IBM Flips IE the Finger, Fist Bumps Firefox Instead

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News Posted: Tue, Jul 6 2010 3:52 PM
For compatibility reasons, many corporations still insist on deploying Internet Explorer across their workforce, no matter how much the end-user complains. It's not that IE is more standards compliant than other browsers -- in most cases, the opposite is true -- but Microsoft's longstanding dominance in browser market share has forced Web developers to code their pages with IE in mind, even at the expense of sticking to proper Web code. In addition, some applications only work (or only work properly) with IE, which is especially true in the enterprise.

So why do we mention all this? Well, IBM is going against the corporate grain and telling its employees to blaze a trail with Mozilla's open-source Firefox browser, not Microsoft's close-source Internet Explorer.



"We're officially adding a new piece of software to the list of default common applications we expect employees to use, and that's the Mozilla Firefox browser," Bob Sutor, Vice President of Open Source and Linux at IBM, wrote in a blog post. "Firefox has been around for years, of course. Today we already have thousands of employees using it on Linux, Mac, and Windows laptops and desktops, but we're going to be adding thousands more users to the rolls."

That might not sound like a very big deal, but make no mistake, this is yet another heavy blow to Microsoft, which can ill afford to keep losing ground in the browser wars. And maybe five years ago this wouldn't have been newsworthy, but the landscape is quickly changing.

When Microsoft buried Netscape in the ground, IE quickly found itself without any real competition. And even though Firefox would eventually build a following, for a long while it looked as though nothing could loosen IE's grip on the browser market. In case you haven't been paying attention, it's already happening.

According to Web research firm NetApplications, IE controls 60.32 percent of the browser market, compared to 23.81 percent for Firefox. Chrome is next in line with 7.24 percent, and then Safari and Opera with 4.85 percent and 2.27 percent, respectively.


Net Applications: Browser Market Share, June 2009 - June 2010

Microsoft doesn't have anything to worry about, right? Nothing could be further from the truth. In June 2009, IE's market share was a little over 68, while Firefox stood at 22.43 percent. But the real threat might come from Chrome, which claimed less than 2.5 percent of the market.

Firefox might not be scorching up the market share ladder, but Google's Chrome browser is. Equally important, IE has been steadily sliding backwards, dropping 8 percent in the last year alone. When you look at the bigger picture, it's easy to see why having a corporation like IBM kick IE to the curb is big deal indeed.
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The only M$ way to Save IE is to rebuild it from the ground up. It's slow, cumbersome and sometimes doesn't display pages correctly (i've had it where some text overlapse each other making some web pages unreadable). Not to mention the net code for IE is horrendous.

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AKwyn replied on Wed, Jul 7 2010 1:55 AM

Chainzsaw, what do you think they're making IE9 for? Catch up with the times man.

Anyway, this is nothing new. I think this is the sign of a new trend. People are starting to move away from Microsoft products and towards open-source products like Linux and Firefox and stuff from Google. I don't know what Microsoft is going to do next but it seems like their monopoly is crumbling with no hope or recovery.

 

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I've personally been having problems with both Firefox and Chrome lately. Just in the past month or so, and I'm not he only one. The long delay in page loads on Chrome is bad, and I hear there is a beta that fixes it, but not a good sign. Chrome still has a ways to go before it can catch up to the veteran browsers in my opinion.

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well lol ibm. 22.4% of the public for firefox

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@Taylor

Catch up with the times? lol.

How about you link to a web page that says they are building it from the ground up?

I know IE9 will have hardware acceleration, but thats not necessarily the same thing as building IE from the ground up...

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digitaldd replied on Wed, Jul 7 2010 10:11 AM

I love those Firefox eating IE icons. they're awesome..

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AKwyn replied on Wed, Jul 7 2010 10:31 AM

Chainzsaw, you also forget that they're implementing HTML 5 and a faster JavaScript engine and many other enhancements so yeah. It's kinda like they're making IE catch up with the competition.

I don't see what the problem is with IE8, it's not like they're making IE worst. I sometimes use IE8 and I don't see the problems, it's responsive and has a clean interface. And I don't see any problem with IE not rendering pages correctly, I have not seen one thing where an element is out of place, not one. And also how can you say it's cumbersome when it shares most of the interface with Windows 7 and also Vista.

I'm mainly a Firefox user because well... It has support for plugins, full HTML5 support and it's just f-ing fast. While I do use IE whenever a page doesn't want to load on an alpha version of Firefox, I don't think IE is horrible. IE6 was very horrible, in fact it's so horrible people are still using it. I had to insert IE6 specific customizations and images in order to make my website compatible with obsolete technology.

 

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ClemSnide replied on Wed, Jul 7 2010 10:45 AM

Until IE allows the user to choose his or her typeface size, it's Firefox for me. That's the single most important deciding point.

It would help, though, if applications that had web links embedded in them didn't assume you wanted to launch IE, but rather used your Internet Options preference. I still run into programs that do that; who knows but that the market share of IE may be lower except for this practice?


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@ Chainzsaw

I don't know man, they have a new render engine, a new layout engine, a new javascript engine, and a whole lot of changes/additions. It might not be a 100% from the ground up rebuild, but then

It is like a new model of a car, with only a few tweaks on the outside. Inside however, it has a new engine, transmission, suspension, and lots of little goodies. You might not call it a ground up rebuild but it surely is not the same car.

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Chainzsaw replied on Wed, Jul 7 2010 11:15 AM

Also I never forgot that IE 9 will implement HTML 5 and a new Javascript engine, I just never mentioned it because IE is 1 generation behind FF, Chrome, and Opera. It's that simple. It's like the Tesla battery powered vehicle, it's good for the environment, is faster than top of the line Gas powered vehicles (at the start), but is it out yet? No.

How can I say it's cumbersome? I've used both the latest FF and IE, and sometimes when I open 10-20 tabs at a time with IE, it starts bogging out (and sometimes completely freezes), much like Adobe Reader of the past (remember when it used to take all the resources of your computer opening a simple PDF?). I cannot say the same for Firefox. I've been able to open more than 20 tabs at a time with FF and it does not bog down at all. I see memory spikes with FF, but that's about it.

One more thing, you're not unlucky enough to have a slow internet connection like I have. If I load a page with IE, it usually takes at least 5 seconds longer to load than with Firefox. That's cumbersome to me.

Anyways i'm done talking about IE..it just makes me feel ill inside. lol

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acarzt replied on Thu, Jul 8 2010 6:44 PM

digitaldd:

I love those Firefox eating IE icons. they're awesome..

The most relevant post in this entire discussion lmao

 

Also, I think it would be wrong of IBM to force firefox down people throat. I've used firefox, and I don't like it.

I like IE, and I don't have any problems with it. I never notice it being slow or doing anything stupid. Pages open up very fast for me.

As a matter of fact i tried out all of the major browser. Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and IE. IE is my preference. And I know i'm not the only one that feels this way.

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