Explorer Faces Threats on Multiple Fronts

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2009-10-05 Print this article Print

Sony currently bundles Chrome, along with Internet Explorer, into all the VAIO computers it sells. If it proves successful and users are happy with the browser, it could come bundled in Dell, HP, and Acer machines sooner than Microsoft might like. And that could cause a real problem for the software giant.

5. Design is important

One of the biggest issues some users have with Internet Explorer is that it doesn't quite feature the design users covet. That said, both Firefox and Chrome do have a more intuitive design that appeals to those who want a simple, efficient browsing experience. It has come back to haunt Microsoft in the past. And it looks like that issue will continue going forward.

6. Security matters

Microsoft has always struggled with providing users the most secure experience on the Web. For years, Internet Explorer was a hotbed of security issues. It has gotten better in recent years, but the trouble still remains. And as both Firefox and Chrome do a better job of securing computers, it is possible that Microsoft will suffer.

7. Google is Google

It might sound awkward to discuss the differences between two major tech firms, but there's little debating that Google has its pulse on what users want. It arguably understands that better than Microsoft. For the most part, Google products are simple, efficient, useful, and reliable. Internet Explorer doesn't always fit that bill. Chrome usually does. It's a problem for Microsoft.

8. Internet Explorer leaves much to be desired

Although Microsoft has done a good job of improving Internet Explorer over the past few years, it's still lacking many of the features that users covet in other browsers. Worst of all, some of the features it does have (tabbed browsing, for one) don't quite live up to the benchmark its competitors have created.

9. The Halo Effect is strong

Microsoft has made billions of dollars relying upon the halo effect -- people using a company product and buying its other products because they were happy with the first device. But in recent years, Microsoft has lost some of its appeal to users. And all the while, it has been Google that has increased its own appeal. Right now, more users than ever are using Google Search. Those same people are moving to Gmail and Google Docs. It's only a matter of time before they see value in Chrome and try that out. Microsoft should be concerned.

10. Google and Mozilla "get" the average user

Say what you will about Google and Mozilla, but they both have shown with their browsers that they "get" the average user. They understand what it takes to make users happy. And they constantly find ways to improve their browsers to ensure it stays that way. The same isn't necessarily true with Internet Explorer. Going forward, that could cause some serious trouble for Microsoft's browser.


Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.

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