Microsoft have rolled out an IE9 beta, you can have a look for yourself over at http://www.beautyoftheweb.com/. I can’t haz IE9 as I’m still on Windows XP (I didn’t upgrade to Vista and haven’t got around to Windows 7 yet) so I’ve have to just have a look at the various round ups and reviews (such as this one – IE 9 gets back in the game)
But as I read over the various improvements in the interface, the new support for up and coming standards and the use of hardware acceleration amongst many other advances, one thought stuck in the back of my mind – how good will IE9 have to be to offer a chance of growing it’s market share again? The answer obviously is pretty damn good.
IE will no doubt maintain the majority share of the browser market for a long time given the large number of users who neither know or care which browser they use, or are quite happy to stick with IE out of comfort. The growth of Google Chrome has shown that users are not unwilling to switch their browser if a better alternative is available. But even if IE produced the best browser by a country mile I’m not sure how much it would effect it’s standing as a browser. Could you see web designers and developers recommending it to their clients? Sure there are plenty of fair minded sensible people out there who would hold their hands up and say yes it is a great browser, but it’s become cool to hate Microsoft and IE and to bemoan their problems. There are many for whom IE would have to show something really really special before they would consider doing anything other than picking at it’s faults.
Still we don’t live in a one browser world and it’s nice to see that Microsoft are finally taking up the baton and producing a more modern browser that supports the standards and innovations that designers and developers like me want to see.