Microsoft IE9 release: Download "the best browser"

IE9 has finally been released for download. Microsoft calls Internet Explorer 9 the best browser for Windows -- it would say that, wouldn't it -- but what are bloggers saying?

By Richi Jennings. March 16, 2011, 6am EDT.

Update 4, 4am, 17th: add Sebastian Anthony's stats.

Update 3, 4.05pm: add comment from Katherine Noyes.

Update 2, 11.25am: add comment from Peter Judge.

Update 1, 8.25am: add comment from Robert O'Callahan.

IE9 logo (Microsoft)

Microsoft's release date for IE9 was Monday. But before you download it, let's see if it really is "the best browser for Windows," as its proud parents claim. Time for another of Richi's review roundups. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers dig into the detail.

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment. Not to mention What a disgruntled employee could leave in the code...

(MSFT)

Gregg Keizer kicks us off today:

Microsoft ... claims that it's the best browser for Windows because rivals "dilute" their energies on other operating systems. ... The message couldn't be clearer: Because Microsoft knows Windows, and develops only for Windows, IE9 is the best browser. ... So much for ... Chrome, Firefox ... or Safari.

...

The company has touted key features, like "pinning," that rely on Windows 7, and ... [quotes] Windows-only browser usage statistics, [which] boosts its share numbers by dismissing other operating systems. ... Microsoft's claim that IE9 is the best browser on Windows rests largely on its ... GPU ... hardware acceleration. ... Other browsers, notably the upcoming Firefox 4, also offer hardware acceleration on Windows.
M0RE

  Tony Bradley talks safety:

Much has been made of the blazing performance of IE9 ... and the overall immersive experience of the new browser. ... Less attention is [given to its] improved security. ... These four ... represent some of the more important changes. ...

  1. Microsoft's hybrid approach to the "do not track" dilemma seems to be the best option currently on the table. ...
  2. The SmartScreen Application Reputation protection assesses the reputation of a given file or download. ...
  3. When you use the pinned sites feature ... the site opens in its own browser session. ... [This] segregation means that session cookies are not accessible by other tabs or windows. ...
  4. [And] the browser session opens without any browser helper objects ... or add-on toolbars ... the potential attack surface is minimized.
    M0RE

But Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols has his own numbered list:

IE 9 is much better than any other version of IE to date, it’s still not my first pick for a Web browser. ... I recommend Chrome 10. Firefox 4 also looks like its worth considering. ...

  1. XP users? You’re out of luck. ... even if Microsoft wants to ignore Mac OS X and Linux, why not at least a version for XP? ... The answer, of course, is that Microsoft wants to sell you Windows 7. ...
  2. IE 9 actually loses to Chrome and even to the Firefox 4 release candidate on ... benchmarks. ... Chrome just feels faster than IE9. ...
  3. The 64-bit model is a dog. ... Why is Microsoft deliberately insisting that their 64-bit users install a second-rate version? ...
  4. IE 9 is much more secure than any previous version of IE ... but it you really want to be safe, Chrome and Firefox appear to be the better choices. ...
  5. I’ve found multiple sites that simply won’t display quite right in IE 9. ... IE 9 actually does a lousy job of supporting HTML 5.
    M0RE

  As does Katherine Noyes:

I'm not so sure. Actually, I am sure -- that I won't ever be using IE9. Why? ...

  1. Haven't paid the Microsoft tax recently? Well then no IE9 for you. ... You must pay out or shove off. ...
  2. I am irked by the fact that Microsoft won't extend its browser's support beyond the universe of its own products. Mac users, doesn't this bother you? ... Redmond hereby invites you to take a hike. ...
  3. Microsoft's track record on security doesn't exactly inspire confidence. ... Part of it is the monoculture effect. ... Another part of it, however, is also the fact that Internet Explorer's code is closed. ...
  4. Some may tout IE9's "blazing performance," but the data really doesn't back that up.
    M0RE

  Peter Judge rules that IE9 isn't very green:

IE9 won’t run on PCs that only have Windows XP. [Microsoft] says this is to give the best experience, but it’s also part of its ongoing – and anti-environmental – campaign to kill off a product which many people feel is still good enough.

...

Re-using old desktop kit is something any organisation should consider, especially ... [now] people are storing and processing much less on their office PC or laptop using the cloud and desktop virtualisation.
M0RE

 
Simon Mackie
damns with faint praise:

IE9 is a great improvement over previous incarnations; it ... now doesn’t lag so very far behind.
...
[But] unless you really want some of its novel features, like the ability to pin websites to the taskbar, or your choice is restricted by your employer ... I still can’t recommend it over Firefox, Chrome and Opera.
M0RE

 
And Robert O'Callahan wonders why Firefox isn't even faster:

Microsoft's PR about "full hardware acceleration" is a myth. But it's true that some ... benchmarks consistently report better scores for IE9. ... The performance differences are explained by relatively small bugs in Firefox, bugs in IE9, and bugs in the benchmarks.
...
FishIE Tank ... Firefox 4 RC spends a lot of its time doing security checks for the drawImage call ... I added a simple cache to avoid security checks ... and the resulting builds are now slightly faster than IE9.
...
Speed Reading ... exercises a path that wasn't well optimized. ... [The new] builds include a tweak for that path, and are slightly faster than IE9.
...
Mr Potato Gun, Preschool and HWACCEL ... we will change our timeout clamp to 4ms because that's what the spec says now. But wait, there's more! My testing shows that ... IE9 consistently clamps to ... about 3.2ms. ... It's certainly both very strange and very convenient for Microsoft's test scores!
M0RE


Meanwhile, Sebastian Anthony compares and contrasts:

Internet Explorer 9, in its first 24 hours of availability, has racked up a grand total of 2.3 million downloads.
... 
Impressive ... until you compare it to the latest major releases from Mozilla: Firefox 3.5 was downloaded 5 million times in 24 hours -- and Firefox 3 ... holds the world record ... with over 8 million downloads in one day.
...
The Internet has grown massively in the last three years ... all of those [new] users need Web browsers! ... Surprising, given the huge target audience, to see Internet Explorer 9 quite so far behind Firefox 3.
M0RE

 
And Finally...
What a disgruntled employee could leave in the code
 
 
Don't miss out on IT Blogwatch:

Richi Jennings, your humble blogwatcher
  Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can follow him as @richi on Twitter, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email: itbw@richij.com.

You can also read Richi's full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

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