Microsoft plays up Internet Explorer 9 ties to Windows at browser launch

Microsoft plays up Internet Explorer 9 ties to Windows at browser launch

Summary: In a move that surprised me, Microsoft launched IE9 at the SXSW show by playing up th ties between Windows and IE9.

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Microsoft could have taken a lot of different tacks to launch Internet Explorer (IE) 9.

I was surprised about the path the Softies chose. They didn't lead with the increased HTML5 standards compliance, the improvements around security and privacy or even the speed of IE 9 -- all of which IE chief Dean Hachamovitch mentioned during his IE9 launch keynote speech at SXSW on March 14.

Instead, Hachamovitch played up, right out of the gate of his 45-minute talk, the ties between IE 9 and Windows.

Yes, I know the IE team is part of the Windows business unit. And I also realize -- as I'm sure many do -- that IE is a Windows-only browser. In fact, IE 9 is a Vista and Windows 7 browser, not optimized to work on Windows XP. A version of it does work on Windows Mobile/Windows Phone (and an IE9 variant will be available on Windows Phone 7.x with the "Mango" release later this year, Microsoft officials have said). But to some, IE's Windows-only limitation is not a strength -- it's a weakness, when compared to Firefox, Chrome, Opera and other multiplatform browsers.

Hachamovitch, Corporate Vice President of Internet Explorer, highlighted the Windows ties of IE9 from the very start of his 45-minute launch presentation at SXSW.

"We bring all the benefits of a modern PC running Windows to the Web" with IE9, Hachamovitch said.

Web browsing is the top activity that people do on their PCs, Hachamovitch said, and "we want people to keep choosing Windows to do (that)."

The hardware-accelerated graphics of which IE9 takes advantage is enabled by the underlying operating system, Hachamovitch said. And "the browser is only as good as the operating system it runs on," he emphasized, just like graphics programs and games.

Ari Bixhorn, the Director of Web Services Strategy -- who handled the IE9 demo work at the launch -- emphasized that page speeds matter more than page load times. He called page loading time an "old-school" performance metric. He said that IE9 makes Web sites look and feel just like a (native) application, more than a traditional Web app.

I guess if you use IE9 Pinned Sites that would be true. But I've found myself twiddling my thumbs while waiting for Twitter to load on my IE9 test builds, as Pinned Sites aren't something I've found all that useful, given the way I work on the Web. (I lose track of all my many, open tabs when/if I pin sites to my Windows 7 task bar.)

Speaking of speed, I also wondered about Microsoft's repeated benchmarking of Firefox on Mac vs. IE9 on Windows. What about Chrome on Windows vs. IE9 on Windows? Seems I wasn't alone in wishing we saw a little more of that:

I've blogged before about why and how Microsoft is counting on IE9 as a key element of its Windows 8 tablet/slate strategy. Bottom line: The Redmondians are betting on HTML5 sites as being the preferred way to make more apps/content available on Windows touch devices.

Microsoft has been working with a few hundred of the developers of some of the most trafficked Web sites to get them to optimize their sites for IE9.

"Over 250 of the Web's top sites are making the Web better for their users with IE9 and Windows," Hachamovitch told the launch audience. (Did I mention Windows?)

My worry: What about the rest of the Web sites that aren't among the chosen ones? I asked Microsoft officials this week if the company had plans to reach out to other sites without zombies, angry birds, or foursquare check-ins to help them update their sites to take advantage of IE9 and didn't hear back. Instead, I was told that "from an ROI (return-on-investment) perspective, some sites are already seeing the benefit of investing in IE9."

I have to say, I think the Softies have some pretty stiff competition from Chrome, which I've been using increasingly as my browser of choice because of how quickly it loads pages. Yes, I know. I'm very old-school that way....

Microsoft is making the final IE 9 bits available for download in 39 languages as of 9 p.m. PT on March 14 from BeautyoftheWeb.com. I'm going to download the final and give it a try. What about you?

Topics: Operating Systems, Browser, Microsoft, Software, Windows

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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50 comments
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  • Download at 9PM Pacific Time? Seriously?

    How annoying. If they say it's going to be available on March 14th, it should have been available early in the morning on the 14th (like at 12:01 AM). Once again, they've mucked up a release by maximizing the annoyance factor. Does Microsoft even have a PR department???
    JohnMorgan3
    • Australian Eastern Standards

      @JFDude Being in Australia REALLY muddles it up even further; here it's the 15th and the release time should be... Well I have no idea; I'm just keeping my eye out for an email from ZDnet or someone else saying it's been released.
      Spannerz
    • RE: Microsoft plays up Internet Explorer 9 ties to Windows at browser launch

      @JFDude: Honestly, no matter when they choose to release it, it's going to be 9pm somewhere. I don't quite understand why this offends you so much... is there really that much excess self-righteous outrage floating around on the Internet?!

      http://www.letmebingthatforyou.com/?q=time%20zones
      EternalFacepalm
      • RE: Microsoft plays up Internet Explorer 9 ties to Windows at browser launch

        @EternalFacepalm : The reviewers, journalists, performance testers, bloggers, Microsoft fans and other "technorati" that matter most are in the USA and Europe. Microsoft should have scheduled the release to at least annoy them as little as possible. Unless you happen to be in Austin, who cares about SXSW? It isn't "outrage", it's being constantly exhausted and exasperated by Microsoft's fumbling...
        JohnMorgan3
      • RE: Microsoft plays up Internet Explorer 9 ties to Windows at browser launch

        @EternalFacepalm Well said. It's available. If you want, it, download it. Couldn't care less what time of day it's released. I'll download it tonight.
        zdnetreader123
    • RE: Microsoft plays up Internet Explorer 9 ties to Windows at browser launch

      @JFDude
      On one of the IE9 website's (www.beautyoftheweb.com), they wrote that they were planning to release it at 9PM PT time (just below the top bar with the menu).
      xnederlandx
  • Not a bad TAP at 250 sites

    Well that sounds pretty good for a TAP like program of early adopters. I mean if you have that many customers ramping up for the launch from an early adopter perspective then you are doing pretty good. If you look at the number of people on IE 6 still I would expect a lot of sites are not even close to ready to optimizing for IE 9.
    joeymaloney@...
  • RE: Microsoft plays up Internet Explorer 9 ties to Windows at browser launch

    Why is a Windows company making such a huge bet on HTML 5? MS seems to have lost its way.
    PSDude
    • RE: Microsoft plays up Internet Explorer 9 ties to Windows at browser launch

      @PSDude When a platform (WP7) is far behind in a market (mobile phones) makes sense to encourage and support standards which allow software to be made for both the market leader's platform and your platform. Then you can try and compete on other factors.

      Proprietary technology only makes a lot of sense when a company is ahead in a market (although some companies just can't help themselves, whether ahead or behind).
      LeoD
    • It's good to hedge

      @ PSDude

      The best way for Microsoft to prevent HTML5-based software from their competitors pulling the rug out from under Windows is to make sure that they (Microsoft) have got the best HTML5-based software.
      WilErz
    • HTML5 is the future of cross-platform applications.

      @PSDude whether MS are happy about it or not, web applications are now and will continue to be the majority usage of our computer usage. If they don't embrace HTML5 MS will fade into irrelevancy.

      With so many iOS/Android devices out there and the upcoming ChromeOS and webOS platforms, people have MANY non-MS options for their web consumption. It's only a matter of time before consumers realize that MS is irrelevant to the majority of their computing needs.

      MS needs to make themselves relevant again in the web industry where the majority of developers have long since wished MS would simply bow out and let us get on with proper platform-agnostic development.
      blakjak.au
  • Reverting back to what they know

    "Instead, Hachamovitch played up, right out of the gate of his 45-minute talk, the ties between IE 9 and Windows."

    Congratulations for finally realising it and stop wasting money on alternative strategies.

    MS makes their money through windows and office network effects. The rest are a largely unprofitable distraction.
    Richard Flude
    • RE: Microsoft plays up Internet Explorer 9 ties to Windows at browser launch

      @Richard Flude,
      "The rest are a largely unprofitable distraction. "
      What about enterprise applications like Windows Server, Exchange, SQL and Sharepoint? Or XBox 360+Kinect? Those are markets where Apple haven't entered (Gaming) or failed trying to do so (XServe), while MS is making a lot of money on them. I would like to see Apple trying to enter the server arena again.
      dvm
      • RE: Microsoft plays up Internet Explorer 9 ties to Windows at browser launch

        @ dvm

        Exacly, Microsoft have got a lot of successful businesses, many of which took some time to build up. Microsoft have never been a 'one trick pony' like Google.
        WilErz
  • Apple Safari is cross-platform while IE9 is NOT?

    Safari for PC is one of my Favs at the moment... I'll have to see if IE9 functions as good or better than it on my pc.

    EDIT: I personally would prefer an IE browser such as IE8/9 as it would use less resources than installing 2 or 3 browsers... IMO of course. Only problem I find is the security of using such a browser.
    Spannerz
    • RE: Microsoft plays up Internet Explorer 9 ties to Windows at browser launch

      @Spannerz

      Now you have to be kidding. Safari is by far the worst browser on WIndows - it can't even render text correctly like all the other browsers do. Of course, my experience is developing for it (shudder).
      tonymcs@...
      • RE: Microsoft plays up Internet Explorer 9 ties to Windows at browser launch

        @tonymcs@...<br>Wait, you're criticising Safari for that? Really?!? The one who has got to be kidding is you. Of all your misinformed pablum, this ranks near the top! Try out IE9 then, and see how for you get rendering pages with lots of legacy code.
        DeusXMachina
      • There are better criticisms for Safari

        You chose the least annoying -_-
        Michael Alan Goff
  • RE: Microsoft plays up Internet Explorer 9 ties to Windows at browser launch

    "But I?ve found myself twiddling my fingers while waiting for Twitter to load"

    I don't know how much that has to do with the browser as much as the internet connection or the site itself. I've experienced these things with Opera and Chrome many times and it still happens. I don't think there's really any slow browsers any more; definitely not one where you just sit and wait
    artstate
    • page loading speeds

      Hi. I am also using Chrome 10 on Windows 7. The pages load faster using the same Internet connection... Thanks. MJ
      Mary Jo Foley