Can Internet Explorer 9 Put Microsoft in the Browser Lead?

by Ostatic Staff - Jun. 24, 2010

Microsoft is hard at work on its Internet Explorer 9 browser, following a period in which open source browsers such as Firefox and Chrome have steadily been eating IE's lunch. Judging from this blog post from Microsoft, there is some serious work going on under the hood of Internet Explorer 9 to make it competitive with other browsers and to reach out to new standards such as HTML 5. Can Internet Explorer seriously challenge the leading open source browsers at this point?

According to MSDN:

"Because some browsers run on many different operating systems, there can be a tendency to use a 'least common denominator' approach to implementing HTML5. By using more of the underlying operating system, and taking advantage of the power of the whole PC, IE9 enables developers to do more with HTML5. Running through Windows, instead of just on Windows, makes a big difference; the web runs more like a native application."

That sounds promising, but also check out this chart from the post showing how IE 9's performance stacks up on SunSpider Javascript benchmarks, where smaller bars are better:

 Could IE9 dramatically catch up to browsers like Chrome, Opera and Firefox in Javascript performance? That would undoubtedly be a coup for Microsoft's browser, because it has been dusted off in most speed tests over the past year, and Javascript has an increasingly big role in how web applications work.

The above chart shows results for preview browsers, and the performance seen in the final releases will probably be different. Microsoft's latest revision of Internet Explorer, though, makes clear that it is by no means throwing in the towel in browsers.