Microsoft’s Internet Explorer sucks monkey balls.
I don’t care which version you are using but when a site displays properly in every other browser than in any version of Internet Explorer – including IE8 – then I’m sorry but Redmond we have a problem.This was re-enforced for me the other day when I posted on one of my other blogs, WinExtra, about a new developer tool called IETester. With the program you can view any site in all versions of IE – 5.5 right through to 7 – which I did with WinExtra for the post and this is the result
Now this is the same site that display nicely in Safari, Google Chrome, and Firefox. Yet when it comes to Internet Explorer it is a mess. It is no wonder that web developers pull out their rapidly graying hair when it comes to designing sites.
It’s an acknowledge fact that Microsoft is facing some serious competition in the web browser space and while IE8 is an improvement – more so for the casual surfer – it still doesn’t come close to Google Chrome or Firefox or even Safari. The only reason that it is still maintaining any kind of lead is because of its broad adoption in the corporate world. In the majority of cases I would think it is because of legacy web apps used in-hose by companies on their Intranets.
As the browser becomes more of a vehicle for the increasing use of cloud based application IE is being out shadowed by its rivals. With the introduction of Google’s Chrome Frame plugin for IE Microsoft is being placed on notice that the web will continue to move forward with or without them. Granted for Chrome Frame to work it requires both the developers to include a single line of code in their web pages and for users to download and install the plugin but that is something we could see a rapid adoption of by both sides of the coin.
I have said many times at different places that Microsoft needs to seriously rethink its whole browser strategy because they are in real danger of becoming a bit player in that space if they keep on going the way that they are. It’s not like Microsoft doesn’t have the talent to create a killer browser but between being hampered by the legacy monster they created for themselves with businesses and seeming reluctance to truly innovate in the space they are fighting with both hands behind their back.
Louis Gray asked the other day if Microsoft should fight back against the Chrome Frame plugin and other than a bunch of FUD about security as the guys over at Ars Technica reported Microsoft hasn’t said much on the matter. I don’t think they should either because this is actually a good thing to happen for the company.
Look at it this way – they could quietly accept the presence of the plugin and it’s ability to bring one of the worst browsers in the history of the web (IE6) into the modern world while at the same time start working on a new browser from the ground up. Any legacy problems due to IE not being updated to current versions could be pretty well be handled by Chrome Frame. This would open up Microsoft to seriously thinking of going the same route as both Apple and Google by building a new browser around the much better WebKit engine.
This would serve Microsoft well on two fronts. One, it would give them the potential to get back in the browser game especially if they let their incredibly talented developer loose to truly innovate in the space. Two, it would increase their open source creds that is already getting stronger given some of their more recent moves with their code and software. In addition because the WebKit is an open source project it would benefit incredibly by have three of the major software / web companies involved.
Microsoft may not like the idea of Google making Chrome Frame available but it could be a blessing in disguise if they decided to take advantage of it.