Internet Explorer 8 Arrives on Crowded Browser Scene
March 19, 2009
Microsoft will make the latest version of Internet Explorer, the world’s most popular web browser, available for download from 4pm (GMT) today (Thursday).
Microsoft claims that the Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) is faster, more user-friendly and more secure than previous versions.
Steve Ballmer, the chief executive officer of Microsoft, said: “With Internet Explorer 8, we are delivering a browser that gets people to the information they need, fast, and provides protection that no other browser can match.”
One of the key new features of IE8 is “Accelerators”, which allow surfers to perform common tasks, such as looking up an address on a map, without navigating first to a separate website. Web users can also keep an eye on their favourite sites by using “Web Slices”, which are stored in the redesigned favourites bar and flash when a site is updated.
Internet Explorer is currently used as a main browser on around 67 per cent of the world’s computers. This represents a decline from a peak of around 91 per cent in 2004, since which time rival browsers such as Mozilla’s Firefox, Apple’s Safari and, most recently, Google’s Chrome have started to eat into IE’s market share.
Internet Explorer’s dominance has attracted criticism and controversy in equal measure, not least with the European Commission, which in January announced its intention to investigate Microsoft’s practice of bundling Internet Explorer with its Windows operating systems, stating: "Microsoft's tying of Internet Explorer to the Windows operating system harms competition between web browsers, undermines product innovation and ultimately reduces consumer choice." Microsoft has already been fined over $1 billion by the Commission for bundling Windows Media Player in with its operating system.
On the internet, IE’s dominance has also caused problems, as the browser’s ubiquity has made it a favourite target for hackers preying on its programming vulnerabilities. If Microsoft is to claw back some of its lost market share, it must convince people that the new IE is more secure. Microsoft claims that IE8 offers the best security features among leading browsers, and that Internet Explorer 8 blocks two to four times as many malicious sites as competing browsers.
Internet Explorer 8 will be available as a free download from 4pm (GMT), at http://www.microsoft.com/ie8
Source: Internet Explorer | Times Online