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Should Microsoft do an IE 8 'Lite'?

Would Microsoft be smart to try to head off Google's Chrome before it can gain a foothold by rolling out a smaller, faster, lighter version of Internet Explorer?

Would Microsoft be smart to try to head off Google's Chrome before it can gain a foothold by rolling out a smaller, faster, lighter version of Internet Explorer?

I've been dabbling with both Internet Explorer (IE) 8 Beta 2 and the Google Chrome beta over the past couple of weeks. I've fallen into the following usage pattern: IE 8 is my go-to browser for everyday use. But when I need to get to check a Web site quickly, I use Chrome.

I realize there's been a lot of back-and-forth over whether Chrome is really substantially faster than IE 8. I've seen folks weigh in on all sides. But on my old trusty ThinkPad X60 running XP SP2, Chrome is noticeably faster -- in both loading and taking me to sites.

The IE 8 team is marching toward a November release-to-Web date, based on the latest info I have. I wondered whether the surprise introduction of Chrome by Google might have derailed the schedule. At the very least, I thought Chrome's speed, size and simpler/faster installation experience might have  given the IE 8 team pause.

So I asked the IE folks whether Chrome had them thinking about making changes, if not some kind of "IE Lite." The answer, delivered back to me by a Microsoft spokeswoman, was a definite no. Here's the word:

"There are several aspects to performance. We have made investments in rendering performance in Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 including optimizing the Javascript engine and removing issues that can cause pages to 'block' while loading. We’re certainly moving in the right direction with respect to this 'millisecond' performance, but we are also helping users get tasks completed more quickly by, for example, reducing the number of clicks and steps to lookup a map based on an address from 8 to 2. For our customers, we believe it's less important to be light and more important to be right.

"Microsoft will continue to gather feedback from both developers and customers throughout Beta 2. Additional releases will be based on the feedback received during the process."

What do you think of Microsoft's claim that its customers prefer "right" to "light"? Do the two really have to be mutually exclusive?