IE has been the bash-up browser for quite some time. Every other browser gets things right. Now IE9 seems to have the right start, but I wonder that it will still be the IE6. Not because it lags in development, but because it lags in adoption.
There are 3 ways in which users can adopt the new IE browser:
- Manually upgrade the old IE to the new IE
- Microsoft updates the browser as part of Windows updates
- The user buys a new computer with the latest Windows
I don’t think non-geeks will manually upgrade. Microsoft won’t update the browser through updates till it is out of the beta. And not many users upgrade their Windows machines frequently. As a result, majority of the users are stuck with the old browser.
I once asked a client about their policy of keeping IE7 as their corporate browser. This stayed so for a long time, even after IE8 came out. When I asked the reason, I got “Why upgrade the browser if nothing’s broken for us! We already get IE7 as the default browser, then why change?”
As against this, users do not get Firefox or Chrome by default, so they get to download and use the latest versions. These users also upgrade frequently to the browser individually because it is not tied to the updates or the OS version.
So, it looks like the advantage of IE as a default browser with the Windows operating system had its own disadvantages. Sure this is will ensure them the market share, but it will also become its own enemy.
IE9 has a lot of improvements, but today the default browser is still IE8, even when I buy a new Windows 7 machine. By the time IE9 will show up on these machines, the other browsers will be a step ahead, making IE9 another IE6. In fact, till Microsoft does something to accelerate the adoption, IEx+1 will always be IE6.