Microsoft has launched a website titled “Windows Internet Explorer 8: Get the facts,” where it gives reasons for installing the browser, compares it to two competing browsers, and busts myths around its offering. At the top, there are selective quotes from different IE8 articles, including one from our own.
Internet Explorer 8 may have been released in March, but Microsoft is still pushing new marketing efforts. Let’s have a look at each of the three sections to see what exactly Microsoft is promoting.
In the “Reasons to install” section, Microsoft lists eight distinct points for moving to IE8. Every single one of the points is valid, as long as you can see through the slight exaggeration. IE8 is a huge improvement over IE7, and this section underlines that quite well:
1. It’s faster than ever: Surfing the web is now quicker than ever, thanks to performance enhancements that reduce how long it takes you to do a task. For example? A more intuitive address bar.
2. It’s easier than ever: You don’t have to open up a new window to find information like driving directions—now you can get that info easily using one of our Accelerators.
3. It’s safer than ever: No matter what you’re doing, you’ll stay safer using the SmartScreen filter. You’re instantly better protected against malicious software that can compromise your privacy and identity.
4. Keep up with the stuff that matters to you: Whether it’s news, stock quotes, or even auction items, now you can stay on top of sites that update frequently using Web Slices.
5. See any site easily: View sites with ease, even if they were designed for an older browser, with one click on the Compatibility View button.
6. Recover from crashes quickly: Came across a site that caused a tab to crash? No worries, your browser session is stable, thanks to new tab isolation and crash recovery features.
7. Surf with more privacy: InPrivate Browsing gives you the option to prevent browsing history, cookies, usernames and passwords from being retained by the browser.
8. Make it yours: Customize your browser by choosing from an ever growing collection of handy and easy-to-use Internet Explorer 8 add-ons from the Internet Explorer Add-ons Gallery.
The “Browser comparison” section is a little more controversial. It lists 10 areas that Microsoft believes are important for browsers and then points out how IE8 beats Firefox and Chrome in seven of them. The other three are ties, according to the software giant:
1. Security: Internet Explorer 8 takes the cake with better phishing and malware protection, as well as protection from emerging threats.
2. Privacy: InPrivate Browsing and InPrivate Filtering help Internet Explorer 8 claim privacy victory.
3. Ease of Use: Features like Accelerators, Web Slices and Visual Search Suggestions make Internet Explorer 8 easiest to use.
4. Web Standards: It’s a tie. Internet Explorer 8 passes more of the World Wide Web Consortium’s CSS 2.1 test cases than any other browser, but Firefox 3 has more support for some evolving standards.
6. Reliability: Only Internet Explorer 8 has both tab isolation and crash recovery features; Firefox and Chrome have one or the other.
7. Customizability: Sure, Firefox may win in sheer number of add-ons, but many of the customizations you’d want to download for Firefox are already a part of Internet Explorer 8 – right out of the box.
8. Compatibility: Internet Explorer 8 is more compatible with more sites on the Internet than any other browser.
9. Manageability: Neither Firefox nor Chrome provide guidance or enterprise tools. That’s just not nice.
Performance: Knowing the top speed of a car doesn’t tell you how fast you can drive in rush hour. To actually see the difference in page loads between all three browsers, you need slow-motion video. This one’s also a tie.
The last one we find particularly interesting, because in March Microsoft showed off its own tests that showed IE8 beating Firefox and Chrome most of the time. Specifically, the software giant said that out of the top 25 sites (according to comScore), IE8 outperformed Firefox 3.05 and Chrome 1.0 in loading 12 websites, Chrome 1.0 placed second by loading nine sites first, and Firefox brought up the rear by loading four sites faster than the other two browsers. Either Microsoft is admitting this data is not longer relevant because of newer versions of both Firefox and Chrome, or the company is simply saying that the differences in loading times are negligible in the first place.
In the “MythBusting” section, Microsoft outlines four apparent myths about Internet Explorer:
* Myth #1: Internet Explorer is much slower than Firefox and Chrome.
* Myth #2: Internet Explorer is less secure than Firefox.
* Myth #3: Firefox is a richer, more adaptable browser than Internet Explorer.
* Myth #4: Internet Explorer doesn’t play well with Web standards.
The site has a lot of good information, but all in all, it is covered with PR propaganda that does more harm to IE8 than good, at least for tech-savvy users who tend to hate Microsoft’s browser. The first section is fine, but the second and third sections are a turnoff.
While Microsoft may have created a browser that is finally competitive, the software giant is promoting it in a questionable way. Instead, the company should have kept the first section and had a second one for taking suggestions on IE9. In other words, to stay competitive the company needs to underline its commitment to keeping IE moving forward and should not limit suggestions for IE9 to just IE8 testers.