.  The second problem is not Microsoft’s fault or IE-related at all – it’s the problem with Adobe Flash Player’s x64-support.  Getting any Flash-based content to work in Internet Explorer x64 is a royal pain.  But I finally managed to get it working using the beta of Adobe’s Flash Player code-named “Square”.

So why exactly do I think IE might win the browser wars?  Well, Internet Explorer is already the browser that most people use (granted, often simply because they don’t know that there are others out there, and IE is included in Windows in most countries).  Those that don’t use IE use other browsers for the following reasons:

  1. There is some aspect of IE that they hate (that was my reason).
  2. They use an operating system other than Windows.

Well, as far as reason 1 is concerned, with so many of the problems ironed out, I just don’t think I’ll ever go through the trouble of installing another browser again, when I already have an excellent one included in Windows.

The users of Apple, Linux, and other non-MS operating systems – well, IE9 probably won’t have much of an impact on your browsing experience.

But don’t take my word for any of this – go ahead and try IE9 for yourself.  You can download it here: x86 (32-bit) or x64 (64-bit).  After using it for a few days, please feel free to comment.  I’d love to hear your opinions (as long as you agree with me!  Nah, just kidding…)

So, for now, happy browsing!

Lourens, out.


  1. Excuse the outright negative comment: shouldn't you rather link to MS's site directly rather that to a third party site like softonic? I think I know now who put the words 'free download' in their search criteria :-P

    Hopping from one to another browser based on major irritations is a good sign of unbiasedness IMO. Stay objective.

    As for me though, I refuse to download that monopolistic piece o' s*@* software (oops their goes said passion again) And though microsoft seem to -- is it possible? -- seems to have cleaned up their act a bit when it comes to download filesize, FF still beats that by delivering the whole package in a third of the size. No big issue of course -- I just felt like starting a fight. 'course my actual issue with IE (besides it having a horrible ABUSIVE reputation with web standards) is point number 2.

  2. Thanks for the comment! The reason that I use Softonic rather than MS's link is simply because MS's link is an "online installer" and I hate (I mean absolutely HATE!) those. I prefer to download the full package (it's going to get downloaded anyway...) only once, so if I ever have to install it on another PC or re-install it, I don't waste another 100MB or so of my Internet cap.