The “browser war” is more intense than ever before, with Internet Explorer losing dominance, Firefox and Chrome fighting for position, and Safari owning the tablet environment. However, Microsoft representatives have assured us that with the release of IE9, their position as King of the Mountain will be re-secured. While Microsoft has had a release candidate for IE9 out for some time, and a beta for even longer, there’s always a certain magic in the air when they throw the tag “official” onto the release – which they did just yesterday (March 14th, 2011).
One of the several announcements of IE9’s official entry into the foray happened on the Bing Blog, where Bing rep Kindra Mason set some high expectations for the new browser. “Internet Explorer 9 is the best browser for Windows,” she states. “It is all-around fast, integrates with Windows 7, and lets your favorite web sites shine.” She then goes on to elaborate on a special “packaged” version of IE9 that automatically integrates Bing and MSN features into the browser, giving customers “the best browser with the best of the web.”
This packaged version pre-configures IE9 to use Bing searches in “One Box” (the IE equivalent of the Chrome omnibox) and sets MSN as your homepage. While these settings can be set in any version of IE9, those who are interested in saving a couple steps can download the Bing-optimized version here. This version is only available to U.S. users at the moment, but will be made available internationally in the upcoming weeks.
Will IE9 return Microsoft to leading position in Europe, where it has fallen behind? Will it secure dominance in North America? It’s difficult to say, since Microsoft’s “hardware acceleration tests” that prove “technical superiority” have been shown as biased, and most of IE8 and 9 downloads thus far have cannibalized only earlier versions of the browser. Still, the browser is a big leap forward, and Microsoft has only just begun its promotional efforts. Time will tell exactly how fully this new version secures the market.
[via the Bing Blog]