Space Ramblings

The Internet Explorer 8 preview

I was one of those who quite underwhelmed and more than a little bit annoyed by Internet Explorer 7 and baffled by even the most lukewarm praise it was getting. This wasn’t simple a knee jerk reaction on my part of being a Firefox fanboy. I like Firefox but that ardor has cooled, especially since it’s obvious that Firefox 3 continues to have serious problems such as the CPU leak that’s as bad as Firefox 2’s memory leak. I would welcome Microsoft developing and deploying a serious browser.

Unfortunately Internet Explorer 7 felt like My First Browser, with its oversized buttons and determination to uselessly rearrange the control scheme, clumsy tabbed browsing and general slapdash feel. Now Microsoft appears to be doing with Internet Explorer 8 what it did with Internet Explorer 7, that is playing catch up with the features that were in the released version of Firefox that beat their last entry. And of course that’s basically a recipe for disaster. Internet Explorer is no longer the confident market leader that it can simply afford to paste on slapdash versions of Firefox features and assume the public will be happy with them and won’t recognize their source. That dog won’t hunt anymore.

To beat Firefox, Internet Explorer 8 needs to beat Firefox 4 instead of trying to match Firefox 3. Racing Firefox 3 won’t help much when Mozilla releases Firefox 4 with a whole new set of gosh wow features that will easily overshadow the poor imitations in Internet Explorer 8. It’s nice that Internet Explorer 8 may finally nail down that whole tabbed browsing thing, that Firefox has had practically forever. InPrivate Browsing will probably play well with the general public, without being used much. Beyond that and some security updates, it’s likely to be business as usual and that just won’t be enough.

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