Will IE8 Be Enough to Save Internet Explorer?

Talking about the demise of Internet Explorer might be premature — after all, two thirds of all web users still use some version of the web browser. But that’s down from over 91% just four years ago in the days before Firefox was being used by people like, well, my parents. According to Net Applications, Internet Explorer has lost share for 6 straight months and hasn’t been above 80% for 2 years.

The reason? IE is facing stiff competition on multiple fronts. Over the past 6 months (5 in the case of Chrome), the second through fourth place browsers have all gained market share. Firefox is solidly over 20% now, Safari is gaining steadily and trending toward 10%, and Google’s new Chrome browser has been above 1% market share for two months running. Even distant fifth place browser Opera (which has a larger following in Europe than elsewhere around the globe), has grown fairly substantially over the past 2 years.

IE, meanwhile, continues to slide. Last week, Microsoft released the first release candidate of IE8, meaning that the next version of their ubiquitous browser is likely right around the corner. This is potentially make or break time for Microsoft — and for more than just the existence of IE.

Internet Explorer, along with Microsoft’s Rich Internet Application and web platform technologies like Silverlight, Azure, and Live Mesh, are vital to the future success of the company. Google has laid out a compelling three pronged web operating system strategy that includes its Chrome browser. Google — and others, such as Mozilla and Adobe — are attempting to create a platform for cloud-based applications that if successful would mean the underlying computer OS would become essentially irrelevant for most users.

That would spell disaster for Microsoft, who make a large chunk of their revenue from Windows, unless they compete with a Web OS of their own. If they follow Google’s model, Microsoft’s Web OS would likely center largely around Internet Explorer (Chrome), Silverlight (JavaScript/Native Client), Azure (App Engine), and .NET (Python). Granted, in enterprise environments, where Microsoft makes most of its money, the viability of the Web OS is still a long way off, but Microsoft still has reason to be concerned by the plummeting market share Internet Explorer.

We’ve noticed a similar trend among visitors to SitePoint. Based on the last three years of browser trends, we predicted that IE will become extinct in 2013. Of course that assumes a rate of decline that doesn’t decelerate — which is unlikely. We also asked SitePoint readers in August if they would consider switching to IE8; 65% of you said no. If we can surmise that at least some portion of the yes votes were current IE users who plan to upgrade, that’s very bad news for Microsoft — not many people who have switched from IE are planning to switch back.

It really doesn’t look like IE8 is shaping up to be enough to save Microsoft. Even if it is markedly better than previous versions of Internet Explorer, as it appears to be, it probably won’t be that much better than Firefox or Chrome or Safari that it will convince defectors to switch back. The very best Microsoft can probably hope for is to stem the tide of defections and hold onto a slim majority in the browser market — but even that seems unlikely, in our opinion.

One drastic action that Microsoft could take to save Internet Explorer is to open source it. It’s probably not a coincidence that the three browsers currently eating into their market share are open source or based on open source projects.

What do you think? Will IE8 be enough to save Internet Explorer? Would open sourcing it make a difference? Now that RC1 is out, will you switch? Let us know in the comments.

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  • http://www.tyssendesign.com.au Tyssen

    I’m not switching to IE8 but I would feel a bit sorry for the IE team who have obviously been working hard to improve the browser if it were to languish and not be appreciated.

  • cminor9

    Has anyone played with IE8? I have. They take the inflexible UI from IE7 (totally changing the placement of commonly used buttons and then taking away the ability to customize my UI is a HUGE mistake) and shove it that much farther down your throat.

    Targeted browsing is a mistake. Now, we’ll not just have IE6, IE7, and IE8’s poor adherence to standards to deal with. No, we’ll have to deal with IE8’s version of IE7, IE9’s version of IE8 and IE7, and so on. Cause you just *know* that some little thing will change between the IE8 version of IE7 and IE9’s version of IE7? Confused? Wait till you have to write code for it.

    Web slices, let’s see. Proprietary rehash of RSS. Let’s hope this doesn’t gain any critical mass and become adopted by anyone.

    Web accelerators, WTH? So people who are too dim to realize that MSFT essentially rebadged obscure features like Search and Copy/Paste will somehow figure out how to use the accelerators? Ha! Oh, look! I can do a *totally awesome* Live search against some term I right click on a web page! How innovative!

    The web developer toolbar being bundled in…haha! That thing is a joke. It’s like the inbred second cousin of Firebug! Totally worthless. I used to work in a shop that had an IE-only site. It was painful having to use that pice of crap in my day to day development. Utterly painful.

    Oh look, now you can get Add-Ons for IE! Except it works nothing like Firefox’s community based easy to install approach. I tried installing some plugins. Well, after I finally found their plugin site, I pressed the install button. I have yet to figure out how to actually *use* the plugin I installed, much less find out how to access it. Did it even install? I have no idea.

    Sorry, but IE is a joke. The guys at Redmond just fundamentally don’t get it. I am so glad to see a competitive playing field in the browser market. IE, you have a date with Natural Selection!

  • hank

    After trying IE8 I found that it was a really good piece of work. I use multiple browsers and after trying IE8 I found that I was starting to use it without noticing it. It is not slow and buggy. Microsoft is staging a comeback. My most used browser right now is Opera becuase of it’s amazing speed and awesome usability. I do use Fx sometimes. Chrome is a bit too featureless for me. I don’t use Safari much. So all in all I think I will use IE8 but not as my main browser.

  • Crystal

    I like IE8 but no matter what I switch to, I always come back to Firefox. We generally stick to what we’re used to unless given a reason to move. IE gave me that reason years ago but Firefox never has.

  • anonymouse

    Let us all pray real hard that this is its final incarnation. RIP

  • Chris

    As the older generation of boomers and up (those that didn’t grow up with computers) age IE and the rest of Microsoft’s dominance will decline. My belief is that people don’t choose to use IE, it’s that they don’t know/care enough about alternatives and the benefit they bring. The arguments are abstract concepts.

    GenXers and younger know how to switch to Firefox (Safari, Chrome, whatever) and can tell you exactly why they did. Not because they hate Microsoft but because they identify Microsoft product as inferior. If Microsoft truly offered superior solutions then they would choose Microsoft. Microsoft (in the consumer space) lives off those intimidated by, ignorant of or apathetic towards computers. The younger generation aren’t characterized by those traits.

  • Bill

    I am happy to find that with IE8 I have to change my IE comment hacks to lte 7, because IE8 seems to display more like a real browser.

  • http://www.cemerson.co.uk Stormrider

    I have high hopes for IE8, I don’t know about stopping IE’s decline – people don’t generally switch because of standards support, more for front end features, and firefox with its plugins are quite a pull.

  • nachenko

    As long as it kills that pain in the ass named IE6, IE8 is good news to me.

  • Anonymous

    Microsoft released betas of IE8 that crashed the computer. Released updates to Windows that did the same thing (SP3) How can I be sure that if I update to IE8 now that it won’t crash my computer again. I am not the only one this happened to. Go to the Microsoft forum and you can see complaints all over the place. IE7 works. If it’s not broke, I’m not fixing it. BTW, SP3 I still can’t get to upload to my computer.

  • http://www.j9consultants.com jef2904

    It’s not going to be enough IE8 is just finally implementing full CSS 2.1 while other browsers are implementing CSS3 and HTML5. The IE team is going to need to speed up development a lot to be able to catch up.

  • V#

    This article seems a little contrived to me. It is quite obvious that visitors to Sitepoint are interested in web application technologies, and as such it would be safe to assume that they are considerably more tech savvy than the average internet user – likely using various browsers in their day-to-day activities. To evidence an argument for IE’s decline based upon this information makes for a simulated conclusion. I like Firefox and use it regularly. I am also looking forward to the advent of IE8 and will likewise use it regularly. However, despite underpinning corporate interests and the infatuated pillow talk of marketing pundits, cloud based computing is still client-server based and governed to a large extent by an old document based protocol. It remains to be seen whether the public will accept the pitfalls of this computing paradigm in exchange for what they already know works on their system.

  • http://www.mockriot.com/ Josh Catone

    @V#: The main bit of evidence in the article comes from Net Applications, which surveys a large portion of the Internet. Very little of my conclusion came from SitePoint’s browser stats or the results of our poll.

    Certainly our site is visited more heavily by early adopters than most sites on the Internet, and our users shouldn’t be looked at as a good representation of the Internet at large. However, every publicly available browser market stats that I can think of show IE in a fairly steady decline. That supports my conclusion more strongly than the poll we ran on SitePoint in August, in my opinion. Your mileage may vary, of course. :)

  • Bob Carologees

    Internet Explorer 8 is a big slap in the face to the entire web community.

  • palgrave

    I just did a css tables-based layout in the hope of getting a job with a web design firm. I didn’t have to change a thing in IE8, and that’s enough for me.

  • Fred Hamranhansenhansen

    Any time you spend using Microsoft software is time wasted.

  • cminor9

    @ palgrave “I just did a css tables-based layout … I didn’t have to change a thing in IE8, and that’s enough for me.”

    It shouldn’t be enough. What about the next layout you create? What about the ones you have already made? Stick with standards, not “whatever works in IE”. Sure, you have to carve out exceptions for IE. But in sane browsers it’ll work and you have forward compatibility. Then again, I guess I have no reason to assume this isn’t already how you work.

    Mark my words, we’ll all either love or hate “targeted browsing” at about the same time MSFT betas IE9. Care to guess which it’ll be?

  • Alan Vickery

    The developer tools that come with IE8 RC1 are pretty cool.

  • 2MHost.com

    I do not know what this post about!, IE share is more than 3 times his next competitor (IE: 67% and FF: 21%) .. do I miss something?

  • http://www.historycommons.org/ Black Max

    Internet Explorer 8 is a big slap in the face to the entire web community.

    What Bob said.

  • http://www.olsenportfolio.com/ nrg_alpha

    As someone who desparately tries to distance himself from the devil’s internet browser, I will have to admit that IE 8 seems to be ‘on the right path’. However, it is still behind (and I really have a hard time seeing them catch up to (let alone surpass)) the others. There is still so much to do. Personally, I feel that IE has arrived at the party too late. It is only now catching up to what the others were a few years ago (more or less). Personally, I would love to see IE either a) convert to Webkit, or b) die. Neither looks to be the case anytime soon unfortunately. Will open source save it? Doubt it, as Firefox and Webkit is open source and are being embraced quite nicely. Include into this Microsoft’s rather corporate, cold and clunky implementation of GUI and features that are far more user friendly and better designed and thought out on other platforms, they have that much more to contend with.

    Microsoft fell far too complacent during IE 6’s tenure, and are now paying a heavy price for it. They have no one to blame but themselves. The sooner society at large abandons IE, the better (especially for web developers). There’s plenty of room for the ‘other big 4′, who will undoubtedly continue to thrive to out do one another (all the while remaining quite W3C compliant). Finally, while I hope sitepoint is right, I doubt IE will be extinct by 2013… Something tells me they will linger around for a bit longer (unfortunately). But it’s nice to dream, isn’t it?

    P.S There is only *one* thing I like better about IE 8 than anyone else.. and that is how it displays the actual source code when viewing source. Hardly a game changer though.

  • gaurav_ch

    I read the post and I don’t care about IE 8, 9, 10 ……10000. All I care is that the web page I make in HTML, CSS and JavaScript should look and behave the same way in all the browsers. Right now the bone of contention is IE. When I make a web page and test it in FF, Safari, Opera and Chrome, they look same and behave same 98% percent of the time. The 2% is related to form elements(I can live with that). But when I check the web page in IE 7, man it makes me bang my head and IE 6 makes me hang myself literally.

    All I care is that no matter what the browser is, it should be standards compliant. Opera 10 beta successfully passes the Acid 3 test (I tested it) and others, except IE, pass Acid 2 successfully. IE 8 is supposed to pass Acid 2 now(I read it somewhere). This means that it will still be behind. FF 4 etc might become Acid 3 compliant but IE8 will still be behind. So, the same hacking will apply there.

    Microsoft spends so much money on other stuff, why can’t they actually spend more time and money on standards based browser. Man! this makes me hate them.

  • Scot

    I won’t be using IE8 for anything other than the necessary testing platform, along with the other browsers I have installed for that reason and don’t use for anything else. FF is my browser of choice.

    Along with the other factors already mentioned, especially the asinine UI and its lack of customization, two “features” are show-stoppers, and unless they modify them from what is in RC1, IE8 is dead for me.

    First is something initiated in IE7, complained about long and loudly, and yet still carried forward into IE8. That is the idiotic non-collapsible folder structure in “Add Favorite.” I have an extensive hierarchical folder structure for Favorites built over the course of a number of years and generations of IE. But, when I try to add a favorite, the entire damned structure is expanded, making it damned near impossible to tell where in the structure one is located. That’s the biggie.

    Second is a somewhat smaller issue, but one which is nonetheless annoying. In IE7 one has the option to reopen currently open tabs when one shuts down the browser. In IE8 this option is inexplicably missing. WTF is up with that? “Hey, we’re releasing a new browser. What say we decrease usability by eliminating this feature, eh? Yeah, that’s the ticket.”

    Sheesh!

    cheers,
    scott

    IE8: Tabbed browsing done wrong.

  • Blah, Blah

    I wish IE would save user names and passwords like FireFox does! Is it too much to ask a company that essentially built the OS?

  • Jubarr

    totally agree with gaurav_ch, i don’t care which browser people use, just that it behaves as expected. i would be really happy if 90% of the people used IE (or any other by the way) and it were standards compliant.

  • V#

    Hi Josh,

    Thank you for the clarification.

  • pampado

    It appears that any new MS release is followed by a lot of bad publicity which I feel is deliberate attempt to create failure. Any other competing product is hyped up well before release to generate interest. With all this “open source” and free advertising offered to competitors it is no wonder they are doing well but in my opinion with such an “open source” marketing budget I am suprised that Opera, FF and the others have not completely overtaken IE. The excuse that people don’t know any better is just an excuse. I know non technical guys who are not interested in add-ons and just want a browser to log onto facebook, BBC and so forth and anything else adds no real value to their web experience.I have tried to get colleagues to change to other browsers with limited success and I am not talking about 50+ year olds either. One has to bear in mind that to the uninitiated all they see is the final product and they don’t know the amount of work a developr/designer has gone through to make it work in different browsers, so a lot of people out there are actually satified with what IE does for them as long as they see the desired end product. With regards to browsing speed, most people just associated this with the speed of the internet connection so any benefits of the browser speed is not perceived. I am all for competion and alternatives but feel that they is now a deliberate attempt to ensure MS fails and my conspiracy theory is that there is a movement to systematically eliminate MS.

  • madr

    No, I will not switch since I’m a Mac user and IE8 only target Windows users.

    I will however do my very best to make my acquaintances and friends which prefer Internet Explorer (yes, there exist such people and I know several) switch to IE8. I’ll also do my very best to make system administrators of big intranets and distributed systems aware of it’s existence; with some luck, some machines still running IE6 will be upgraded.

    The thing I can’t stand is the amount of versions in use of IE. The IE8-is-not-good-enough complaints are there for a reason, but the time waster is to being forced to check works in (at least) THREE versions. I hope Microsoft is aware of that more than anything; they forgot it when they released IE7.

  • Stevie D

    Let us all pray real hard that this is its final incarnation. RIP

    Why? I hope that MS continue to improve IE. Look what happens when they don’t! The continued dominance of IE6 long after its sell-by date is because MS decided not to produce a new version – and what happened? The old one was left to fester, with a huge number of people using it even though it was completely obsolete – and this resulted in a huge headache for web developers. If MS had produced IE7 in time to bundle it with WinXP, our lives would have been so much easier.

    The problem that MS have with IE is that all the people who have turned away chose to turn away because other browsers are better. MS have got to get beyond playing catch-up, and produce something that is better than the competition – better than Firefox, Opera, Chrome and Safari – or people won’t be interested. Why would they want to learn a new browser that isn’t as good as what they’re used to? And I don’t see any evidence that IE8 is going to be even on a par with Firefox 3 or Opera 10, let alone better.

  • http://www.geekdaily.net justinbezanson

    @cminor9 IE8’s version of IE7 is different than IE7. There have already been bugs reported and some things don’t render the same.

    Anyway, I have got my wife hooked on Firefox to the point she is trying to convert here friends. There is no way we will ever go back to IE. Too little too late.

  • The Odin

    Internet Explorer makes me want to drink and break things!

  • Salad

    The sooner Internet Explorer is gone from the world the better.

    Like all those involved in web design, I have lost countless hours of my life accounting for its inability or refusal to acknowledge web standards.

    Microsoft could buy their own turd polish refinery and they still couldn’t make Internet Explorer good.

    I’d rather eat wasps than use this pathetic excuse for a browser.

  • RichardQ

    For all the empty barrels rolling around here, surely the a large amount of blame can be placed fairly and squarely at W3C’s door?

    The level of ambiguity and influence exerted by “interested parties”, simply corrupted the early specs and left the developers with way to many choices to make.

    Hopefully, the more recent specifications (and those yet to come) will be of the quality that developers of the browsers can adhere to, allowing those that develop websites just get on with their job, working to known and unambiguous standards, leaving the choice of which browser to be one of who cares.

  • Famous Amos

    IE’s share may be on the decline, but a two-thirds market share is still dominant. “Save Internet Explorer?” That’s a joke.

    I’m more interested in seeing IE6 go away, because it’s IE6 that causes me the countless headaches in development. If IE8 is what it takes to make that happen, then so be it. I could care less if most people are using a browser with the refresh button on the wrong side of the address bar, so long as I don’t have to code a thousand hacks into my sites because the majority browser isn’t standards-compliant.

    I’ll use Firefox and I’ll keep singing its praises whenever I come across an IE6 user, but I’ll probably stop trying to convert them it’s a question of IE8-or-Firefox, and not IE6-or-Firefox. It’s not worth it; let the uneducated masses have their inferior browser so long as I don’t have to coddle them in my development.

    But to say IE8 will make-or-break Internet Explorer, and by extension the great Microsoft itself, is more than a little silly.

  • http://www.besalighting.com The Schaef

    You would think that with all the money Microsoft made by bandwagonning successful ideas (graphical OS, XBox, Zune), they would stop clinging so fiercely to all their proprietary nonsense and just build for the same web that everyone else is using. They’re called standards for a reason.

  • n00b

    Come on, dude. “[D]oesn’t look like IE8 is shaping up to be enough to save Microsoft.” Some comical hysteria going on in this article.

    Most people who get Windows 7 will use IE8. Hell, I haven’t even bothered installing on Firefox 3.x on my Win 7 beta installations — I’m tired of the bloat — it’s Chrome as my default browser and IE8 as the backup. When I’m using any of them for my main machine, I’ll definitely put Firefox on there, but only for Firebug.

    IE8 is plenty good enough for casual users. Casual users don’t care at all about extensions and they’re not going to bother messing around with other browsers. The reason so many casual users are using Firefox now is because we’ve beat it into their heads how bad IE6 is, and in many cases, have gotten on their computers to install Firefox ourselves to give *us* peace of mind that they won’t be calling us in a week or two to ask for help from some malware they contracted from using IE6.

    Now? Forget that. IE8 is plenty good enough for my family-tech-support-guy side that I’m fine letting Mom or Gramps use whatever the hell browser they want to; which will be IE8 if they get Windows 7. Unless IE8 looks to be a security sieve like IE6 — and it doesn’t so far — there’s no reason for me to try to convince my friends and family to use something else, that’s just one more headache for me.

    Carry on.

  • boy

    i hope ie would support css 3 :D and would bury its old version.

    IE6 and ie7 hop you die.

  • Snapper

    I for one don’t really care what people that read here do. I’m more concerned with those that aren’t in the web world upgrading from their current IE browser version to IE8. While I’m sure the debate will continue on whether or not Microsoft has met the needs of the web design and development world, fact is it’s far closer to a web standard browser than previous attempts. If MS can just get people to upgrade, I will, for one feel much better.

  • BoltClock

    To be honest, I am quite impressed by IE8. It still hasn’t caught up with other browsers in many respects, but it’s definitely getting better than previous versions.

    Still, I don’t think IE8 could stop people dead in their tracks from switching; as mentioned everywhere, Firefox’s add-on system and community are simply unbeatable. I’m certainly not going to switch back to IE just because they finally took the Internet seriously with IE8.

    I’m not sure about Microsoft as a whole, but I don’t think IE8 has enough of a chance of saving Internet Explorer.

  • http://fcOnTheWeb.com ferrari_chris

    How can you trend or predict anything like this based on browser numbers from SitePoint? You don’t think they’re a little skewed away from IE?! Goodness…

  • http://www.mockriot.com/ Josh Catone

    @n00b: Perhaps hyperbole, but I am of the opinion that in the next five years Microsoft will need saving. Their cash cows — Office, Windows, and Servers/Tools will all see erosion in revenue, by SaaS apps (Google, Zoho), web OS plays (Google, Adobe, Mozilla), and Linux respectively.

    IE8 should be (and likely is) a major part of the platform Microsoft is building to compete on all of those fronts. Chrome is just as important to Google for the same reasons.

    The trend line for IE should be very disturbing for Microsoft, and I personally don’t think IE8 will be enough to reverse it.

  • http://www.mockriot.com/ Josh Catone

    @ferrari_chris: The browser numbers mentioned in the article aren’t for SitePoint. I said we’ve seen a similar trend, but the main data point here are the Net Applications numbers, which measure usage across thousands of sites.

  • Adam

    Hopefully, the more recent specifications (and those yet to come) will be of the quality that developers of the browsers can adhere to, allowing those that develop websites just get on with their job, working to known and unambiguous standards, leaving the choice of which browser to be one of who cares.

    So why is it that the developers of other browsers still manage to release standards compliant software? They’re all reading the same specs. Either the IE codebase is so crufty by this point that it is unmaintainable, the developers on the IE team are less competent than the developers on other browser teams, or they’re pulling this garbage on purpose.

    They have the unenviable task of keeping IE6-targeted corporate intranet sites running on top of all of this, but quite frankly I don’t care. That’s a problem that they created for themselves and then inflicted on the web community at large. After over 10 years of developing software of one form or another I am positively sick of Microsoft consistently sloughing off the implications of their poorly thought out design decisions for the 3rd party development community to deal with.

    Sometimes you have to make breaking changes in order to advance. If Microsoft is unwilling to sell this, there are more than enough alternative vendors that aren’t shackled to the point of immobility by entrenched enterprise customers.

    Common sentiment seems to be that IE8 is a big leap for IE, but it hasn’t caught up to the rest of the pack yet. It’s a minor league player in a major league game; emphasizing how much it’s improved over its own previous versions doesn’t change the fact that even their newest version is still inferior to anything else. If it wasn’t bundled with Windows it would have vanished into obscurity years ago.

  • Friend

    I just use firefox because of its add-on’s.
    @MS!
    We need a more flexible and much easier plugin development system same as firefox. can you hear me?!

  • Nick

    The ability to export tables in html to Excel is just one thing that is sufficient to make me consider returning to IE

  • Graham B

    There’s not really anything to say here that hasn’t been said a hundred times over, but I’ll say it anyway. As a developer, I really couldn’t care less about IE8, providing it gives me fewer obstacles during a build. Unfortunately, any feature or support that a future Microsoft browser delivers will simply not be as important to me as getting rid of IE6.

  • Anonymous

    I think you should all stop stroking yourselves for being really clever and using plugins and bleating on about web standards (made up by this community anyway as the end user doesn’t really care what we have to do to make it work) and start looking at your marketplace and clients that you work for, they pay your cheques to deliver. Now deliver.

  • Jawabba

    I am glad there is not another IE6. What I don’t get, is why MS doesn’t patch IE6 so it renders the same as IE7? The end-user will only see more websites working. But those MS-***** don’t do anything about the webdevelopers nightmare. Has anybody actually sued MS for costing the world so many frustrating hours?

  • http://www.keystonecapitalchorus.org DaveMaxwell

    Perhaps hyperbole, but I am of the opinion that in the next five years Microsoft will need saving. Their cash cows — Office, Windows, and Servers/Tools will all see erosion in revenue, by SaaS apps (Google, Zoho), web OS plays (Google, Adobe, Mozilla), and Linux respectively

    Sorry, but I’ve got to respectively disagree here, for a couple reasons:

    1) The net structure/cost matrix (especially in the US) won’t allow for that to happen. I know far too many people that are still on dialup because the higher speed options are too cost prohibitive or are just too unstable to be reliable. The same could be said for mobile net costs in the US as well, and the usage of mobile devices (netbooks, laptops, phones) is increasing, but the costs are still prohibitive for most people – I know I don’t have an extra $30/month to pay for a decent data plan.

    2) Security, especially for government agencies which are probably the biggest users of Microsoft products. The more accessible you make the data, the easier it is for people to get access to it that shouldn’t.

    3) Reliability, especially of networks. There is NO way a large company is going to risk total shutdown of their workforce due to network instability. there will always be the offline, thick client applications to allow people to work when the network is offline. No work = loss of money, which is obviously bad for business.

    Will “cloud” computing increase in usage? Sure it will. But I doubt it’s going to be a business killer anytime soon.

  • http://fcOnTheWeb.com ferrari_chris

    The browser numbers mentioned in the article aren’t for SitePoint. I said we’ve seen a similar trend, but the main data point here are the Net Applications numbers, which measure usage across thousands of sites.

    Oh, I see. Well, that’s alright then. :)

  • http://www.mockriot.com/ Josh Catone

    @DaveMaxwell:

    1. Matters less because, as you say, enterprise and government clients are their biggest source of revenue. Anyway, if President Obama gets his wish, nationwide broadband could be on the way.

    2. Wouldn’t private deployments on a local cloud be possible?

    3. That’s why Microsoft’s software + services tactic makes sense. Google is going in that direction (with Chrome, Gears, and Native Client) and so is Adobe (with AIR). Mozilla has research projects in that area as well.

  • http://www.iteka.com dmason

    I’m still using Win 2000 as my OS and don’t see it in IE8 OS list. Maybe it will work but not taking the chance. MS has been dropping support W2K. Ticks me, as I’ll stick with W2K till the end. The Fox is my browser of choice. I’ve been dealing w/ browser issue since ’96 when I first got into web design and will more than likely have to deal with them till I go to yonder land. I don’t think IE will ever be in line w/ the other browsers developed by people who care.

  • http://lynnepope.net/ elpie

    I don’t use Internet Explorer for browsing, but I do use it for testing sites and designs. IE8 is a refreshing change but still has a number of issues, as of RC1. It renders CSS better than any previous version of IE, though still not as well as most of the other popular browsers, and its new developer tool is a vast improvement. The compatibility mode is screwed up and does not render sites the same way as a native IE7 – hopefully they will get that fixed before release.

    For me, the biggest problem with the release of IE8 is that there are still too many people using the 7-year old IE6. The dream of the 1990’s, that we would have standards-compliant browsers and no cross-browser compatibility issues was obviously a pipe-dream. In 2009, anyone designing a site for maximum reach has to test on three versions of IE, Firefox, Opera, Safari and Chrome.

    I don’t much care which browser reaches the dominant marketshare but I wish one of them would get there quickly because these cross-browser issues are a real nightmare now.

  • mistertheplague

    I think it’s often difficult for people who work in IT to comprehend the aversion, if not the sheer terror, computers inspire in many computer users.

    IE won’t need saving, at least not literally, as long as people use Windows. Most people who use a PC in a home environment have purchased it from Worst Buy or some other big box vendor parked out by the mall. Those machines come preloaded with Windows and with IE. The thought of using another browser fills them with dread, mostly because they exagerrate in their own minds how different browsing with FF, for example, must be than browsing with IE, which they’re used to.
    I developed the website for our condo association. I was talking to a neighbor, a nice, middle-aged lady, about it. I told her she might want to take a look at it in Firefox, though I declined to get into web standards and all that jazz, as I knew she wouldn’t haven’t any idea what I was talking about.
    She looked at me blankly and said, “What’s Firefox?”
    This is the world we live in, peoples.

  • http://www.campaignsthatmatter.com-CaliforniaPoliticalNews kavi

    I appreciate the IE 8 team for the effort to feel something better than old one. But, I feel it is not enough to compete Firefox, chrome, Safari and opera. Microsoft should keep one thing i their mind. Make the customer satisfied and they should feel proud to use your browser.

    I don’t like the way that microsoft doing. Please try to change the habits, especially in the user experience. Be 1st or try to be 1st. orelse, one day you’ll be disappear from the world.

  • marcelo

    personally I canceled the Ie8 RC download. nothing new to see.
    I’m use firefox since version 1 around 2004 it’s my main browser, today exist good browsers like Opera 10, Chrome and Safari. The main problem it’s the InternetExplorer monopoly (it’s installed with windows xp and vista by default).
    The new web aplications must be forcing the user to install another alternative to ie6 or ie7…. in the list of browsers Ie8 is my laaaaast alternative.

  • adimauro

    I think that IE’s decline in dominance has less to do with problems in IE7 and more to do with the vast improvement over the last few years with the IE alternatives.
    Firefox is far more mature now, and although Opera has been around for a while, in the early days you had to pay to remove advertisements from it. I have very little experience with Safari, so I can’t really comment on it, but I’m so far loving Chrome. Once Chrome extensions start to come out, I may even switch to it as my main browser. But, for now, I can’t live without my Firefox extensions!
    That said, I do think that IE8 will be a very welcome improvement over past versions of IE. You can’t blame Microsoft for trying to drive technology innovations during the early Internet, like other companies did, too. But, I think they held out for far too long before finally saying…’ok, the standards have been set, let’s follow them’.