The browser wars have been going on for over 15 years now, and it’s interesting to take a look back at how it all began. In 1994, I started browsing the web with Netscape. It was all the rage at the time, and Marc Andreessen became a household name.
Internet Explorer came on the scene soon after, and slowly started gaining ground. By 1999, it had taken over and become the default browser of choice. I was stubbornly sticking with Netscape, but it was becoming more and more tempermental. After getting frustrated with Netscape 4, I made the switch to IE and never looked back. RIP Netscape.
Internet Explorer was a dominant force, but there was a growing group of people fed up with the buggyness of IE. Browser crashes were frequent, but it was just accepted as part of the experience. When Firefox came out, a number of early adopters flocked to it. And as word spread about how stable and fast it was, more and more people made the switch. And eventually, so did I.
I never fully got away from IE, but I found myself using Firefox more and more. I tried Chrome and Safari (both good in their own right, just not for me), but Firefox with Adblock Plus was my preferred way to surf the web.
My new Windows 7 box came with Internet Explorer 8, and I used it for about 3 weeks before I got around to installing Firefox v3.5. Having only used IE7 before, it was a bit of an adjustment getting things to work right on IE8. A large number of sites I worked on required Compatibility Mode enabled, which was frustrating. And then I had an issue where newly opened tabs wouldn’t always load on their own. It’s a known problem that doesn’t seem to have any solution.
A buddy of mine said I should give IE9 a shot, as he had upgraded and was really happy. I did some research on IE9, and came across a very favorable review from CNET. They seemed really happy with it, and other people I talked to told similar stories. So I went ahead and pulled the trigger!
This is what I’m talking about!
Finally, the folks at Microsoft have gotten it right! And this couldn’t have come at a better time, as Firefox 4 has received lukewarm reviews. It’s a great time for Microsoft to try and recapture some of those unhappy users.. IE9 is fast, clean, and has a number of innovative features. But it’s only available to Windows 7 or Vista users, no love for you XP guys.
Read the CNET review if you want the nitty gritty. All I know is that I no longer have a need for Firefox, Chrome, or Safari. ‘Nuff said.