Microsoft Watch editor Joe Wilcox weighs in
Microsoft is also trying to let developers know that while some Web sites will look different in IE 8 than they do in IE 7, it is not trying to break the Web with the new browser, Swenson said. "Microsoft is going to hold developer's hands, helping them update their sites to be more compatible with IE 8. The IE 7 compatibility button is a great start, but Microsoft is probably going to do a lot more in this regard," he said.He also believes that the software giant's objectives for the new browser are absolutely clear: pull computing and informational relevance back to the desktop. "It's classic Microsoft bundling at work, as the company seeks to make the new browser more of a development platform than it is today. I call it the Netscape strategy," he said. But analyst Swenson disagrees with that, saying part of the reason Netscape failed was because they started adding too much to the browser, including an email client and a Web authoring tool. "Many Web developers and designers hated coding for Netscape. Thus, Netscape failed to deliver the product that end users wanted ... Microsoft has to be very careful when adding features to IE, taking care not to make the same mistakes that Netscape made," he said. Some of Microsoft's partners, like Facebook and Me.dium, have already started developing applications for IE 8. Facebook is an early adopter of WebSlices for IE 8. WebSlices behave just like feeds, where clients can subscribe to get updates and notify the user of changes. "Making it simpler for users to share information and keep up with their friends is core to Facebook. With WebSlices, Facebook users can easily follow their friends' status updates through the browser," company spokesman Matt Hicks told eWeek. Me.dium, a real-time, social browsing sidebar application that enables users to surf the Web with friends, see popular sites online, and discover new people and places based on the activity of others, will help surfers discover and view new WebSlices directly from the sidebar. "In addition to implementing Webslices on the Me.dium profile pages, Me.dium now helps surfers discover and view WebSlices directly from the sidebar," co-founder David Mandell said. And, as Internet Explorer 8 Beta 1's new "Activities" feature allows users to quickly access a contextual service from any webpage, Me.dium's "Discover" Activity gives recommendations related to a page or selected key words, which are influenced by the real time surfing activity of all Me.dium users, he said.
But not everyone is bullish about IE 8. Microsoft Watch editor Joe Wilcox questions whether Microsoft's strategy for the Web browser is about adhering to Web standards or controlling them.