A Matter of Security

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2009-07-07 Print this article Print

From a security standpoint, Internet Explorer has historically suffered from a variety of issues. Prior to the release of Internet Explorer 8, Microsoft's operating system was hobbled by a slew of security issues. Patch Tuesday, the day Microsoft releases updates to its software each month, have featured a slew of security fixes for Internet Explorer.

That said, an eWEEK Labs review found Internet Explorer 8 provided a far better browsing experience than its predecessors. It's more secure, it's faster and it's more reliable. But as the eWEEK Labs review points out, it's simply not as compelling as some alternatives. And current Chrome, Firefox and Opera users won't have any reason to switch to the new browser.

Realizing that, why is Internet Explorer still in such high demand in the business world? If it's not the best browser on the market, it's certainly not the most secure, and it can't quite zip around the Web at speeds you'll find in Chrome or Safari, is the enterprise clinging to Internet Explorer out of convenience? If so, what will it take to get Internet Explorer out of the enterprise? If it has survived security issues, if it has survived a feature-set that's isn't even close to its competition, and if it has survived speed issues, it's doubtful that Internet Explorer will ever be out of the enterprise.

But should it? Never has there been so much competition in the browser market. Not only is Microsoft still leading the way, but Google and Apple, the company's two biggest competitors outside of browsers, are providing browsers that are, arguably, more worthwhile than Internet Explorer. And although Internet Explorer 8 is a vast improvement over previous iterations of the software, it can't be updated nearly as often as browsers offered by Mozilla or Opera.

For example, Internet Explorer 8 is a fine alternative to Firefox 3.0. But it can't match Firefox 3.5. Firefox 3.5 is the first browser to support HTML 5, it has a "Forget this site" feature, which ensures visiting a particular site will never be recorded in the browser's history, and most importantly, Firefox now saves text you input into forms, so you can pick up where you left off if the browser crashes. All those features make Firefox 3.5 more compelling. And they all leave us wanting more from Internet Explorer.

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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