| By Woody Leonhard |
Microsoft posted the Internet Explorer 9 release candidate last week, and it’s well worth a look.
With Firefox 4 very close to launch and Google Chrome in a perpetual update cycle, lots of new browser goodies are on the horizon — and surprisingly, IE 9 contains a few of these morsels.
Internet Explorer’s twisted road to … success?
When I wrote about the public beta version of Internet Explorer 9 in the September 23, 2010, Top Story, I noted that although it looked promising, IE 9 still had lots of wrinkles. But after working with the near-final product, I believe Internet Explorer has finally come of age.
To understand Microsoft’s remarkable achievement with IE 9, you have to look back at IE’s somewhat sordid history. IE 6 appeared in 2001 and remained virtually untouched for five years. It developed a well-deserved reputation as the single greatest security risk ever to hit Windows. Even so, the browser became the mainstay on millions of PCs. A decade later, IE 6 has a market share that still hovers above 10%.
IE 7 gave new meaning to the term “me-too software,” having borrowed essentially all of its new features from competitors. Its sole redeeming social grace? It didn’t have as many gaping security holes as IE 6.
IE 8, which hit two years ago, scored very low on the Acid3 (Wiki page) compatibility test page. It introduced several new capabilities touted as major improvements — such as Accelerators, which lets you run specific Web applications without pointing the browser at them, and Web Slices, which lets you keep track of changing portions of a webpage without actually going to the webpage.