back to article Microsoft's IE 8 misses Windows 7 updraft

Internet Explorer has continued its gentle drift southwards, having missed any boost from last year's release of IE 8 and the sales onslaught behind Windows 7. Meanwhile, rival Firefox saw its forward market-share march apparently halted by continued uptake of Google's Chrome for the month of January. Netmarketshare numbers …


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  1. blackworx
    Thumb Up

    That's because

    It's shit

  2. ShaggyDoggy

    Market share

    How can you have a market share for something that you don't pay for ?

    1. The BigYin

      Please tell me...

      ...where I can get my free copy of IE that will run on my OS (I do not have a WIndows license)

      What's that, I have to pay for a Windows license so I can run IE?

      Not free then, is it?

      1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

        Not free.... unless

        ... you are prepared to run it under Wine. You would be breaking the license conditions, and I believe that IE6 is the last version that you will get to run comfortably, but it works (I dual boot the Laptop I am doing this on, and have a valid Windows COA for it).

  3. Anonymous Coward

    I have Windows 7 & Firefox

    Until IE supports equivalents of Adblock and NoScript (and DownloadHelper), it has not got a chance in hell with me.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Gates Halo

      IE8 already has those features

      IE8 has a great equivalent of AdBlockPlus in the form of Simple Adblock. Download it from It uses the same adblocking filters as AdBlock Plus, so all ads are blocked.

      And, IE8 doesn't need anything like NoScript as it has Protected Mode support-- a feature that Firefox lacks. I've been using IE8 on Windows 7 for the last few months, and I'm loving it.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Where does Safari slot in to the figures?

    1. Anonymous Coward


      More to the point, who gives a shit?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It doesn't matter

      Safari isn't good even under MacOS- mobile safari is lovely, but the desktop one is the preserve of drongos.

      I only know one person who actually runs it, and he's a church of Jobs pillock, and really better off sticking to his Dungeons and Dragons (I kid ye not).

      That said, there's no reason why people shouldn't run it if they really want to, a monoculture is bad, mmkay. Just don't try and talk other people into it, especially people who have tried it, and found it wanting, and who DON'T WANT TO HEAR ABOUT IT ANY MORE (and don't want it stealth installed by an iTunes update).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Down


        The version on 10.6 is fine! Other than "stealth" installation, which is bad (It'd help if people actually read what they were agreeing to) what is wrong with Safari? Not trying to flame! I se that many people state that Safari is shit, but never *why*...

        1. The Unexpected Bill

          What's wrong with Safari?

          Generally, I like the Safari browser. But there are some things that I don't like, and they keep me from using it on a day to day basis. Hopefully some of these answer your question.

          1. Silent failure to load pages -- this only seems to happen on computers that are behind some sort of web content filter. Something about it has given Safari a bellyache from v1.0 to the present day v4.0. The only indication of failure is a blank white page. It usually takes a forcible clearing of the cache and cookies to get it going again. Happens on Mac OS (PPC/Intel) and Windows alike. An error message would be SO NICE.

          2. Inflexible toolbar -- there's no way to add buttons that I want to have (at least not that I've found). I really like to pop off a new tab by just requesting one from the tool bar, but there is no way to do so in Safari. That "plus" button is infuriating because I think that is what it should do while all it does is make a bookmark.

          3. Performance on a Dell Dimension 8300 (that already hasn't been all the machine it ought to have been from day one) with a P4 Northwood 2.8 and ATI Radeon X1300 graphics is mind-blowingly poor. Any redraw of the page being displayed or the UI takes *forever* and drags the machine into the dust. Maybe it's not Safari's fault--I've run it on a Deskpro EN SFF box (PIII/nVidia TNT2) and it was fine. My other browsers work fine, though.

          1. magnetik

            Re: What's wrong with Safari?

            1. Silent failure to load pages

            WTF? I see error messages.

            2. Inflexible toolbar

            Rright click the toolbar, click "customize toolbar", drag whatever buttons you want onto it. Simples.

            3. Performance

            Can't comment on Windows but the OS X version is a quick as you could hope a browser to be on my 5 year old iMac.

            I use Firefox for development and Safari for general browsing. All good IMO.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward



            1. I can't comment having never experienced the problem, but it sounds like it'd be a pain in the arse!

            2. The toolbar can be customised, at least in Safari 4 for Windows. Click on the gear icon thing and select "Customize Toolbar...". There is an option for a "New Tab" button. It's clearly not that obvious though. I've not really looked at Safari on Windows before, but it strikes me how similar it and Chrome are. On a Mac is just a case of right-clicking on the tool bar.

            3. I can partly explain the poor UI performance. It's in small part the way that Safari renders fonts. Rather than using ClearType, they use their own font rendering, the net result is really poor refresh performance. I can see why they'd want to do this in XP, the font rendering is awful, but it's just not necessary since Vista.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Standards compliance

    I don't care what browser someone uses, so long as it follows the standards.

    I will spec and code to the standards FIRST.

    Only then I add charges to make things work on third rate software like IE.

    If I have to do a demo, I will use Firefox (or Opera, or Safari, or...) and when people ask why "IE" looks funny I will tell them I am not using IE. I am using a fully standards compliant browser which offers greater portability, stability and security. I'll then fire up another browser to show them. And another. They will all (pretty much to the pixel) look the same.

    And then IE. The site will most likely look like vomit. And then I will explain that, because IE does not follow the standards, there is extra work involved in adding in many, many "special cases" for IEs short-comings and foibles.

    The look of shock on their faces is sometimes rather amusing.

    Standards first and last.

    Comply or die; good riddance IE.

    1. Test Man

      Re: standards compliance

      Fair enough, but please don't go on about "a fully standards compliant browser blah blah blah" because most people don't really care about the geeky stuff. The look of shock on their faces is nothing to do with what browser you're using, but with the geeky drivel coming from your mouth.

    2. blackworx
      Thumb Up

      Too true

      Having to strip out PNG gamma correction and bolt on Javascript to enable alpha channel is a bloody joke pure and simple.

      True, there are a lot of all-in-one scripts out there these days that bring IE sort of close to standards compliance, but (especially for a basic text, images and layout site) why should we even have to go there?

    3. Anonymous Coward


      "The look of shock on their faces is sometimes rather amusing."

      Presumably you mean the shock from realising they've hired a web dev who's so arrogant he expects 90-odd percent of their customers to change the software on their PC just to access the site.

      I expect the look of shock will be quickly followed by a look of relief as they fire your arse and find a web dev who can get off their high fucking horse for long enough to code a site that just works for most if not all of their customer base without going on a whinge about standards and browsers they've never even heard of, let alone care about.

      I'm all for web standards compliance but there's a time and a place for moaning about it, and while you're being paid to build a site for someone is definitely not it. If you actually said that at a demo, all they'd hear is "I do things my way, and you and your customers can just fuck off."

      1. Anonymous Coward

        No, it's ABSOLUTELY the right time and place...

        It is the part of the role of the developer and designer to educate the client, who more often than not doesn't have a clue about the issues involved in designing a website. I do get bored of explaining to clients that pixel perfection, for instance, across all browsers is an unrealistic expectation*, but it's entirely necessary to explain *why*. One of the reasons, among others, is Microsoft's lack of support for web standards in IE, although to be fair to Microsoft they are trying to fix this -- something that I also explain. The simplicity of the navigation and the overall accessibility of a site can only be achieved with semantic mark-up. No if's, no but's. Design and develop for the web first, browser differences should be dealt with later. '...and while you're being paid to build a site for someone is definitely not it.' is a bad attitude to have, not only for you, but for the web design and development profession as a whole. As a designer I am not only paid to design and develop; I am also, importantly, paid to advise. Just doing what you are told as a designer or developer isn't offering good customer service OR value for money.

        'If you actually said that at a demo, all they'd hear is "I do things my way, and you and your customers can just fuck off."' Of course they will! It's all about the relationship that is fostered with the client. If one approaches clients with the zeal of your typical common or garden nerd, then most people will react that way! Just as if you wait until you demo the site, it sounds like excuses!


      2. Chris007

        did you not read the article?

        where do you get the 90% from - IE has just over 60% share.....

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Down

        Ooo, sore point

        In real-world engineering (and other fields), standards compliance is critical. You can go to jail for not following the standards. Why should IT be any different? Badly formatted pages can lead to confusion, confusion can lead to mistakes and mistakes can lead to "Bad Things"(tm). Christ, even moving from one version of IE to another can screw the layout!

        IT had-and-soft infrastructure is as critical as using the correct grade steel for your beams. It can (and often is) safety and legally critical to ensure that the correct information is properly presented at all times regardless of access method (and did disabled access occur to you? That is HELPED by following the standards and can be a [often forgotten] legal requirement`).

        I have never been fired or even admonished for explaining (to people who need to care and need to know) why standards compliance is important. In fact, they are usually impressed "Here it is on desktop FF...anyone got a Nokia or iPhone? Right, there it is on your phone. No changes need - it just works". Ie will, of course, make it work on IE as well; and that is the point - it needs more work.

        You have no idea who I work for or what I do.

        So kindly take your ignorant, abusive and aggressive attitude somewhere else.

      4. Chris Bradshaw
        Gates Horns

        90% != 62%

        I make it only 62% and dropping, and that's assuming both IE8 and IE7 render as badly as IE6 (they don't) and also that customers have only one browser on their systems (they don't).

        The look of shock is probably because they suddenly realize that every time they pay for a web site, the cost has been higher for code to work around the non-compliance of M$. Augumented by the high cost of being tied to M$ Office, Excel, and/or Word, the cost of upgrading to Vista and back down to XP, the extra license upgrades because the cheap PC came with Home Basic, etc...

  6. lucmars

    Chrome ?

    Is it a real growth or just the effect of the discovery ?

    1. Annihilator

      Chrome growth

      Is (I reckon) a mixture of:

      a) ooh new browser

      b) ooh a way to avoid MS (again)

      c) in the case of two non-IT folks I know (parents) both independently installed Chrome on their laptops as "they wanted to use Google to search the web" and to them it appeared this was the only way to do it. Then came the phone call to me to sort out why the Internet looked funny. 5 minutes later they were back on Firefox and content again.

      This is Googles biggest asset - it's brand.

  7. druck Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Flakey website

    I'm trying to look at the site, but it keeps falling over. Oh look what it is running on, a Microsoft web server, the only thing dodgier than a Microsoft web browser.

  8. Greg J Preece

    Come-a come-a down dooby doo down down

    Breakin' up is haaard toooooooo do!

    Oh for the love of God, I'm 23. How do I know Neil Sedaka lyrics? In fact, how do I know it's Neil Sedaka/The Partridge Family in the first place? Aaa!

    Oh, right, the article. Woo yay, IE sucks, FF rules, blah blah, all that nonsense.

    1. Annihilator
      Thumb Up

      I love I love I love my calendar girl

      Same symptoms, but mother the cause of that one.

      Dad is responsible for Def Leppard and Troggs to name but two - he's forgiven. Meant I was the only arse at school who knew Wet Wet Wet were covering Love Is All Around, you can imagine the respect that bought me.

      Pour some sugar on me baby.

  9. apexwm

    IE is riddled with problems

    It says a lot when Windows 7 had good success, yet IE usage is still sinking. This means Windows users are purposely avoiding the built-in browser and choosing something else, like Firefox or Chrome. Personally, Firefox has several huge advantages over IE. First, it's not nearly as bloated as IE. It's MUCH easier to back up my entire Firefox profile which is all stored in one single folder on the hard drive. IE's profile data is spread all throughout the hard drive and registry, making it a challenge to back up, even for advanced users. And the number of plugins available for Firefox is huge, and they are free. You typically find that plugins for IE are available for purchase to corporate users. And lastly, Firefox is MUCH better at being backwards compatible. All of the time you hear of issues with different versions of IE working/not working with various sites. You don't hear this of Firefox because it just works. You put all of this together and it's no wonder people are scrapping IE. It's also riddled with security flaws, too.

    <a href=""></a>

  10. Lewis Mettler 1

    $35 discount on the way?

    The lack in interest for IE suggests that Microsoft should offer consumers a $35 discount for not taking IE home. Otherwise they purchase it but choose not to use it.

    I know that the EU Commission and the US DOJ want consumers to be forced to purchase IE. But, I guess the adage about leading a horse to water applies here. Even worse, the hores has to build up a sweat to get to the pond.

    Despite commingling the IE and OS code and all of the engineers reasons why that is a bone headed idea (read that as IE6), Microsoft will continue to force the sale of IE to all it can.

    Even those who are too dumb to realize the toy in the happy meal is not free.

    Legally, if you buy a bag of parts each part is attributed a portion of the cost you pay. And that will always be that way regardless of the fraud Microsoft wants to use to fool the idiots.

    Without the illegal practices we would not have the IE6 problem today. And almost all browsers would have been standard compliant all along. That is what happens when you can not force a consumer to use a particular technology. Of course, Microsoft never has been and never will be interested in what a consumer might want.

  11. The Unexpected Bill

    No IE7 or IE8 for me...

    Microsoft loves to tout the the "fact" that IE7 and IE8 have a "streamlined user inferface that's free of unnecessary clutter".

    Oh, is it? (Hint: put the address and toolbar in IE6 on the same row. Hide the links bar. Observe the true meaning of a "clean and uncluttered UI". Neither IE7 or IE8 can hold a candle to that.)

    Plus, being on Windows 2000 (does what I need in every way and it is paid for) for the most part means that a third party browser is the only choice I have. Firefox works fine in every regard, so I'm sticking with it. (I'm also doing my part to spread Firefox when I work on people's computers, and so far everyone who has tried it has liked it. As a system administrator by day, I've also gone to great lengths to put Firefox on the desktop. Sometimes it's a chore, but I've managed.)

    @ Greg J Preece : that comment on age and music absolutely made my day! (I'm a few years older but I listen to and know by heart a lot of those 50s/60s/70s songs.)

    1. Greg J Preece

      I blame my father

      A childhood full of sitting in the back of the car, listening to Roy Orbison, Buddy Holly, the Eagles, Bread, the Traveling Wilburys, etc, etc, etc.

      Hey, don't get me wrong - no-one messes with the Wilburys. I am the Monkey Man at the End of the Line. But there comes that moment in the charity shop where the cute girl helps out the oldies behind the counter, Radio Ancients is on, and suddenly you and the 75-year-old shop manager are the only two people singing along to Laughter in the Rain.

      Epic fail.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Ah, the usual trolls have congealed

    Yet again, the opinions on standards are mired in the same out-dated opinions.

    Yes, IE still has a bit to go, but it's miles better than it used to be. Certainly better than some of Operas rendering attempts, anyhoo.

    The whole standards arguement would have been as stagnant as a webdevs breath, if it weren't for the recent, and rather worrying developments in the HTML5 disscusions. It's truly ironic that M$ have been the lone voice of sanity. I'm not suprised redmond have abstained from the video discussions, seeing as the rest of the standard appears to be an unstoppable train wreck of useless and redundant tags, or gaping security holes.

    But anyways, from a users perspective, ALL these browsers have their downsides. FF is bloody slow at loading, installs its updates at the most inconvenient moments, and tends to suffer from plugin bloatware.

    Chrome is too damn Fisher-Price and condescending. No, I don't want you to perform a google search from, just give me the damn 404, let me correct my own damn spelling mistake, and get on with my life.

    Opera tries to do a million and one things. All badly. It's such a resource hog that when you do start using all it's features it grinds to a halt, and out of all the browsers, I've actually had the most page rendering anomilies in this one.

    IE8 has a dog-rough javascript rendering engine, and because of this, is prone to tabs freezing. I also don't like the fact that the 'X' doesn't appear on the tab unless you select it.

    Yet despite this, I've actually started using IE8. Why? Internet accelerators. Stupid name, bloody brilliant idea. In a direct comparison with FF, I save up to 5 clicks per action.

    Unlike FF, it's actually incredibly easy to add any custom website.

    No messing about for xml files or looking for the link "add this site as a search"

    Highlight a section of text on one website, click the accelerator (did I mention I hate the name) select a search, and it opens the results in a new tab. No mess, no fuss.

    It's all horses for courses of course, but for me this is a winning feature.

    1. 46Bit


      To say that post reflected the truth doesn't touch the half of it. Realistically, all HTML5 should have been was <video> tags and a couple of the input field types (date etc) - all the <header>/etc is really just rubbish that people will be forced into fussing over and using for no real reason. Hell, even <video> is questionable - it's something to consider after you've got consensus on standards, not just to force through and hope something emerges from the mess (when in reality we're just going to descend into browser-conditional video formats).

      Whilst I use a mix of FF & Chrome for most of my browsing, I honestly don't mind IE8 (other than some speed problems I always seem to have on all my comps), and IE7 isn't really that bad - it's just IE6 that's the problem.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Sorry, but you are wrong...

        >"Realistically, all HTML5 should have been was <video> tags and a couple of the input field types (date etc) - all the <header>/etc is really just rubbish that people will be forced into fussing over and using for no real reason..."

        It's there to cure 'divitis' -- a bid to make the markup simpler, cohesive and most importantly, accessible. The *beauty* of HTML5 is that it's less strict than xHTML. Yes, I guess that one could argue that HTML 4.01 wasn't broken in the first place and that xHTML ironed out most of the kinks that existed for the anally retentive, but neither work particularly well either! If you don't want to use these "pointless" tags, then don't, continue as you have before. To quote the current Editors Working Draft of the HTML5 spec;

        "Authors are strongly encouraged to view the div element as an element of last resort, for when no other element is suitable. Use of the div element instead of more appropriate elements leads to poor accessibility for readers and poor maintainability for authors."

        it's not that bad, is it? Hardly "fussing... for no real reason"!

        Have a read of you'll find it interesting whether you agree with the content or not.

        TAs for Internet Explorer, IE 7 was an improvement, but man was it holey and the Trident engine was still sucky; * is another step forward, as was *finally* taking part in the W3C, but there is still a long way to go before I'd entertain using it, or even suggesting that others do...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      I'm also using IE8 occasionally (it's inPrivate browsing feature works better than FFs Private Browsing, but the one feature of Firefox that I can't (won't) give up is the ability to have my tabs listed vertically, down the left hand side of the page, instead of across the top. The Tree Style Tab add-on does this in Firefox, but I haven't found anything similar for IE8.

  13. CC

    Chromes extensions really helped

    The latest Chrome that uses their one button extensions is a big plus.

    Unlike IE where Scripting and Flash controls are buried Chrome is right on the toolbar where you can just hit it when you need it, no rummaging through configuration files.

    True Opera and FF have similar features but Chrome is much faster than them so it gets used while IE and Opera and now FF are relegated to the dumpster.

  14. Two Sheds

    Chrome for me

    I'm very much a 'normal' user and I hate IE8. It's just so slow!

    I find FF quite beta-ish, and Opera too fussy, and I don't like anything from (cr)apple.

    I really like Chrome, or rather it's privacy-friendly European clone Iron. It's ultra fast compared to FF and IE, easy to customize search (why on earth would you want to 'bing', though), has great features: bookmark sync (fab), start page thingy, p0rn mode (AKA incognito), great use of screen space (bookmarks only shown when you open a tab for exampe), and now supports add-ons.

    I have no built-in dislike of MS, but IE8 is a step backwards.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      Son't like anything from (cr)apple?

      Stop using Chrome then... The html rendering is a slightly modified version of Apples WebKit.

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