Microsoft Unveils IE 8 – Lacks Yet Again

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[tag]Microsoft[/tag] unveiled [tag]Internet Explorer 8[/tag] at the [tag]Mix09[/tag] conference March 18-20. The following day, an article was released on their site, explaining the new features and usability comforts, as well as using popular web companies, such as Facebook, ESPN, and eBay as testimonials. But seriously, wouldn’t you? I mean, with still over 70% of the browser market belonging to IE, wouldn’t your company do anything it could to support and encourage a browser that, despite its constant shortcomings, reaches millions more than [tag]Firefox[/tag], [tag]Safari[/tag], and [tag]Opera[/tag] put together?

But, down to the point. [tag]IE8[/tag] boasts developer tools, the ability to easily connect to the “news, stories and videos that people are buzzing about right now”. Great. Seriously, that’s wonderful that you’ve done that. But yet again, there is a lack of basic usability features and improvements.

For example, CNET reports that [tag]Google[/tag] Toolbar crashed IE8 on first run. According to user reviews, many sites would crash the tab, IE would sometimes randomly crash, there is no history button, and CSS and HTML rendering is still off from the standard (Firefox, Opera, and Safari). [tag]CNET[/tag] users rate IE8 2 out of 5.

Now, I haven’t actually used IE8 yet. To do so, I’d have to boot into [tag]Windows[/tag], or configure Wine (which I’m positive would not work). I don’t see the point. So take my rantings with a grain of salt, though these are based off of information, quotes, and reviews from Microsoft and CNET. In general, it’s not a good thing if the 8th version of one of the most distributed pieces of software receives an initial 2 stars and crashes every 3rd page.

According to the Microsoft press release, IE now passes more CSS test-cases than any other shipping browser. I’m assuming this just means that it passed more than Safari. The download file is over 14MB, compared to Firefox 3 (7.2), Safari 4 (25.5), and Opera 9.64 (8.4).

All in all, it seems another dissapointment. While Firefox users will laugh and mark it up as another Microsoft failure, it’s sad to think that all new Windows-based computers come shipped with this browser, and that most never get switched.

Note – To view the Mix09 website, you will need [tag]Silverlight[/tag], Microsofts alternative to Adobe Media Player. FAIL.

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