back to article Microsoft releases IE9 for chip happy Windows world

Microsoft made IE9 available for download on Monday evening at corporate hippie fest South By South West in Austin, Texas, where it boasted that IE9 relies on Windows more than any other browser out there. Rivals like Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and Safari – which spread their bets by working on different operating systems – are …

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"websites will tap into the power of a PC's underling hardware - just like regular apps."

Surely in that case, you are using a regular app, it's just that you download and run it in a browser (that only works on Windows) as opposed to downloading and running it on Windows directly. I fail to see the improvement.

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Gates Horns

No Improvement

>> I fail to see the improvement.

There isn't one. The browser will only run as fast as your connection anyway, the fact that it can draw your pr0n 0.00038 milliseconds faster than another browser because it's using DirectX is meaningless.

In fact this whole press release smells of desperation on the part of MS, who don't have any really compelling reasons for people to use IE over any other higher-quality browser; they even describe dumping nearly 50% of their user base as a selling point.

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Gates Horns

the improvement

is that this web app doesn't come from a moderated app store. You get it by clicking on a link or visiting a site carrying some javascript, etc. This is a huge improvement for the malware devs.

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Not even security?

Can't pretend I've looked into it...but if XP support has been dropped so they can build on a more security-aware Win7, that is still an improvement isn't it?

On a side issue, I think IEs downfall was the anti-competition rulings trying to make MS unbundle it, which then led MS to try and bundle it deeper into the OS so they could claim it was essential. I'm not sure why MS don't throw it away and start from scratch with a Chrome like application, as isolated from the OS as possible.

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Go

IE remains illegally commingled

It remains illegal for Microsoft to commingle IE and the OS code. That is the law. And Microsoft can not longer contest that. They already appealed the decision to the US Supreme Court and were told it stands.

Not supporting XP suggests they want to force the illegal act even further. No doubt the US DOJ is all in favor. They wanted Microsoft to gain another monopoly.

And that is true even though a sizable percentage of Microsoft customers prefer to use an alternative superior browser.

IE is not being used to force the sale of the latest Windows versons.

The stupid idiots at Microsoft refuse to realize that browsers and operating systems are very different animals. Their product development cycle is different. Their competitors are different. And their uses are different. Yet Microsoft is bound and determined to use illegal means to force the issue. Even though it obviously does work very well.

Only an idiot ties an application to a specific version of an OS. Microsoft hires idiots.

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I _think_

I think it's illegal for MS to have IE so embedded into Windows that Windows cannot run without IE - BUT it's perfectly fine for IE to be so reliant on Windows 7 that it'll not run on other OSs (even older versions of Windows).

... of course, I'm not saying it's a sensible move but ... *shrugs*

I suspect the reason people are "underwhelmed" by IE9 is that, well, it's a browser, it's just a browser, it's not the messiah. After all the hype I suspect people were expecting something miraculous.

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'Underling hardware'

Doesn't that require you to also install a minion board, lackey support and a flunky driver?

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Badgers

NO!

Why would one risk soiling one's hands by picking up a (shudder) screwdriver. The lower orders will have touched it and they do not wear gloves.

Anyway, one has people to do such things as mechanical tasks.

Badger? no, it's the Mehmsahib

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Sandbox?

Remember Direct X security issues?

Are they using undocumented (to anyone else) API calls? There is no reason why other Browsers, even Cross platform can't run Javascript and render HTML as fast as IE9 unless MS are cheating and using an Interface not publicly available.

Also, isn't for most people the Limitation the actual Internet connection speed or Server in the Cloud.

Compare MS Word 2003, Google Docs wordprocessing, WhizzyWig javascript based WYSIWG editor on Drupal and Current OpenOffice/Libre Office.

On 8Mbps with 25ms latency, the Google Docs is like treacle no matter how good your browser is. With The "WhizzyWig javascript based WYSIWG editor on Drupal" it's perfect on a decent broadband connection, can be rubbish on Mobile.

I use OpenOffice. But Frankly it's very slow and clunky compared to MS Office 2002/XP/2003 version.

You should see how well Word 2.0a runs on any modern PC. Or the fact that Win 3.1 boot time in DosBox is 2 seconds.

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Happy

Undocumented

They're not suggesting that they're using undocumented APIs. They're saying that they will specifically utilise every API (let's assume documented) that will give the best result. They're also implying that Chrome/FF will just recompile for the target and let the compiler optimise it as best it can, they won't specifically modify the code to take advantage of all the APIs.

I can see their argument from a logical point of view, but having said all that it's clearly just marketing/PR/spin. Can't blame them for trying - it's one step away from "any colour so long as its black".

The sad thing is, no matter how targeted the code is, I've no doubt that Chrome and FF will continue to trounce IE in any benchmark it cares to try.

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Boffin

How else would he expect it to work?

"Some browsers offer a numbing sequences of nightly drops - and they may or may not work and they may or may not be reflect in what the final product will do,"

Yes, it's called open source development. Is he really claiming that Microsoft didn't make nightly builds available to the IE9 developers?

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FAIL

Not for me!!

Just downloaded IE9 and am underwhelmed - The Register loads in 3.46 secs with IE9 1.25 secs with Firefox 4 RC1

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Try Opera

I'm guessing it should be sub 0.5 seconds, it's usually about 50% quicker than FF4...

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FAIL

Nice catch line

"boasted that IE9 relies on Windows more than any other browser out there"

Isn't that like saying trains are better because they rely on rails more than any other transport? Great, but what happens when I want to go somewhere that the rails aren't? I find my car or bike much more flexible, ditto the browser in my phone or iPod.

Oh and as for the Vista and Win7 only; didn't they say that originally for IE8 as well? (He says in a shop with >100k seats of XP)

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FAIL

Desktop

Or like the Windows Desktop becomes a browser with one simple click?

Well, there's a novelty, not heard that before.

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Anonymous Coward

IE 6 is still massive.

Ie 6 is still widely used by corporates to stop users viewing Facebook its an easy way for them to do it .

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WTF?

IE6 to stop Faebook ?

Don't corporate users go through a corporate firewall that is something more than just a poor app running on a box ?

Meaning : don't corporate users have something more akin to a firewall rule for that ?

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Flame

And another thing

"web apps built on web standards like HTML5."

HTML5 is *NOT* a standard, so please stop calling it one (and most of what people call HTML5 isn't HTML5 anyway, marketing destroying truth and clarity once more).

There will be pain ahead when the standard is actually set and MS refuse to update IEx to meet that standard. We'll be back to people having to create sites for the actual standards compliant browsers and then again for IE. Straight back to the bad old days of IE6. Urf.

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HTML 5 will be a standard eventually

HTML5 is a standard in being, a collection of specs produced by WHATWG. It's not proposed to be a ratified standard by the w3c until 2014, presumably when there are several correct independent implementations of the standard.

So it's well specified, it's there and browsers are working towards compliance. The problem at present is that Microsoft are spouting PR bollocks, pretending to be standards compliant when they're coming up short in a number of well publicized ways. It's not acceptable and I hope they get called out enough that no one is fooled.

This BS about hardware acceleration is especially absurd.

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"IE can make the most of the Windows experience"

Almost certainly an unpleasant experience

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Why no WinXP support

I can see a few reasons for MS abandoning WinXP support

* Technical : directX integration with the windows rendering system is a vista onwards feature

* Technical: older hardware doesn't have the graphics hardware to justify the feature

* tactical: WinXP goes unsupported soon, which is another word for "less secure than ever before". It's not worth the expense

* Strategic: MS want you to upgrade, that's how they make money.

Of course, the end of WinXP is also an opportunity to move to Linux on the existing hardware. It's a shame that Ubuntu 10.10 and RHEL are getting as overweight as Win7 -they're trying to keep their UIs as cool, and that means the memory footprint of the base image is up in the 800MB range. Not for old machines either.

Returning to IE9, inconsistency with the other browsers will always be a problem -unless they fix this, IE will remain something for people who don't know any better, and for interaction with corporate sites stuck in IE6 hell.

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Yeah seems obvious

Much though it'd be nice to see XP supported, Microsoft so intimately entwines its browsers with the OS that it is not hard to see why support would be dropped. It would be a QA and support headache for an OS which is officially past it's end of life.

Of course that just leaves the other browsers with a clearer field.

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Stop

XP Users - Look here

www.opera.com

Nuff said. A brower that is better than IE9 and getting hardware acceleration across ALL platforms...

Hardware accel is currently in Alpha (on the Opera Labs), but it's mighty fast 2-3x faster than Chromes hardware accel, and OpenGL based, cross platform. a Windows DirectX backend is due soon too, for all Windows, including XP.

http://labs.opera.com/news/2011/02/28/

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Boffin

Re: DirectX

I think that DirectX is the real issue. Win7 and Vista both have DirextX 11. WinXP only has DirectX 9. So anyone writing a DirectX app has three bad options:

1) Use DirectX 9; include the DirectX 9 runtime with your program; be unable to use the latest features.

2) Use DirectX 11; don't support WinXP.

3) Support both DirectX 9 and DirectX 11. This is more than double the work, because you have to abstract away the differences between the DirectX versions.

It's quite reasonable for Microsoft to choose option (2). As you say, there are other reasons why they might be happy to drop XP support.

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Linux

re: It's a shame

The thing about Linux is that the graphical shell isn't intimately tied to the underlying OS, so although the latest coolest release may offer funky graphics that are more than your old machine can cope with, you can just select a simpler window manager and continue to benefit from the other advantages of a recent release.

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JMB

Microsoft releases IE9 for chip happy Windows world

Why is it not on Windows Update if an official release? I don't like downloading from unknown sites, there is nothing on that website to show it is an official Microsoft site.

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So full of crap

Robert O'Callahan (Firefox's layout dev) has done a good job demolishing the bullshit that IE9 is somehow "hardware accelerated" and Firefox (for example) is not. IE is ahead in some tests and behind in others, and many of the tests it is ahead in are due to bugs in FF, not some intrinsic hardware acceleration. e.g. one test renders a lot of duplicate images and FF suffers because it applies security checks before rendering each image, a bug in its security, nothing to do with hw acceleration. In another one IE actually cheats on 0 timers running them as 3.6ms second instead of 4ms as per spec. Regardless, all non hw issues.

It doesn't make any sense to make that claim anyway - anyone can look at the FF code and see that each platform enjoys a healthy dose of platform specific acceleration where the APIs exist and are adequately supported by the PC's hardware.

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A monoculture is the real handicap

"Rivals like Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and Safari – which spread their bets by working on different operating systems – are handicapped. According to Microsoft."

So let me get this straight. MS's browser is restricted to some versions of MS's own OS due to dependency linking etc (and no doubt the OS is dependent on some browser classes) and it's the *others* that are handicapped?

What?

The fact that the other browser can run on multiple platforms is a massive boon to consumers and companies. If their services are web-based (and done to the standards) they can switch to the best platform for their needs, not be hamstrung by MS. So if spec'ing a new web-based solution, demand that it be cross-browser; that way you increase cost-saving opportunities.

It's also massive props to the engineers of Opera, Firefox, Chrome, Safari et al to get their browser working on MS, given MS's active hostility to standards and open source in general.

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FAIL

Am I supposed to be impressed?

I can't understand why they've chosen this route. People don't want a browser more closely tied to the operating system. The whole point is that, for a lot of things the o/s is irrelevant.

I do a lot of work for larger corporations. Most are still on Win XP, and a significant amount still use IE6. The problem is that XP is good enough for most jobs, so IE9 won’t get rolled out for a long time.

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Re:"People don't want a browser more closely tied to the operating system"

Most people cannot even understand what you wrote there.

Not bashing, but it's fact that, for a vast majority of users, a computer is a black box and they haven't the faintest idea of how stuff works.

Telling them that the browser they use is more tightly integrated to the system than an other one is an argument that will just bring you wide-eyed incomprehension. As long as it works, it's good enough for them.

And that is why Microsoft can tout that kind of argument - it doesn't matter anyway and, to some, it might even be considered a guarantee of sorts.

It's only the geeks that rail against that - and Microsoft can afford to ignore the geeks.

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Anonymous Coward

"Interop is for wussies" -- micros~1

"Oh what a wonderful world we live in. Look at what our shiny program can do! It's the best there is, honest! But only if you run it at our latest OS with the very latest hardware and look at it sideways and walk funny for at least 15 minutes before using it. Or it won't work."

This is a strong reason to advice webshops to /not/ develop for ie9. At all. The "user experience" will be so tied to the very latest hardware that you're about certain it won't look right anywhere else. Of course, you should be doing that, but instead focusing on delivering content, here as materials the hapless surfer came to see, maybe read or perchance watch or listen to. That's why we have open standards and stuff, so that no matter what browser you use, or whichever OS, you should be able to get to the information no sweat.

Anywhere else? Alright, exact duplicates of your setup on an internet connection as fast as your LAN. Clearly redmond not only believes all the world is a window desktop, they act like it, too. That's not how "eating your own dogfood" is supposed to work, guys.

So they're "doing an IE" all over again. They promised they'd be good with ie8, now we know how long they can live up to their own promises. We already had to keep them to it then, recall, so this is no surprise. Though they spin it as performance and stuff this time, I'm not buying it. There are browsers Out There that manage to be blazingly fast without all that hardware accelleration stuff. That would definitely be a better base to build upon, than taking a slow browser and relying on the hardware to fix its problems.

I'm amazed they aren't met by jeering and scorn on every conference. But then this one is so vaguely and wired-ly named that it could just as well be the fanbois and astroturfers annual overly cozy get-together. "Leave yer critiques at the door and be NICE now, y'hear."

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Anonymous Coward

So far, it would seem

Microsoft won't even let you download it if you're running XP. I also have Vista and Windows 7 installed but boot XP by preference. If I can't even download 9 in XP I won't bother at all (not that in any case there is any danger of my ever using IE again other than for testing. Once someone has shown me they can't be trusted, that is it for them as far as I'm concerned, for ever).

Try as they might (or, indeed, might not) Microsoft just can't play it straight.

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Stop

bad engineering

It is just a stupid idea to tie any application to a specific OS. No exceptions.

Microsoft tried so hard to convince the public and the courts that all consumers had to buy IE because it was commingled with the OS. But, it is a stupid idea. Very poor engineering.

The result is IE6 in the past. And IE9 today.

How long do you think it will be before the next version of IE will no longer be available for Vista? Got to upgrade again right? And 7? When will 7 be old hat?

Only idiots tie an application to a specific OS version. Microsoft hires idiots as engineers. Or, monopoly managers forced them to act like idiots. Same thing.

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Gates Halo

my sarcasm detector might be broken

are you at all serious?

if the APIs aren't there, are you going to backport them? Or if you're a 3rd party, reimplement them at the risk of patent violations? All at great cost with little benefit.

Windows 7 is NT version 6.1! Why can't IE9 be used on NT3.5? It's only three versions apart!!

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Safari anyone?

Will the current version of Safari run on the version of OSX released in 2001? I think not!!!

Just get real, it was inevitable that MS would stop realeasing new stuff that would run on XP at some point. I actually think its quite creditable that they've supported it this long.

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FAIL

Oh Lordy, time to fire up ...

... yet another virtual machine for ie8. That'll be three VM's for web testing - ie6 (for those dumbass corporates stuck in last century), ie7 and now ie8.

ie9 does absolutely nothing that impresses me, quite simply because, we've seen it all before.

It's microsoft playing 'catch up' ...

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Dude, what?

Three VMS? Just install IETester! I run 6, 7, 8 and 9 in tabs next to each other.

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@Greg

While I agree that IETester is great software, it is still only Alphaware, and for some, I think that, (for instance) the fact that, in order to get Flash (of all things!) running in IE6 (of all things!) you have to be running as an Administrator (of all things!). I make no doubt these bugs will be ironed out in the longer term - alphaware is so named for a reason - and IETester is already far better than, say, "Multiple-IEs" which used to make forms unusable in every version of IE running (which is a bit of a pisser, if your first page is a login screen). Ultimately, the only way to be certain that you are testing a genuine, bona fide, version of IE with a fully-functional website, at present, is to run parallel VMs.

As for what Microsoft has done, here; I suspect they have invested their devs with a bleak and unfulfilling future, servicing a monster, whose current speed and optimisation will have soon vanished into a soup of race-conditions brought on by hardware innovations whose kind is as yet unforseen (coupled to hard-coded design decisions that doubtless seemed so sensible, at the time). Tight integration creates the situation where backwards compatibility is the only affordable option: loose integration leads to a situation where backwards compatibility is the cheapest option. The one situation looks like "maintaining Windows", the other looks like "maintaining COBOL". Neither support option is great, but the only reason you'll have lost your hair and started to jibber, doing the latter, is because you grew old, doing it.

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Flame

Wide of the mark

Talk about wide of the mark; Microsoft are concentrating on a minor feature only of interest to 'games' and advertisers, neither are of interest in the real world.

What's needed is a browser where the laggard corporate community upgrade en-masse. No support for XP and reliance on 'exotic' graphics hardware (not available in low-end corporate machines) consigns IE9 to home users only. So the train wreck that is Microsoft's web development strategy continues.

What a crock.

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Utter codswallop!

"No support for XP and reliance on 'exotic' graphics hardware..."

My PC is five years old, it certainly hasn't got exotic graphics hardware (I don't do PC gaming), so I think corporate PCs will have no trouble with IE9

Have you actually tried it?

Thought not!

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Fast? Sure! You can count the bytes as they fly by...

"Because IE focuses exclusively on one, IE can make the most of the Windows experience and PC hardware"

And they are *still* the slowest browser out there. Isn't that amazing!

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M.A
Alert

IE 9 v the rest

First i will say i hear it is a fast browser. iI installed chrome a few months ago and i like that even more than firefox whixh i ran before on my XP box now will be a good time to switch the window 7 box to chrome. as too the gnu/ linux machines i guess they will stay with firefox sorry microsoft i dont like giving websites access to my hardware.

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kewl!!!

"IE corporate vice president Dean Hachamovitch told South-by (as it's now called) that on IE9, websites will tap into the power of a PC's underling hardware - just like regular apps."

i bet, it would be even easier for a malicious website to fsck my winduhs compooter then.

where do i sign up?

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Gates Halo

I'm happy.

Yes, Firefox/Chrome/Opera are better than IE. Yes, IE is hardly ever any good. However, it's nice to think that we'll be able to get a browser with at least a semi-current standards compliance rating or higher into nearly every PC.

I can recommend Firefox 4 for (nearly) every platform, but for those that refuse to use non-MS software, I can still do my infinitesimally small bit of helping move the general Windows-using population to one of the bright, @font-face'd Standards Of Tomorrow(TM)-capable browsers out there.

Maybe we might be seeing internal HTML5 webapps, instead of ActiveX, because "Microsoft supports it". (A man can hope...)

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Happy

beauty off the web

http://www.beautyofftheweb.com/ anyone ??

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WTF?

Browser

Name: Browser

Purpose: To display an image on my screen given an image description that was obtained via HTTP from a public, potentially eavesdropped, Internet connection.

Problems: Security - every browser has had exploits with information disclosure or, worse, some even have arbitrary code execution flaws.

Solution: Convert the already overly-complicated array of several protocols and image formats that do nothing more than describe an image, which you already render in the worst possible way in non-compliance of all published standards, into a format suitable for GPU processing via hardware accelerated interfaces involving yet-more protocols and conversions, reliant on driver compatibility and hardware being available, and on only a single operating system that has those interfaces (renowned as the most attacked system in the world, usually via browser weaknesses), in order to render the 1Mb page that took several seconds to decrypt/authenticate/respond/download onto the screen a teensy fraction of a second faster, consuming more resources, generating more heat and using up more of your computer's bus bandwidth than strictly necessary.

Well done, MS. You've got that one aced. Can't imagine why no-one else wants to follow your lead especially when, on the whole, their browsers already match or beat this new one on almost every count (security, stability, speed, standardisation).

Now if you'd said that the browser loaded quicker, I'd actually be more interested (something tells me the startup times might be ENORMOUS even if the render times are technically quicker compared to its predecessor). Or worked on XP (acceleration or not). Or had had no security problems in several years of beta. Then I'd be impressed.

Didn't MS spend years trying to prove that IE *was* an integrated part of Windows, only to have it proven that it wasn't, only to be told that they had to separate it, to now making it as vastly Windows-only as they could manage to the point that it doesn't even work on some versions of Windows any more?

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not told to separate it

Microsoft was never told it had to uncommingle IE from the OS.

Both the EU Commission and the US DOJ liked the idea of forcing all consumers to buy IE commingled or not. That has not changed one bit.

And, yes, Microsoft has managed to make an even sillier decision by making IE more dependent upon specific versions of the OS. Stupid engineering. Also stupid marketing. But, you have to force consumers to updgrade and you have to force consumers to buy IE again and again.

IE is still illegally commingled with the OS. So much so that IE9 won't run on XP. Stupid.

And IE is still illegally bundled with the OS when you purchase it. If you purchase it, it is not FREE. Only idiots claim that something you paid cash for is FREE. Or, Microsoft salesmen.

You can blame the US DOJ and the EU Commission if you want. They clearly have failed to do their job in protecting consumers against illegal business activities. And as it turns out they let Microsoft idiots have enough rope to hang themselves. And that is exactly what the idiots at Microsoft have done.

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Oh hush

"And IE is still illegally bundled with the OS when you purchase it. If you purchase it, it is not FREE. Only idiots claim that something you paid cash for is FREE. Or, Microsoft salesmen."

This blah-blah really pisses me off. Where are the hordes of moaners demanding that Apple remove Safari from Mac OS, or that Linux distros come without a browser of choice preinstalled? If MS want to put their browser inside their OS, fine.

The choice we *should* have is which OS to buy, not whether or not it contains a browser. The MS tax is one area where MS can indeed get bent.

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Agreed

And we should be able to buy MACs without all that OSX iTunes crapware!

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Happy

I was wondering when 'someone was going to say'...

...and I agree wholeheartedly. Microsoft was, arguably, one of the first* to include a browser with their operating system. And what did it get them? An anti-trust action. Now everyone includes a browser with their operating system.

I'm not saying IE was great, but at one time, the Trident rendering engine behind it was quite nice in terms of speed. Check the requirements for IE6 SP1 and you'll see they listed as a 486DX2-66 processor as the minimum CPU...which wasn't unreasonable for the less-scripting intensive sites we had back then.

All I'm saying is that Microsoft made something of an innovation and drove the rest of an industry to do the same thing. Maybe, in that way, they did more to revitalize the market for a competing web browser than you'd realize at first guess?

I don't buy the whole Windows and IE "make it so much better together" argument and I think it's pretty dumb of Dean Hachamovitch to say something like that.. IE9 is a non-starter for me as I'm not running Windows Vista or Windows 7 and I doubt that I will be. Neither one has a design that I find useful or appealing. It's quite possible (and probably not that hard) to write code with case-by-case optimizations that are called into service for each operating system where they are needed. Having had conversations with Microsoft employees in the IE, Office and Windows divisions, I'd not call them stupid. (Opinionated and convinced that theirs is the best or only way: absolutely.) Yet that statement is pretty dumb and reeks of pure marketing.

* maybe not *the* first, but I'm far too lazy or busy (your pick) to research it now and see...

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