Microsoft released the new Internet Explorer (IE) 9 browser this past week, and government enterprises across the world now have another important product decision to make.
According to USA Today, “IE still holds a 54.3% market share, followed by Firefox (17.8%), Chrome (9%) and Safari (5%), according to Net Applications. It remains to be seen whether IE9 — which only works on Windows 7 and Windows Vista PCs; Windows XP users must stick with IE8 — can stem IE’s steady market share decline…. IE9’s distinguishing capabilities is the inclusion of a ‘Do Not Track’ privacy mechanism that’s similar to a privacy feature introduced by Chrome.”
Many governments are still in the process of upgrading off of older operating systems and non-supported IE (and other vendor) browsers. Windows XP support ended last year, and support for IE6 also ended in 2010. Still, many state and local governments are using these products.
Meanwhile, the latest Firefox, Google Chrome and Apple Safari browsers also offer new functionality and will continue to push the innovation envelope and ensure that new features are available to users going forward. This ongoing competition will not be ending anytime soon.
There are several browser comparison charts like this one from Top Ten Reviews and this chart from Microsoft which are available to compare various features. As you review your options, remember to take into account vendor bias on website content.
In Michigan government, we have teams that test various browsers with different applications to ensure that our users can reliably upgrade. This process is time-consuming and rather difficult for some – but needed to ensure that mission-critical applications still work after browser upgrades.
What I am doing at home? I will be downloading IE9 on my family computers and trying out the new browser for myself. This is becoming a regular pattern in our home.
Any thoughts on the new IE9 release? What is your government doing?