The news that the latest version of IE was downloaded 2.3 million times during its first 24 hours of availability was much less than impressive to me. This is because IE is shipped standard on most computers so people end up using it by default rather than by choice. Then when a new version of IE is released, Windows includes it as an important update. Most people, having been told that keeping their computer up-to-date is important, just have it downloaded and installed automatically. Of the 2.3 million downloads, I would suspect 2.2 million were downloaded automatically. IE has had its user base by default, not by the quality of the software. On the other hand, Firefox and other browsers must be consciously downloaded. That makes their user base, although still smaller than IE, very impressive.
I have written a few times about how much I dislike IE. There are many reasons, including lack of speed, the interface, and most importantly, my frustration with Microsoft’s insistence on doing things their own way rather than adhere to web standards. This last point makes it very difficult for web developers who build valid pages that display perfectly in all browsers except IE. The number of coding customizations that must be done just to make IE happy has always been frustrating.
Now, with this latest release, some people are saying that Microsoft has finally listened to the complaints. Supposedly the speed of IE9 is much better than older version. And Microsoft claims they are finally adhering to web standards with this release. Here is a Computer World article putting IE9 to the test. It seems like a good review, although I have always been a bit suspicious of the big computer websites and magazines reviews of Microsoft products. I don’t really believe the old rumors that they are paid directly to review products, but they certainly rely on advertising from them and this makes their reviews sometimes seem a bit “cheer-leady”.
Have you used IE9 yet? What do you think? Do you notice any differences? I plan to download and install it to see if any of my webpages display better than they do in older versions. I certainly don’t expect to allow it to set itself as my “default browser” though!