Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009
Microsoft finally removed the more insulting lines from their Australian $10,000 campaign, but they also released a “Get The Facts” campaign apparently comparing a future version of IE 8 with some phantom versions of Firefox and Chrome invented by Microsoft for this campaign.
Yes for IE 8, no for Firefox and Chrome. Why? Because IE 8’s phishing and malware protection is supposedly “better” than the one that Firefox and Chrome inherit from Google. Microsoft calls this a “fact”.
Now, I’m sure Microsoft could come up with some studies to support their claim (although they didn’t), just as Mozilla or Google could come up with studies to show that they’re better. That isn’t the point. The point is that all three browsers feature rather similar anti-phishing and anti-malware protection, and yet Microsoft used those features as the sole justification for giving IE 8 the only check mark in this category.
Yes for IE 8, no for Firefox and Chrome. This time, it’s because of IE 8’s unique Incognito mode.
Er, sorry, I meant InPrivate mode. Incognito is the name of Chrome’s equivalent. But yeah, Microsoft decided that Chrome doesn’t deserve a check mark. Also, despite Firefox’s wealth of privacy features, it doesn’t earn a check mark because the InPrivate equivalent is only available in Firefox 3.5.
Ease of Use
Yes for IE 8, no for Firefox and Chrome. Because everyone knows that a bunch of confusing features that trigger at unexpected times makes the product more usable, and that Chrome’s streamlined experience makes it a hard-to-use piece of trash, right?
I forget, is this called “Get The Facts” or “Get Microsoft’s Opinions”?
Yes for all three. Considering we’re talking about a simple yes-or-no rating system here, I’d say that’s fair. They also accurately point out that Firefox and Chrome have better support for the upcoming HTML 5 and CSS 3 specifications, and they avoided claiming that IE 8 has perfect standards compliance.
Yes for IE 8 and Firefox, no for Chrome.
Um… what? Chrome actually comes with more developer tools than Firefox out of the box. Of course, Firefox beats both once you add extensions like Firebug and Web Developer, but I don’t understand the basis on which Microsoft decided that Chrome is the one without a check mark.
Yes for IE 8, no for Firefox and Chrome. The sole basis for this was the combination of both tab isolation and crash recovery. In my experience, though, IE 8 and Chrome crash much more often than Firefox, so it boils down to whether you’d rather have fewer crashes with worse crash isolation or more crashes with better isolation. I prefer the former, especially when the browser also has good crash recovery (restoring the tabs as they were before the crash), so I’d pick Firefox as the winner in this category. But again, this is a subjective issue, and Microsoft is just expressing their opinion… in a campaign about “facts”.
Yes for all three, with a nod to Firefox’s large extension collection. Good so far.
And yes, I’m aware that IE also has its own type of add-on system, but I’m addressing Microsoft’s “right out of the box” claim.
I’d also like to point out that the level of customizability that IE 8 and Chrome currently support doesn’t come close to Firefox’s capabilities. From the massive amount of settings in about:config, to the unchallenged wealth and diversity of extensions and themes, to lesser-known features like userChrome and userContent, there’s just no contest here. Considering the tiny feature differences that Microsoft used in other areas to deny check marks to other browsers, if Microsoft were being consistent they’d give Firefox the sole check mark in this area.
Yes for IE 8, no for Firefox and Chrome. “Internet Explorer 8 is more compatible with more sites on the Internet than any other browser.” Yeah, when you illegally use anticompetitive practices to shut out other browsers (practices for which you have been convicted in a court of law), and thus hold over 90% of the market for multiple years, effectively forcing web developers to cater to the most nonstandard implementation of web technology in significant use, you tend to end up with the most compatible browser. It’s a bit like a politician bragging about the number of votes he has accumulated in rigged elections.
Yes for IE 8, no for Firefox and Chrome. I don’t have experience in the area of enterprise-wide deployment, so I can’t really comment on this aspect.
Yes for all three. In fact, Microsoft calls it a tie. You know how every single speed test you’ve seen in the last few years has shown Internet Explorer to be the slowest by far (with IE 8 being only a minor improvement over IE 7, and IE 7 being only a minor improvement over IE 6)? Microsoft calls that a tie.
I’ll tell you what, Firefox and Chrome are a lot closer to each other than Internet Explorer is to either of them, and I can definitely notice that Chrome is faster than Firefox at most drawing operations. You don’t need slow-motion video to tell the difference, you just need to look at some of the next-generation web applications that haven’t reached the mainstream yet due to browser performance limitations!
The Internet Explorer development team earned a lot of credit with me on the standards support quality of IE 8. The recent series of misleading and sometimes insulting marketing campaigns has almost completely used up that credit. I assume that other web developers have felt similarly, and if so, Microsoft is doing a lot of damage to themselves by refusing to engage in the kind of honest dialog that Mozilla has particularly excelled at.