back to article IE9 strips to win Chrome fans

Microsoft took an unusual approach with Internet Explorer 9, first releasing "Platform previews" that showed off the new rendering engine but with little user interface, before finally issuing a beta that shows off its full features. The engine is the big story, with its implementation of a significant chunk of HTML5, hardware …


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  1. BozNZ

    IE9 strips to win Chrome fans

    It would have to strip, go down on me and make breakfast in the morning before I ever load IE on my PC again.

    1. Brett Weaver

      I Agree

      If it does not run faster than Chrome, Microsoft has had a year to copy it of course... Then it should be ignored . I just get fed up with so called "reviewers" talking about software like this. If it runs faster - then great! I'm interested.. If not and you have been paid to advertise it please include that information in the heading so we dont waste time.

  2. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Why win back Chrome fans?

    If people have stuck with IE all they way through to 9, they're not even aware Chrome exists. If they've deserted, they're not going to go back anyway (apart from maybe for the odd banking site that doesn't work on Chrome).

    Not exactly the best of reasons to mess up the UI... although they've been flailing about with every release since 7 so I suppose they've got to carry on regardless.

  3. georgeclooneylookalike

    Welcome to the party

    Well done! Opera had all of these features years ago. Let the clone wars begin...

  4. The BigYin


    I got so excited about the new, faster, stripped-down IE9 as a replacement for Chrome that I downloaded it and could hardly contain myself. Imagine my disappointment when it wouldn't install on Ubuntu, Fedora or OS X!

    Well it just the beta, so I hopefully MS will make the other platform installs available on release day.

    1. The BigYin


      Have people around here had an irony by-pass or something?

    2. Pandy06269

      Microsoft - Mac OSX, Linux, come again?

      Uh, not since the very much unloved IE for Mac 5 has Microsoft made browsers for other platforms.

      Unless you're talking about Wine - which MS has (to my knowledge) never endorsed.

  5. ForthIsNotDead

    Seamonkey & Opera...

    I've been using a mixture of Seamonkey and Opera for a while now. I like Seamonkey because it can run the Firefox plugins, like Adblock.

    I stopped using Firefox because it took soooooooo long to start... Fine once it's running, but 15-20 seconds of hard disk grinding before it launches is a piss take...

    1. Anonymous Coward


      The product works but it takes 15 secs to start so you binned it?!?

      One of the greatest men of our time once said, "There is more to life than increasing it's speed.".

      If you fret and worry over losing 15 secs in your life, you may do well to heed Mahatma Ghandi's advice.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up

        Yes, really!

        People have come to expect browsers to start almost instantly, and 15 to 20 seconds would seem like ages. If you compare all the browsers start times then surely you'd be disappointed with the slowest one that started and perhaps you'd look at changing browsers. People have choices now, they don't need to stick with the default browser, and nor should they.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Thumb Down

          I restart start my browser once or twice a month

          I can deal with a 15 second delay twice a month.

  6. Citizen Kaned

    epic fail

    the vast majority of business users are still on XP. we are here (apart from me - im 'lucky' enough to have vista ultimate) and have no reasons to upgrade until we replace the desktops and laptops - which will be win7 pro i guess.

    to be honest after moving from firefox due to many problems to chrome, i am looking at moving away since chrome has started acting erratically and slowing down a fair bit. i use ie8 for all my dev testing since we have plenty of webapps written inhouse and everyone else uses IE8. maybe i should try opera again....

    1. Anonymous Coward

      For the love of...

      "...plenty of webapps written inhouse and everyone else uses IE8" develop with standards in mind the browser choice won't be an issue. How hard is that to understand? Fuck me, even Microsoft are on board with this now!

      1. Citizen Kaned


        yes, they are standard compliant. maybe if every browser rendered things excatly the same it might be easier (im talking pixel perfect). but how come then mr smart arse that you can do compliant code yet firefox, opera and chrome all render things slightly differently? surely if they were all super standard compliant this wouldnt happen would it? how can you have full standards if there is still minor differences in the 'compliant' browsers?

        my apps work fine in opera, chrome and FF, just the odd little bit of layout differences. which of course you must know since you are the god of standards compliance.

        im not talking about the basic shitty web2.0 sites, im talking fully functional web apps that do some faily complex stuff. why should i dick about for ages just to make sure FF, opera, IE and chrome all display pixel perfectly, when everyone at this place uses IE8?

        get off your high horse you sanctimonious prick

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          Browsers do not need to render everything to pixel perfection. It's a pointless thing to try and achieve. See You my wipe away the spittle now...

          1. Citizen Kaned


            my personal preference is that they do. we will agree to disagree and i will continue to do what the fuck i like in my environments.

            until all browsers can render pretty basic elements the same the web will only ever be a poor cousin to mediums like print that display exactly as intended.

            1. Eddie Johnson

              Your Personal Preference Of

              Controlling pixel rendering is contrary to the design intention of HTML. I hate web sites that try to control the way stuff looks in my browser. I set my window size and my font size, I want stuff to wrap to it, not give me horizontal scroll bars. That is the way HTML was designed to be rendered. Sites that try to resize my browser get blackballed really quickly.

              For your in house app its one thing but you are swimming against the current.

              1. Citizen Kaned

                fair enough....

                if you saw some of our apps you might change your mind. they look a shit load better than most ordinary OS installed app, and i would like to think usability is a big factor - since many of our users arent that PC savvy. i also dont resize the browser - thats a big no-no and something i hate personally too.

                what HTML was designed for and what it is currently used for are 2 massively different things.

      2. Daniel Harris 1


        All standards compliant browsers don't render standard compliant code in exactly the same way.

        In many organisations one web browser is used, so you develop your app to work perfectly in that browser.

        Also if the organisation runs Windows on all their machines and you want to use Active Directory to set the application permissions then IE lets you do this without requesting the login details from a user.

      3. Anonymous Coward

        In a word, legacy

        We have bucket loads of apps that were written donkey's ago and we're stuck with them. Sorry but some companies, no matter how hard you complain, will not simply dump or recode apps just to "get down" with the latest standards. Yes it flipping annoying when you have to support this cacky old shite, but supporting it pays my bills so I shut-up and put-up, OK?

  7. BorkedAgain

    Was it just me?

    ...or did that whole article sound like a list of features being simply copied off Chrome, but with MS spinning them as if they were their own ideas? Don't get me wrong; I'm all for IE becoming a decent browser; all my clients who use it to access their web apps will have an easier time of it, but while a significant chunk of business and the public sector are STILL stuck on IE6 (Aaargh!) I'm not sure what difference this is going to make.

    Nice to see the slow, fat kid at least trying to keep up though. Bless.

  8. Gav

    I *like* browser features

    "Microsoft will say that few care about such things, since its research indicated that users interacted with web sites first, with Windows second, and only rarely with browser features. "

    Thanks Microsoft. Just one more reason not to use IE. The thing about browser features is that they are consistent across all websites and usually faster than the confusing and fancy widgets that the website may or may not supply, that may or may not work correctly.

    I really hate this mania Microsoft have for hiding functions away so that they become harder and harder to locate. It use to be you could open a menu and there would be everything available. Then they started abbreviating menus to hide things you hadn't used before, just to make it even less likely that you would ever use them. Now they're hiding the entire menu!

    I look forward to encountering the next generation of Microsoft keyboards, where they hide all the function keys, you are forced to look for capitals on a ribbon, and numbers are only available as a spinner widget, in a tab, on a dialog, accessible through an 8x8 pixel icon that first takes you through Microsoft's online 'help' website.. It would be impossible to use, but think of the nice clean keyboard interface you'd have!

  9. Martin 71 Silver badge

    What is with microsoft and menu bars?

    I use them. It's the only way to get to some items. Having been exposed to windows 7 set up not to have any menu bars (Is this undoable by the way?), I know how absolutely impossible it is to use. It's only because I know certain keyboard shortcuts (yes I know all of us HERE do) that I was able to print a document in notepad for pity's sake!

    1. Ocular Sinister

      I blame trendy arty farty UI designers...

      ...who are more interested in doing something 'cool' than making an efficient, usable user interface. That, and the ever growing need to justify *another* round of software upgrades when there's precious little useful new functionality. Worryingly, everyone seems to be trying to copy the menu-bar-less model at the moment. *shudder*

      Have a pint, sir, for we are clearly like minded!

    2. AndrueC Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Stupid ribbons

      I have to use Office 2k7 at work and the ribbons flat out don't work. I have played with Office 2k10 a bit though and curiously the ribbons seemed better. Mind you one of the big improvements in 2k10 is that you an customise the ribbons and with a bit effort I can get back to where I was with Office 2k3 - everything I need within one click.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up

        Couldn't agree more

        Ribbons are a complete waste of time. It wouldn't be so bad if MS allowed you to revert back to normal menus - but they don;t. Funnily enough one of the most downloaded ribbons is the 'standard menu' add-on. Also MS seem to totally fail to understand that switching to ribbons would mean retraining lots of personnel and re-writing many operational procedures - so business would have to pay for the 'upgrade' as well as having the added costs associated with deploying and using it...and they wonder why corporations can't see the advantages of new Office products.

    3. Giles Jones Gold badge


      The study of efficient user interfaces is called Human Computer Interaction. I'm guessing Microsoft feels that their users aren't human?

      Anyway, once you've designed the perfect UI the sales people will be begging you to change it all so they have something to sell. Even if it means ruining it all, the fixes to usability can be in the next release then.

      I do wonder why they do so much work on the browser, just when they've started to fix all the bugs and security holes they introduce more code to exploit.

  10. hi_robb

    How long before

    Someone little oik discovers a security vulnerability in the feature to pin shortcuts which can be updated to the start menu.

    I really don't like the sound of that feature one bit from a security point of view.


  11. stucs201
    Thumb Down

    No menu + no search box = no installation

    Looks like a right mess. I don't care if its "faster" (my web browsing speed is limited by my connection, not my CPU). If they've discarded most of the interface its about as useful as a lamborghini without a steering wheel.

  12. Tron

    Save the menus.

    Sticking with Opera.

    I like menus. They work and that's always nice. Some idiot at MS decided that the ribbon justified his salary. Ask most users and they'll tell you that it justified his sacking. MS have a nasty habit of taking things that work and screwing them up. Wordpad was a useful WP for letters in all previous versions of windows. In W7 it's a joke because it's been ripponed. I use the menu-retaining OpenOffice instead for short stuff, bug-ridden though it is. Works 9 includes an acceptable version of MS Word for anything longer (with menus).

  13. thomas k.
    Thumb Up

    Thanks for the tip

    Thanks for the Alt menu tip - I like the new 9 but was a bit bummed at having to retrain my muscle memory to access Favorites (Favourites) on the opposite side of the screen from 7.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    It's History...

    What's the mania for shoving your browsing history in everybody's face? I don't [daren't more like] access pr0n on the family PC, but I don't want world+dog at home going on the PC after I've been on it and them being able to have a little check on what I've been wasting my time on whilst they watch The One Show.

    It bugs me to distraction but all browsers now apparently insist on sticking up a page full of 'look where you've been' thumbnails & links. I know I can clear my history in only 17 mouse-clicks probably but I don't want to have to remember to keep doing this. And the means to switch it off is either buried or non-existant in Opera, FF & Chrome, unless I've missed something bleedin' obvious.

    Fail to anyone who points me to Pr0n mode Private Browsing - I still have to make that effort to remember to do it. Give me a browser that lets me access what I want to and then forgets everything I did, by default.

    Grrr </rant>

    1. Citizen Kaned


      even if mega paranoid just install a different browser and remove its icons. then just call it from the command line. or create a separate account with password?

    2. slippy

      RE: private browsing

      Usually there's a command line option to start the browser in "private" mode, I just change my shortcuts to do this. Stop me ever having to worry about it.

      1. Maty


        If you set Firefox to zero cache on disk and to clear all private data on exit, what's the issue? As soon as you close the browser all is history (except it isn't because when you click history on restarting the browser nothing is there).

        If the rest of the family whinge about their history not being available, set them up with IE. (Where index.dat will soon be rich with blackmail material).

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Thumb Up


          I'm not sure that this removes all Flash cookies - which are being used more and more to track usage these days. But I'm sure FF has a plug-in to sort that out.

    3. Dave 129

      Re: It's History... by AC

      I am not sure about Chome and FF, but in Opera speed dial has to be configured with your chosen sites - it doesn't just pick your most frequented pr... I mean business related sites.

      Further: in Opera Private Browsing can be instigated on a per tab basis without having to restart the whole application. Just right click on the + icon to add a new tab and select "private tab" as the new tab type. Nothing is stored after that tab is closed.

      If you are feeling really paranoid ensure that all the caches are cleared when the browser is shutdown (Preferences - Advanced - History). block third party cookies and prevent Opera keeping your typed URI history.

    4. Anonymous Coward

      RE: It's History

      Linux Mint live usb?

    5. Gary Turner

      Firefox options, maybe?

      In the tools dropdown, options > privacy. Select remember history, forget history, or customize history.

      There are lots of other things you can set to your liking, rather than go on meaningless rant.

    6. Unlimited

      Individual Users

      Create a user for each of the family members that uses the family PC.

      You can then all have separate histories, settings, mydocuments folders, permissions e.t.c


    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      In Opera, type this in the address bar.


      Untick it.

      You might also want to set the history depth to 0


      If you want to browse the hundreds of config options Opera has (some of which are exposed in the prefs UI, others hidden for power users), just type: opera:config

  15. Ned Fowden

    Internet Explorer

    is an ok browser, already better than chrome without having to copy features

    personally i'm sticking with pre-chrome Flock & Firefox browsers

    (although I am stuck with IE7 at the office) :/

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Internet Explorer

      Oh you silly sausage.

  16. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    HTML is not PDF

    @Citizen Kaned, "maybe if every browser rendered things excatly the same it might be easier (im talking pixel perfect). but how come then mr smart arse that you can do compliant code yet firefox, opera and chrome all render things slightly differently?"

    I don't know why you're calling, well, somebody a smart arse, because you're being dumb. HTML is not Postscript or PDF, it is designed to specify general page layout and appearance and that is it. These browsers can all be fully compliant and not render identically because the specifications do not specify down to the pixel. It may shock you to know, I can even change the size of text on my browser.


    Regrading the article -- well, IE9 is irrelevant to me since I have only even seen one machine running 7. But, if Microsoft is finally going to follow industry standards, and try to improve browser performance, kudos to them.

  17. Anonymous Coward

    Less than 18 hours.

    I tend to use a mixture of browsers but I have always been an early adopter and absolutely loved IE7 and IE8 when in beta but IE9 beta was on my pc for less than 24 hours. I despise it. If I wanted a browser that looked and had the functionality of chrome then I would download chrome. Instead I shall continue to use mainly Firefox and then IE8 only occasionally.

  18. Craig 2


    The thing is, Microsoft only ever needed to make IE `good enough`. Good enough so users wouldn't be so annoyed they would take the time and effort to install an alternative browser. Of course there's always the few who would always use anything else just to be cool, save the planet, stick it to the man or whatever. (See above comments for examples of such people)

    Only problem was: Microsoft couldn't even get close to `good enough` so people left in their droves. If IE9 turns out to be equal or even close to other browsers then it will stay as the default on most peoples machines.

  19. Christopher Martin

    Security, security, security

    Usability is not the reason to stay away from IE.

  20. Daniel Owen

    Find on page?

    In IE8 you could show the menus if you chose, but in IE9, they have to be summoned by pressing Alt. The important function "Find on this page" was part of the search box in IE8, but in IE9, it has moved to the File menu under the gear wheel icon, or the Edit menu if you press Alt, or Ctrl-F if you know the shortcut. It is a minor detail, but this inconsistency illustrates the downside of hiding traditional menus.

    All that just to say you can still use ctrl+f, who uses the menu to get to find these days?

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Vertical Tabs

    All of the PCs that I use at home and at work have wide screen, and once I started to use the Tree Style Tabs add-on in Firefox to put my tabs down the left of the screen, instead of taking up much more valuable space across the top, I've never looked back. It's the primary reason that I use Firefox, and the only reason I use IE8 is because it's "Private browsing mode" is far more convenient than Firefox's. I can't see even bothering to try our IE9 if it doesn't allow me to put my stack my tabs on the left side of the screen, instead of squeezing them across the top.

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