Rumor: Internet Explorer 8 to be the Final Version?

March 11th, 2009

A lot of people noticed something when they downloaded Internet Explorer 7–released five years after IE6 and the death of its main competitor: Netscape–it looks a lot like Firefox! There’s a good reason why they took a few pages out of Mozilla’s playbook, the third-party Internet browser had surpassed IE6′s (and IE7 with its upgrade to 2.0 and buried it in the ground with 3.0) power, reliability, and sheer amount of user add-ons available over the scant allotment of what Microsoft offered to upgrade it. So with IE8 in development for Windows 7, there’s a chance Microsoft can come back to be relevant in the market, right?

Maybe not. A week ago, Microsoft announced that users can turn off certain system aspects in Windows 7, including, but not limited to: Windows Media Player, Microsoft Office, and Internet Explorer 8. Perhaps they have come to realize that in this day and age, independent makers of commonly-used programs are beginning to surpass those of the paid content found automatically on packaged operating systems. Open Office is a huge example of how to do freeware right, because who in their right mind will pay $150 for the current Office offerings when one can get a freeware version that can read the same files and do virtually the same thing for no cost?

Microsoft seems to be looking the direction of its increasing amount of competitors (this, by the way, is a must read), and with Google having entered the game with Chrome, a lot of companies are wondering if the search engine giant will become the next internet browser giant. In a page taken right out of the classic flash animation, Epic 2015, we see that the company’s growth, innovation, and accessibility are starting to take a real toll on its competitors, with no end in sight. While Apple’s Safari has grown more powerful thanks to the push of Apple’s desktops and notebooks, and Opera slowly becoming a more popular choice among independents, it’s tough for Microsoft to find its niche in the internet browsing market, other than inexperienced users (whose numbers are drastically dwindling).

The current rumor goes that IE8 will be made with WebKit, which was used for the core development of Safari and Chrome. Other than a few security features made famous by Windows Vista, Microsoft doesn’t have a lot of extra ground in this market. The icing on the cake may very well be the option to turn off IE8 in Windows 7, possibly showing Microsoft’s intention that there is little to be made from the market, where resources could be used to make the new OS more efficient, creatue new intellectual properties, or add ground-breaking features to existing ones. Because, let’s face it, there isn’t much to be made from something that’s available for free. With the market getting cluttered with superior products at no risk, spending too much to feebly compete is absurd.

If there’s one thing Microsoft knows how to do, it’s making money. They would be very wise to stop production of newer versions after IE8, keep a development team to make security and efficiency upgrades to the web browser, and focus more of their manpower on beating Google, Mozilla, and Apple, in the innovation game.

Image courtesy of Maximum PC.

Entry Filed under: Device Drivers

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