• Why Internet Explorer will survive and Firefox won't

    Something extraordinary happened this month. Google released version 10 of its Chrome browser. Microsoft released Internet Explorer 9. And now, after an epic development cycle that included 12 betas, Mozilla has finally said “Ship it” for Firefox 4.
    Three major releases from the three leading browser developers in the same month? That’s unheard of. It took more than 15 years for Internet Explorer to work its way through nine versions. Firefox, which used to be the agile upstart, has taken nearly two years to progress from version 3.5 and nearly three years from version 3.0. It took Google only a bit more than two years to ship Chrome 9 last month, and it was replaced by version 10 just a little over four weeks later.
    That difference in tempo is fundamental to understanding how the computing world has changed. The idea of branded browsers as standalone pieces of software seems increasingly quaint. Google is setting a blistering pace and defining a world where a browser is simply a piece of plumbing that you refresh every few weeks (unless you think that’s just too slow and you want to download a new build every night).

    It’s tempting to look at Microsoft’s history with Internet Explorer and assume that they are just incapable of working at the speed of the Internet. It’s also easy to be skeptical about Mozilla’s ambitious roadmap that has them shipping versions 5, 6, and 7 before the end of this year. But take a closer look at the development process for IE 9 and there’s a different story to tell. Microsoft is playing the same game as Google. Mozilla is stuck in 2005. And that’s why the core of Internet Explorer will still be around in five years when Firefox will have, at best, a loyal cult following.

    The first platform preview of Internet Explorer 9 was released on March 16, 2010. The final release arrives just two days shy of the one-year anniversary of IE9’s public debut. I don’t think that’s a coincidence. IE9 is part of Windows, and its development reflects the same engineering discipline that we saw in Windows 7: Plan, develop, stabilize, ship. Repeat.

    During that year-long cycle, Microsoft cranked out one beta and a release candidate. More importantly, they released seven updates to the platform preview—at a pace of one every 6-8 weeks or so. It’s worth noting that Microsoft could have slapped a user interface and a version number on each of those releases. If they had, the cadence would have matched up neatly with that breakneck pace set by Google. But they chose to leave those distractions off and focus on the rendering engine. Those platform previews were aimed at developers building applications.

    Although Microsoft is mum on its future plans, you can bet that development will continue at that same measured pace, although perhaps not so publicly. This release isn’t so much a finish line as it is another milestone in a much larger process. The IE 9 engine will be in phones before the end of the year, and it will play a huge role in the next version of Windows, which should be available to the public in 18 months or so.
    And there’s the real story.

    What is Microsoft’s biggest challenge today? We’re not in a post-PC world yet, but the transition is well under way. Successfully making that transition involves building a platform that can scale from handheld devices to workstations, from tiny smartphone screens to tablets to wall-sized displays. Microsoft isn’t going to accomplish that goal by tweaking the classic Windows interface. Anyone who’s used a Windows 7 tablet PC knows that a bigger Start button and taskbar aren’t enough.

    At last year’s MIX conference, Microsoft talked about its new app platform, which is based on a simple design philosophy: write code once, target for multiple platforms. That’s the same space that Google is playing in. Google has an entire family of apps that are designed to work exclusively in a browser. There’s Google Mail and Google Docs, and more importantly there’s Google Apps Marketplace, where third parties are building project management, CRM, and accounting apps designed to work in Chrome. Microsoft has Outlook Web Access 2010, which is an astonishing replication of the Outlook interface. (If you’ve only used OWA 2007, you’ll be blown away by the improvement.)

    Microsoft’s Office Web Apps are an interesting first step, but their limitations are glaring and the gap between Word and Excel in a browser and their standalone counterparts is huge. By this time next year, I expect we’ll see a beta version of Microsoft Office for the Web that is designed to run in a browser window. More importantly, I am certain that Windows 8 will be in beta by that time, and I’m convinced that we’ll see an alternative shell for Windows 8, written in HTML5 and intended for use on tablets. It will use Internet Explorer’s rendering engine, which has already proven to be wicked fast, without needing any of its old-school user interface.

    So where does that leave Firefox? It doesn’t have an app ecosystem or a loyal core of developers. Extensions? Those were worth bragging about in 2005, but in 2012 the story is apps. Businesses and consumers will want to use the same browser that powers their installed apps. In the PC space, that means Google or Microsoft. It doesn’t leave room for a third player.

    So long, Firefox. It was nice to know you.

    Source: ZDnet
    Comments 11 Comments
    1. heiska's Avatar
      heiska -
      Paid Mickeysoft troll.

      LOL @"Microsoft has Outlook Web Access 2010, which is an astonishing replication of the Outlook interface. (If you’ve only used OWA 2007, you’ll be blown away by the improvement.)" liek wow, blown away by a new gui!? What the hell does that have to do with the topic anyways.
    1. Sporkk's Avatar
      Sporkk -
    1. usr's Avatar
      usr -
      I am not far from moving to chrome myself from Firefox. I do not see me ever using IE other than to download my current favorite browser on a new install.
    1. justinius23's Avatar
      justinius23 -
      so many things wrong here i don't know where to start.
    1. Evelyn's Avatar
      Evelyn -
      lol, seems like a distant dream of M$.
      for the good souls who don't know Mozilla is backed by Google (financial).
      the above long post seems to be good in documented business policy but in reality, sorry i wont believe
    1. res0r9lm's Avatar
      res0r9lm -
      Why would anyone want to use IE9 even Opera is more compatible with websites
    1. becomehokage's Avatar
      becomehokage -
      This is amazing.
      Fanboy-ism on internet browsers....

    1. Appzalien's Avatar
      Appzalien -
      That Said, just wait until the vulnerabilities of IE9 start getting exploited. How in the world can you say a browser is really better until it has a few years to be broken? One thing MS is really good at is releasing OS's and browsers with so many vulnerabilities that is not funny anymore. I agree whole heartedly with the comment above, use IE only on a new install and maybe for OS updates if forced to do so.

      The fact that IE9 tinkles on XP and is only usable on Vista and 7 says alot to the large community that is so far sticking with XP. I have a Win7 family 3 pack on the shelf, un-opened, waiting for an XP like GUI to wipe that ugly face off of 7 and get back to a GUI I can sink my teeth into. I'm sorry to all you fanboy's that love 7 but I find it really annoying, and miss the configurability and familiarity of XP. I suspect Firefox will support XP for many years to come, why not MS's IE9 too?
    1. your_creator's Avatar
      your_creator -
      Actually I've used both IE9 and firefox betas, prior to that I've always bend a Firefox user. IE9 has leaped as a browser compared to IE8. I have had issues with Firefox 4 beta and IE9 was surprisingly stable, as of today I'm using IE9 more and more I still use Firefox but not as heavily as I did before.
    1. shipwreck's Avatar
      shipwreck -
      Over 40 million downloads in a week beg to differ.


      IE 9 download stats are a fraction of that.
    1. mediafired's Avatar
      mediafired -
      FF is ... Quality over quantity... unlike chrome and ie.
      ( updates every week... yet STILL can't do the things that I can easily do with firefox )

      OMG the stupid buzzword techtards really know nothing , but wrap up their opinions in useless buzzwords.
      Extensions ARE apps.,....The internet is a cloud ....cloud computing is a server doing tasks....grrr ipods are MP3 players.... ect...

      The guy who wrote the article . What planet you on ?