IE8 to be the last IE-engine based Microsoft browser?

By Justin Mann on March 10, 2009, 5:34 PM
Could IE8 be the end of the line for the most popular (though declining) browser in the world? There have been rumors floating that indicate Microsoft may be making such a move, potentially switching development to a browser built off an entirely different engine. Whether based off the alpha “Gazelle” browser Microsoft has already introduced or the growing WebKit platform, there seem to be a lot of signs pointing towards IE8 being the last Internet Explorer to appear.

Some will certainly cheer such a change but others may dread it. There is a massive base of IE-only applications that exist around the world, from banking interfaces to media players to numerous pieces of software, all which bet on people most likely using (or willing to use) IE. For all of those, IE8 being the end means that inevitably they would need to move away from ActiveX and all other IE-backwards-compatible components. There's also the embedded application factor, where many programs use IE's engine to render content or perform other functions. It's a big change, and one that indicates Microsoft may be re-thinking their browser strategy altogether.

Of course, this is just speculation. There's a lot of good reasoning behind it, and Microsoft could potentially benefit greatly in doing so, but by the same token seek to lose a lot too. Part of their browser dominance originally focused around support for proprietary protocols and APIs, which gave them overwhelming advantages in many situations. If the software giant does ditch IE-based browsers, it'll represent a fundamental change in how many view the browser market. What's your take: should Microsoft dump IE in favor of something new?

User Comments: 11

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DarkCobra said:
Well I think a lot of people will welcome the change in platform to something fresh and exciting. Yes, there is risk but this is one of the largest companies on the planet and if you don't take risks you'll eventually be doomed to perish. Yes, the issue of compatibility will be a challenge but again you have to try.
stingray57 said:
Considering that Internet Explorer 8 is the only browser that has to have a 'web standard' or 'normal' rendering option because it's SO eff'd up and for so many years has been the source of many web developers nightmares.Microsoft has been cranking on Internet Explorer for so long. They are going to release a new version of their browser.. a NEW version... and it's still behind on technology- still a memory hog and although they have decided to open up on plugins - it's no where near the popularity of other free browsers.I think the death of Internet Explorer is well deserved- and over due. Open source efforts for web browsers have presented themselves in a much better light, they seem to care, more frequent updates, the code is flexible and no one has to wonder if Microsoft is watching over your shoulder every 2 seconds; yeah everyone seems to like that... Oh and they comply to W3C web browser standards.Balmer can scream all he wants, but Internet Explorer is on it's way out.. Nothings gonna stop that.Regards, Stingray57
skitzo_zac said:
Meh, Opera FTW.
nazartp said:
Long overdue. A funny observation, though - was talking to my co-worker yesterday who I helped to set up the wireless router. She was saying that she has some issues with IE. I told her to use Firefox - I got a blank stare, i.e., "what is it?" type. So I go on a rant about Mozilla being a better and safer browser and she just plain refuses to try it. My take on it: a lot of people will not even notice if IE as it is dies. As long as interface stays the same, they will keep using the thing. Even funnier, she got Safari installed (pushed to her with iTunes) and she absolutely hates it.Brings me to another point: open source browsers need to put more effort in educating the end customers. Familiarity with the product plays too much of a role with people.
sngx1275 said:
What version of Safari? 3 is pretty ugly, 4 beta is fast and actually looks like a Windows app.
x darthmonkey x said:
If it came bundled with iTunes, I'd assume it's 3.
nazartp said:
[b]Originally posted by sngx1275:[/b][quote]What version of Safari? 3 is pretty ugly, 4 beta is fast and actually looks like a Windows app.[/quote]Presume v.3. Beta doesn't come with iTunes.
DarkCobra said:
I've run into exactly what "nazartp" said! Whenever I troubleshoot a friends computer or build a web site for them, I strongly recommend they use FireFox. I get the same look of "Huh?". I then have to give them the same explanation that you are not stuck with using IE and that other browsers are out there, all free and in varying degrees quite a bit better! The public just isn't aware.I think MS has a tremendous advantage and some say it's unfair and it may be. However, they've got a unique chance now to come up with a totally new fresh platform. They've got a lot of bright people up there and if they just relax their stubborn corporate mindset and allow those people the freedom, they can produce something much better. If they don't, FireFox and others are on the verge of cleaning their clock as more and more people are leaving IE. It's slow but it's growing!
maestromasada said:
OK, let me put my little comment here. I'm a Microsoft guy, mcse and all that, and I love all the MS products like office, server 2003 and such, no need for programming at all, just connect it and eventually it will work.Anyway, what I want to say is the silly test that I did one day. At the same time I open IE7 and Firefox3 with the same page and left it like that for a few days. When I went back to the computer to check, the Mem usage and the VM Size of IE7 was huge, while Firefox3 didn't cache that much memory atallIE7 and relatives are gotta go
yukka said:
If they call it internet explorer 9 and it uses a different engine but looks anything like ie8 your average end user wont notice.For developers its a different situation and legacy applications will be a problem.IE8 will get security updates for a while and will need to be available side by side with the new browser at first unless they have the best compatability mode ever made in "ie9".
jolt said:
It will be tough to offer a product which has had such a lasting affect on the web. IE, still accounts for over 70% of browser usage: [url][/ur
]The backwards compatibility challenge will be formidable. I wish them luck! Competition is good for all of us.
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