Microsoft sure stirred up some controversy with this browser comparison chart. Here is a picture, because I suspect they’ll take down that page fairly soon.
As several people mentioned on Twitter, the chart fails to include Opera or Safari. Plus, most of the items are highly subjective. This is obviously a marketing document, not a scientific comparison. We get it.
Lack of Trust
When IE first arrived, it had to compete with Netscape. Once they crushed the competition, Microsoft slept. For five years. They released IE 6 in 2001, and IE 7 in 2006.
Lack of competition hurt our industry and stifled innovation. Because of those five years, a lot of us simply do not trust Microsoft when it comes to browsers.
Thank goodness for the people behind Firefox, Opera, Safari, Chrome, and probably other browsers that I’m not thinking of. It is perfectly clear that Microsoft is now focused on improving Internet Explorer through better security, performance, and even standards compliance.
Good for them. IE 8 is their best effort yet.
Good for us. Web standards are good for us all.
But…I am skeptical.
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.
Those five years cannot be swept under the rug with one new product release. Microsoft needs to earn back our trust. It will be hard, but not impossible.
What I Want
I want all of these browsers to compete, and to focus on web standards. Supporting today’s standards are an important first step for Microsoft, and I applaud their efforts.
To make up for the years lost with IE 6, Microsoft needs to do a lot more to win back my trust. I want Microsoft to boldly lead the way toward HTML 5, including support for embedded video, the canvas tag, native drag-and-drop to the browser, and more.
This means making standards-based browsers that will directly compete with proprietary plug-ins like Silverlight and Flash. Browser lock-in is old school. Proprietary plug-ins are old school. This video shows what I expect from my browser:
It would be wonderful if I could embed that video with a simple tag, but for now, that’s impossible. I eagerly await the day when that ugly <object …><embed… type=”application/x-shockwave-flash”> …</embed></object> crap is a distant memory.