Almost every review of Internet Explorer 8 says Microsoft’s browser simply isn’t as fast as its speedy counterparts, Apple Safari and Google Chrome. Microsoft needs to do a better job and improve the speed of Internet Explorer 9. It needs to realize that the faster the browser, the more value it offers users. If IE 9 is slow, that’s a problem.
Microsoft has made significant strides in improving the security of Internet Explorer over the past few years. But work is still needed. Microsoft needs to ensure that Internet Explorer’s code is robust and safe and, most importantly, that it has even more features that alert users when they start engaging in unsafe Web practices.
4Take a Look at Chrome
I realize that Internet Explorer needs to retain its brand identity with its long-established user base, but Google is on to something with Chrome. It’s lightweight, it’s robust and it’s fast. Microsoft should consider the impact Google’s browser has had on the market and adapt that vision into its own product. It shouldn’t copy Chrome, but it should take inspiration from it.
5More Web Standards, Please
One of the main complaints most developers have with Internet Explorer is that it doesn’t support enough Web standards. In Internet Explorer 9, Microsoft needs to do a better job of being “Web friendly.” Luckily, that might be happening. Microsoft finally joined the HTML 5 standards effort earlier in 2009 and a company representative said in a recent interview that Microsoft plans to make IE 9 work with all the latest standards. It better.
Internet Explorer may provide a viable way to surf the Web, but it needs to be more social. Flock, a Web browser that focuses much of its efforts on the user’s social-networking life, is doing a great job of incorporating social networks into Web surfing. Microsoft can do that without much effort and create a far more viable browser. It’s also something that few other browsers are doing.
7More Emphasis on Add-ons
Although Microsoft does allow users to install add-ons in Internet Explorer, the emphasis on that is minimal, to say the least. Microsoft needs to realize that add-ons are a key reason why Firefox has been so successful. It should cut Mozilla off at the pass, make add-ons a central focus in its development and allow users to get just a little more out of their browser.
9Windows Only? No Thanks.
I understand why Microsoft has kept Internet Explorer Windows-only since its inception, but that desire to attract and maintain users on Windows through the browser doesn’t quite make sense anymore, for consumers or enterprise customers. Microsoft has an opportunity to significantly expand its market share by bringing Internet Explorer to other operating systems. Apple went multiplatform with Safari, so why can’t Microsoft follow suit with Windows?
10Open Source, Maybe?
This might be a stretch, but what’s wrong with Microsoft offering up Internet Explorer 9 as open source? It will undoubtedly improve the browser’s security, help Microsoft address issues sooner than it has in the past and make it far more Web-friendly than Internet Explorer has been in years. It’s something to consider.
11Focus on Value, Not the Competition
With each new release of Internet Explorer, I think we’ve seen a pattern: Microsoft has looked at what the competition has done and added some of those new features to Internet Explorer. That’s a shame. It doesn’t serve Microsoft and it doesn’t serve the users. Microsoft needs to stop worrying about competitors and start innovating with new ideas that its competition hasn’t thought about. That’s where the real value of Internet Explorer will come from.