Microsoft's Internet Explorer Faces Down Other Browsers, Comes Up Short

By Steve Anderson March 21, 2012

Ah, Microsoft Internet Explorer. For many of us, you were our first browser, back when our only real mainstream choice was you or Netscape. But we've grown up, IE, and to a lot of us these days, you sound more like a scream of horror than you do a meaningful internet experience. A recent comparison between the two shows that, while Internet Explorer has come a long way from the bad old days, it's still got a lot to do to convince many former users about its merit to hold the top slot.

The comparison in question was staged between Microsoft's Internet Explorer and Google's Chrome browser, and lost out mostly to a question of tabs. For Google, the Chrome experience allowed a whole lot of tabs to be displayed all at once, allowing fully 37 on one screen before they simply became useless, and Microsoft could only max out at 11 tabs before calling in a scroll button to take care of business. Chrome also did well against IE on speed comparisons, specifically in boot-up and JavaScript run time. 

Special attention was called to IE's handling of Flash, its use of the address bar for Google searches, and the “site pinning” system, which provided easy access to a favorite site, but didn't fare so well when a user tried to get more than one site in the pinning stakes.

Oddly, my own browser of choice, Mozilla's Firefox, could only bring out 12 tabs itself before going to the scroll bar. Though in all honesty, I don't think I've ever kept that many tabs open before switching to a separate window. I keep Chrome on hand for a backup when Opera and Firefox behave badly with my programs of choice myself, and Chrome crapped out at just 17 occurrences of “New Tab” before beginning the truncation games and referring to all of my tabs as “New Ta”. Opera, meanwhile, took 12 tabs to convert “Speed Dial” into “Speed”.

So while Internet Explorer is quite clearly making a case for itself as the top browser, it's still got a long way to go to not only get users back into its fold, but also get others out of their current folds. It does have quite a bit going for it, as even long-time Chrome users attest, but getting someone to change a browser is no mean feat—it's almost like switching cell phone makers. When you've been an iPhone user for a while, you're likely not thinking about a switch to Android any time soon. And that's exactly the kind of challenge IE is going to have to surmount in order to keep and grow its user base.

Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli

Contributing TechZone360 Writer

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