Skip to comments.Microsoft Tries for Safer Surfing
Posted on 04/25/2006 8:23:19 PM PDT by Bloody Sam Roberts
Internet users were given a peek yesterday at a revamped version of Microsoft Corporation's Internet Explorer, a response to criticism that the most popular tool for Web surfing and hacking made users vulnerable to the Internet's dangers and caused them to defect to alternative browsers.
Earlier versions of Internet Explorer, which comes standard on most Windows computers, are still how most users access and view Web pages. But being the leader in the browser game -- with almost 85 percent market share -- means that it's also the most vulnerable to malicious programs such as viruses, worms and phishing scams.
That, along with the limited features built into earlier versions of the Internet Explorer browser, or IE, has sent a growing number of users to alternative browsers.
The Redmond, Wash.-based company designed Internet Explorer 7 -- a test version available for download from its Web site -- with tighter security protection and more advanced tools to give the user greater control in navigating the Web, said Dean Hachamovitch, general manager of Internet Explorer.
"Overall, for IE7, the principles we used were safer, easier and more powerful," Hachamovitch said.
But Microsoft's real motivation is to try to stem the defections to smaller providers, analysts said.
"The big point is that IE's been losing market share to Mozilla's Firefox," and now Microsoft is trying to catch up and regain user loyalty from people who have embraced Firefox's simple and more secure format, said Gene Munster, an analyst with Piper Jaffray.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...
they gonna decouple it from the OS?
Out of curiosity, though, why is browser share so important? Both IE and Firefox, as well as the other competing browsers of which I'm aware, are given away free (and in the case of IE included free on every PC sold). Why would either care about market share of a product that earns no revenues? I think if I were MS I'd leave very simple browser functionality in Windows. It could be limited to viewing HTML in a My Computer window or something, that would be secured because it wouldn't support Java, ActiveX, or anything else that could contain malicious code. Get rid of IE, reassign the employees on the IE project to areas that generate revenue, and let other people make advanced web browsers for free.
"The big point is that IE's been losing market share to Mozilla's Firefox," - When you go Firefox, you don't go back.
Microsoft is worried about it because if you decide to shift from the built-in Microsoft product to Firefox, you might decide you like it better. And if you like Firefox better for the critical task of web browsing, you're more likely to give OpenOffice or something else a try for your word processing and spreadsheet needs, and not Microsoft Office.
Microsoft makes almost nothing off Windows, and a lot of money off of Office.
It wouldn't matter if all browsers seamlessly conformed to open standards. However, when some browsers (cough IE cough) do not play well with others in that regard, then web site developers need specialized tools to insure that their sites render correctly. Those tools aren't given away free.
For obvious reasons, this only works as a revenue model if your browser has a near-monopoly on the market -- if most people aren't aware that there are other browsers, failure to render is perceived a problem with the web site that didn't buy IE support; if most people have heard of alternatives, failure to render is (more accurately) perceived as a problem with the browser.
That's what does it for me. The security and popup protection is a bonus.
I use ~25 extensions that make my Firefox a joy to use. Maybe IE 20 will have what I need. By then I'll be fertilizer.
Because Microsoft has a lot of its future tied up in browser based applications. If you look at the Outlook web client, you will see the future according to Microsoft. Web based applications that have the look and feel of apps running on your PC.
Yeah, I tried the new MSIE beta and still prefer Firefox.
Couldn't uninstall the MSIE beta fast enough.