The End For Internet Explorer, Or New Beginning?

REDMOND, Wash. - Microsoft has issued claims that the latest version of its Internet Explorer Web browser beats the competition.

In tests, the company said IE8 performed faster than Mozilla's Firefox and Google's Chrome. Apple's Safari was not entered into the race.

In a column on ZDNet, tech writer Adrian Kingsley-Hughes questioned Microsoft's published claims of IE8's superior speed.

"Out of the 25 sites listed, IE8 is fastest on twelve of them, while Chrome wins on nine and Firefox 3.0.5 is only first across the finish line for only four sites," Kingsley-Hughes wrote. "So how does this fit in with all the testing which seems to suggest that both Firefox and Chrome as faster (much faster) than IE8?

AVN Online reported last weekthat Internet Explorer is losing market share ground to Mozilla's Firefox, while Apple's Safari and Google's still relatively new Chrome are making gains as well.  In fact, Firefox usage has surpassed IE6 and is closing in on IE7.

Some tech pundits are wondering if, after years of dominating the browser world, Internet Explorer is facing a downturn of its own.

Writing for InfoWorld, Randall C. Kennedy suggested IE8 is the last version and the long-running browser. He cited speculation that Microsoft may go with WebKit next, but added that Microsoft is also working on a new, ultra-secure browser called "Gazelle".

However it truly shakes down, it all hinges on programming and software such as ActiveX support controls, which many computer experts have called problematic for casual computer users. ActiveX is may wind up replaced by Adobe-flash or AJAX-based software.

Kennedy's column also addressed Internet Explorer's Web legacy related to html/css support for the various incarnations of the browser right on up to IE8.