Microsoft has finally released an upgrade for Internet Explorer. Years in the making the new browser is simply an attempt to catch up to it’s primary competitor Firefox 1.5. So why did Microsoft, who has ignored the gaping security holes and lack of functionality in IE, finally decide to invest in additional development resources to put more lipstick on the pig? One word, Firefox. With 12% marketshare (clearly the smartest 12%) Firefox is more secure and functional than IE (yes even than IE7), Firefox is gaining ground and showing the aging IE the way of the future.
I suggest that users all download and install the new version of Microsoft’s browser. I don’t suggest they actually use it but in case they run across one of the handful of backward sites that require the buggy Microsoft code they have have some minimal security and functionality improvements. Continuing to use Firefox will have two benefits:
1) Firefox users will continue to enjoy the best and most standards compliant browser available today. (With the imminent release of Firefox 2.0 this gap will widen still)
2) The continued growth in the use of Firefox will keep Microsoft spending some level (albeit minimal) of resources to patch IE and this will benefit the users too mentally slow to grasp the benefits of Firefox thereby using IE as their default browser and the general increase in the level of security will overall benefit the Internet community as a whole.
Note: While you are thinking about the fact that other code than that which Microsoft inflicts in the world (to it’s detriment) exists, it’s also worth considering replacing Outlook express as your default Windows mail client for a much more robust and feature rich product like Thunderbird. Thunderbird like Firefox is developed under the aspices of the Mozilla Group where security and usability are the primary considerations for the developers. This feature and security first approach differs greatly from that practiced in Redmond where continuing user lock-in and maintaining a monopoly are the things first and foremost on their minds.