Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

Microsoft previews upcoming Internet Explorer 9, Windows Phone 7 Series

Microsoft revealed plans for the next version of its Internet Explorer browser yesterday, but it's way too early to put a reminder to upgrade on your calendar.


The future Internet Explorer 9, announced at a conference for developers in Las Vegas, will bring advances in performance and compatibility with Web standards, in particular those allowing sites to provide audio and video without requiring users to install a separate plug-in such as Adobe's Flash. IE 9 will also take advantage of Windows graphics technologies to improve its display of pictures and text, at the apparent price of Windows XP support.

In a technically oriented blog post, IE product manager Dean Hachamovitch offers more detail about Microsoft's goals for IE 9. Adventurous users can also try out a "test drive" version of the browser -- but this release is so limited that it doesn't even count as pre-alpha. Microsoft's frequently-asked-questions file doesn't say when a beta version of IE 9 will ship, much less a finished product.

That poses a problem for the company, because the current Internet Explorer 8 just isn't doing the job. It trails competitors in its features, simplicity, reliability and speed. I cringe every time I launch IE 8, because I know I'm going to be waiting that much longer for it to start responding to my input than Mozilla Firefox would. (As one result, the only reason I launch IE 8 these days is to run a brain-dead Oracle expense-reporting application that doesn't work in Firefox.)

As a result, IE has been steadily losing market share to the likes of Firefox and, to a lesser extent, Google's Chrome, Apple's Safari and Opera's self-titled browser.


At the same conference, Microsoft also revealed more details about the rewritten mobile software, Windows Phone 7 Series, that it announced last month. And would-be WinPhone7 users may not be happy about these revelations

The software, due on smartphones by this holiday season, will not let you cut, copy and paste text, Engadget's Chris Ziegler posted. PC Magazine's Sascha Segan, meanwhile, reported that Win Phone 7 won't support running multiple third-party programs at once (although some will be able to provide limited services such as music playback in the background), augmenting a phone's storage with a removable memory card or installing new applications from anywhere but Microsoft's own Windows Marketplace.

In other words, Win Phone 7 looks set to match the feature set of the 2008-era iPhone. Which may be an issue in 2010, now that the iPhone offers an excellent, touch-driven implementation of copy and paste and Android devices also support multitasking, memory cards and running applications from unofficial channels -- and both Apple's smartphone and Google's software will likely see further improvements before Win Phone 7 ships.

How would you describe your interest in these upcoming Microsoft releases? What would the company have to do to raise that? Let me know in the comments ...

By Rob Pegoraro  |  March 17, 2010; 11:16 AM ET
Categories:  Mobile , The Web , Windows  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: To judge FCC broadband plan, rank your priorities first
Next: Google eyes its next screen: TV


I will use IE9 when you tell me it's safe to do so. Every time they do a new version it breaks stuff. I have never loaded IE8 for that reason. I've been using Chrome, but still go back to IE7 because of bookmarks that I have been too lazy to transfer. I have used Firefox, but I'm not crazy about it and on the machines I use it on it's very slow to boot up.

Posted by: maxinea | March 17, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Microsoft? Who are they, have never heard of them. A new company? Do they believe they can stand the competition from say Apple or Mozilla? They seem brave -or fools-.

All right, all kidding aside, poor Microsoft looks past their prime, they are already trailing others in markets they used to dominate, -sometimes in a rather unfair ways-. Is this some kind of Netscape curse?

Posted by: skata3 | March 17, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Sigh... and yet my stupid corporate employer still has us using IE6. Not only has complaining not worked, I don't even know who to complain to. I use Chrome at home. It's fast and bare-bones, just like an at-work browser should be. Sure would be nice if I could use it at work...

Posted by: financepirate | March 17, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

I had to rebuild my Windows 7 system because my PC was attacked via a rogue session of IE8. I switched to Firefox and have never experienced that same type of attack. Microsoft lost one IE customer.

Posted by: dingdong789 | March 17, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

I only use IE when I must use popups. My usual browser has popups blocked.

Posted by: jimward21 | March 17, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

I've stopped at IE7. I didn't bother to downlowad IE8 because I only exclusively use Firefox. Oh, maxinea, Firefox can automatically upload one's bookmarks from IE, if you are interested.

Posted by: jabreal00 | March 17, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

So WM7 will be a step backwards from 6.5, which I skipped entirely?

I may finally have to give up my boycott of AT&T's crapola network and get an iPhone.

Posted by: pjgeraghty | March 17, 2010 7:48 PM | Report abuse

I use Ubuntu and Firefox for web browsing. Any web site that won't work with Firefox just doesn't get used. I use Thunderbird for email.

I basically only Windows for gaming, other than the occasional Windows Update and AV update.

Posted by: pagun | March 17, 2010 8:02 PM | Report abuse

I have never experienced the problems you mentioned about slow loading times with IE. It loads just as fast as Firefox or Chrome on my computer. I use IE 8 as my regular browser (because every non-geek website is going to be compatible with it) except if I am going to a high-risk site, in which case I switch to Firefox because it's generally less vulnerable.

That's really disappointing about WM7. I am loyal to Microsoft mostly, and I specifically buy WM devices (HTC mostly) because they let you run any software you want in a decentralized manner. WM6.5 is not locked down like the iPhone or overly simplistic like Symbian. I also buy phones overseas so I am not limited to specific carriers - only network protocols.

Posted by: antispy | March 17, 2010 8:30 PM | Report abuse

Don't care at all about these new versions. Will continue using Chrome and Firefox.

I don't think there's anything that MS can do to get me to care. I mean aside from some kind of game changing new idea, which doesn't seem likely. Simply being as good or even slightly better than Chrome/Firefox won't get me to switch back to IE.

Plus it's just safer to not use IE. But not because IE is unsafe. It's because IE is still the market leader and hackers will naturally spend their time writing exploits that will give them the most infections for their time.

Posted by: Booyah5000 | March 18, 2010 1:16 AM | Report abuse

I've tried a number of IE competitors through the years, without much excitement. But Google Chrome offers a service I find clearly superior. Google's own indifferent job at promoting the browser seems to hide its evident virtues from most. But like every other sensible Windows users, I await IE0 with deep interest. Microsoft is a famous recoverer.

Posted by: kunino | March 18, 2010 2:20 AM | Report abuse

This sound like what my local wizard once said, "Microsoft is a great marketing company that occasionally writes software". Wizard is retired from a career at IBM....

Posted by: chasbrow | March 18, 2010 2:50 AM | Report abuse

Not another IE from Garbagesoft please. IE has been tormenting web designers for years. And it has caused so many security problems. The source codes for IE should never have existed but sadly it does. Now it should be thrown in the fireplace and burn to hell!!!

Posted by: sayNo2MS | March 18, 2010 8:49 AM | Report abuse

BTW, all Garbagesoft's products should be burn, burn ,burn to hell!!!

Posted by: sayNo2MS | March 18, 2010 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Minimal XP support for IE9 would be stupid.

Posted by: justsayin | March 18, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

As a sometime web designer, I just wish IE would go away. The last site I designed was just fine in Firefox (which I normally use), Chrome, Opera and Safari. There then followed a two day period of making it work in IE. I note that a development, pre alpha, version of IE9 scored into the 30's on the Acid3 test for standards compatibility! What an improvement from the IE8 score of 20 - bottom of the barrel for all browsers including several obscure phone browsers. The passing score is 100, attained by Chrome, Opera and Safari. Firefox isn't too far back at 94, 97 for 3.6 beta2. In addition to the numeric score, pixel perfect rendering of a test image is required for a "pass" rating. IE8 fails this as well.

I think the time has come for web developers to get together and deliver an ultimatum to MS that they will not continue to provide workarounds to IE's non-compliance with standards. This winds up being awfully expensive for developers and their customers.

If it weren't for the website work that I do, I would most assuredly and emphatically not have IE on my machine. It seems that some improvement is being made, but the Acid3 tests clearly show just how unbelievably far they have to go.

Posted by: rsh43 | March 18, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

I switched to Mozilla and will MAYBE go back to IE when they can get a firm grip on all the security loopholes.

While i generally like Microsoft products i really dislike IE

Posted by: scon101 | March 18, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

I strongly agree with rsh43, the web designers should totally join together to boycott IE. Every website should have a browser check, if the site encounter IE, a warning will pop up say something like "Your computer is at risk because you are using IE!" then provide links to Firefox and Safari.

Posted by: sayNo2MS | March 18, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Microsoft made software is generally vulnerable for the end user, particularly when it comes to communications. Because IE is fundamentally a prominent communications software, it has been exposed more than other windows parts, still, it is only the tip of the iceberg.

But it is marketing this company that really excels. Every time a new vulnerability is found, microsoft's typical advice to their customers is to 'upgrade', or in other words buy their latest versions, which are supposed to be the safest, although generally they are not. It is exactly this way that this company manages to turn nightmarish issues into further profits. But what is really amazing is that we consumers instead of turning our backs to them, simply comply as if there are no alternatives. Yet there are.

The million dollar question is whether such vulnerabilities are a result of microsoft's mediocre developing skills or whether they are really purposeful as a means to push their sales versus their older versions, currently the main competition they face.

Posted by: skata3 | March 18, 2010 8:08 PM | Report abuse

?Rob Promoting Alpha Bet Bomber stuff to Public. Amazing. If do download IE9 ALPHA, Remember, User has to write code themselves. ROFLOL Braun.

Big things that can be developed, Html 5 & Java Script into IE. When ready. be much better & probably gets 64 bit browser, into Shape, that now ALL media should work.

HTML 5.0 will be particularly good for Mobile Media, as has ALL Codecs for Media in It, No Apps needed.

Signed:Oscar Napolean Samuelson AMP theALPHABET Bomber.

Posted by: ThomasStewart1 | March 18, 2010 10:31 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company