In couple of days the web is going beautiful. Well that is what Microsoft thinks when it asks you ‘to get ready for a more beautiful web‘. Or may be, they are talking about only the 60 % of web that they currently hold on to. When I checked last, the web share of Internet Explorer with all its versions taken together shrank to little under 60% from an astounding figure of 95% only seven years back.
Guess what: All this shrinking happened only because the world had an urge to go beautiful right from the beginning. Isn’t it? Now one could go on forever talking about how expensive Internet Explorer has been for decades to the young startups and new technology ventures simply because one had to hire a set of additional web developers & testers simply to handle compatibility issues of Internet Explorer. Across its own versions. Had the startups had a little muscle like Apple does, the treatment of Internet Explorer wouldn’t have been any different from that of Adobe’s Flash. Really.
But as the word goes by, it seems Microsoft is willing to take things seriously now. Predictably, Internet Explorer 9 is all set to qualify Acid3 test (recommended by W3C) this time round. And they are planning to open a public beta version by 15th September in San Fransisco. So I thought, how is this new browser going to affect Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Apple Safari and others in the times to come? What if Microsoft, really stopped downplaying the standards and went ahead to churn out a browser without evolving from the glitches of previous IE versions?
And can they do that?
Well here is my take: Microsoft can and they will. Look at Bing, for example. Did Google resort to ripping off features from another player in the search market ever? Nope, not until arrival of Bing. And trust me Bing does show great results and has an excellent user interface. What it lacks is only the first mover’s advantage. In fact the heat of competition from Bing has been so high that Google has recently ‘instantized‘ its results model to grab another step forward in want of better user experience. Impressed or not impressed but did you notice a change within Microsoft?
In browsers, Microsoft’s IE has a muscle similar to what Google has in search space. And releasing a version which is closer to prescribed standards would mean more love from the developers community. A business bomb, that Microsoft will definitely drop in browser battlefield. Look at the use of ‘-moz-box-shadow‘ CSS3 selector property on beautyofweb.com on your Firefox. I would have half expected the shadow to be made of image earlier. Microsoft is actually ready for a beautiful web, it seems if not anyone else. The challenge for them however, would be of convincing their enterprise clients into re-deploying internal infrastructures and group policies again on the new version. But their salesmen are good at it.
Does IE9 that supports HTML5 & CSS3 with tags like canvass, audio and properties like rounded corners (Oh! How can you forget this torture?), box shadows etc. mean death sentence to other browsers?
Or at least stunt others from growing further? What’s your take?