Release Candidate of Internet Explorer Shown Lagging Open Source Browsers

by Ostatic Staff - Jan. 27, 2009

ZDNet Australia has been putting the new Release Candidate for Microsoft's Internet Explorer version 8 through benchmark tests and a look at the results shows that Microsoft is seriously lagging Firefox 3.1 (beta 1) and Google Chrome. That's especially true for JavaScript tests, where IE8 is about three times slower than Firefox and Chrome. (Surprisingly Opera lags behind them too.) Along with initiatives to put browsers other than Microsoft's on computers as default choices, this could spell trouble for Microsoft's browser dominance.

We've written before about the fact that extensions are coming for Google Chrome as well as Google's plans to put Chrome on computers as the default browser. In ZDNet Australia's benchmark tests, Chrome is currently the fastest browser, and there are also going to be versions for the Mac and Linux coming out in the first half of this year. All of this bodes well for Chrome.

Still, my browser of choice remains Firefox. It's nearly as fast as Chrome in every test, including JavaScript tests, but more importantly, I can't live without the many useful extensions that are already available for it. None of this is to say that I won't use Internet Explorer at all, though. I'll get the new version and make some use of it when I occasionally run into problems with rendering or forms at some web sites. I do that now--about one percent of the time I spend browsing.

As noted in Microsoft's latest financial statements, the European Commission is applying heavy pressure to force the company to offer browser choice on new computers running Windows:

"While computer users and OEMs are already free to run any Web browsing software on Windows, the Commission is considering ordering Microsoft and OEMs to obligate users to choose a particular browser when setting up a new PC. Such a remedy might include a requirement that OEMs distribute multiple browsers on new Windows-based PCs. We may also be required to disable certain unspecified Internet Explorer software code if a user chooses a competing browser."

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has already made reference to possible plans to incorporate an open source rendering engine in its browser (singling out WebKit) and at this point I can't see how the company can continue to ignore the urgency of that. Internet Explorer's one and only advantage at this point is that it is the browser that greets most computer users when they unbox their new systems. From performance to extensibility, open source browsers Firefox and Chrome are pulling way ahead.