My Response to the IE8 Comparison Chart

Earlier today, Allen posted a story about Microsoft releasing a chart comparing IE8, Firefox 3 and Chrome (who knows which version). Following is my response to that chart. I would say that I’m disappointed not to see Safari included in this comparison, but since much of the comparison is spin and misinformation, there wouldn’t be much point.

  1. Security – it may very well be that IE8 has some security tools built in, but that doesn’t mean that those tools work the way you would expect. Some people would call this “bloat.” Besides, it cuts down on the amount of choice the users have. What if I want to install AVG with its toolbar? I’ve used Firefox with the AVG toolbar, and find it much better and easier to use than the “filters” built into IE8.
  2. Privacy – Really? The don’t even give a nod to Chrome? Chrome was the first major browser to offer private (or “incognito”) browsing.
  3. Ease of use – Who judges this? As far as I’m concerned, Chrome is much easier to use than IE8. The “most visited” feature in Chrome (similar to Opera’s speed dial, but it automatically populates the list with your most often visited sites) gives Chrome a huge advantage in my opinion. The autocomplete function in Chrome’s address bar and the automatic Google search give it a few steps up, too.
  4. Web standards – I like the spin they apply to this category. I also find it curious the way they define “standards.” Granted, IE8 does account for many of the CSS 2.x standards available now, but it also still includes a great deal of IE-only “features” that make it difficult to utilize the standards. It’s also interesting that they didn’t include Safari in any of these comparisons, as, from what I’ve heard, the latest Safari would beat all of the browsers hands-down. Still, IE8 is much, much, much better than IE7 or IE6, so I will give props to Microsoft for that.
  5. Developer tools – Really? Microsoft is trying to say that IE includes better developer tools? Firefox’s built-in javascript console still beats the heck out of the IE javascript console. Add on top of that the add-ons that are available for Firefox, and IE falls flat. The IETester “MyDebug” toolbar does offer a few great tools, but that has nothing to do with Microsoft; that’s a completely independent product.
  6. Reliability – I haven’t had IE8 crash on me, yet (though I very rarely use it, so that’s not saying much), so I can’t comment on it’s crash recovery. Still, Chrome has only crashed a handful of times for me, so I certainly wouldn’t knock its reliability.
  7. Customizability – are they serious? They’re spinning “we’ve bloated the heck out of our browser by giving our users no choice as to what features they want” into “we win!” There’s no browser out there that beats Firefox in terms of customizability. There most likely never will be (which is unfortunate, because I would really like to be able to download an extremely barebones browser, then customize it with my desired features).
  8. Compatibility – If we’re talking about the browser’s compatibility with specific Web sites, I do have to give this one to IE8, but that’s sheerly because there are still so many sites out there that were developed specifically for IE6, using proprietary Microsoft technology. Of course IE8 is going to work with those sites; and of course the other browsers won’t. Even if we only take into consideration the Exchange Webmail applications out there, that still makes IE8 more compatible than Firefox or Chrome, unfortunately. Sloppy, lazy programming is the only reason IE8 is more compatible. However, if we’re talking about the browser’s compatibility with operating systems (which I’m sure never even crossed their minds), Firefox wins with Chrome coming in second (having just released a pretty nice – though it doesn’t support Flash, yet – beta version for Linux and Mac). In fact, I’d guess that the number of users with an operating system other than Windows is probably equal to or larger than the number of users visiting Web sites that are only compatible with IE.
  9. Manageability – I’m not sure what this even means, so I can’t really comment on it. Still, I’d almost be willing to bet that there are Firefox add-ons available that do these things, if they’re even necessary with Firefox.
  10. Performance – A tie? Really? There’s no way Firefox is as fast as IE8, and there’s no way IE8 is as fast as Chrome. I’d be very curious to see the actual test data used for this comparison.

2 Responses

  • moo083

    #2 is inaccurate. I don’t know what world you live in that Safari isn’t a major browser, but it had private browsing long before Chrome ever existed.

    • You are correct. I did not realize that Safari had private browsing before Chrome. That was pointed out to me over at CenterNetworks. However, I am not the one who excluded Safari from this conversation; the creators of the chart did that.