Internet Explorer – IE. From its controversial naming and early development days since its first release Microsoft’s flagship web browser has been ever present for the vast majority of computer users whenever the internet is mentioned. In fact, many, many people assume that the blue “e” is in fact “the internet”. The symbol synonymous with the internet.
[note: Microsoft Vista/7 users only]
End users, your average computer user browsing the web, simply used the tool at hand which through the 90’s for around 90% of the internet community was IE. Designers, specifically web designers, did not like IE. Microsoft had their own ideas as to how to render HTML code resulting in websites displaying different across different versions of their own product, let alone on different browsers from other manufacturers e.g. Netscape (to become Mozilla).
Competing browsers soon came to the fore to fight the “browser wars” which has resulted in the market share shifting significantly with IE, Firefox, Opera, Chrome and Safari jostling for position with the largest user base.
It cannot be underestimated the negative impact on website development IE5 and particularly IE6 has had on the internet. In fact one could argue that these 2 releases alone have resulted in hundreds of thousands of design and developer man hours being lost whilst they wrestle with generating cross-browser compliant websites.
It could be argued that IE5 and IE6 were the catalysts to the ever decreasing market share in Browser usage with more compliant and stable alternatives e.g. Firefox, Safari, Opera taking the lead.
The launch of IE7 and IE8 went some way to stemming the tide and maintaining Microsoft’s lead in the browser market share.
With the imminent release of IE9 Microsoft are hoping that their new standards compliant, faster and more responsive browser will win back many of the IE users of old.
Many examples listed on http://ie.microsoft.com/testdrive/ show IE9 running substantially faster when compared to other modern browsers. In fact, in using the BETA of IE we have found many things that really make this browser stand out and ensure that it is a serious threat to the current browsers in the market and one of the most important browser releases of recent times.
Download IE9 Beta here
[Note: IE9 is not available for Microsoft XP users]