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Doug's Mailbag: A Hate Letter to Internet Explorer

One reader gets it all of his chest on why he does not like Microsoft's Web browser:

I used IE in 1996 on both Mac and PC, even thought it was a slow and horrible browser that crashed often -- and no, it wasn't the Windows 95 machine (even though that crashed often as well).

Move forward to 2012: IE is still a slow and horrible browser. And it still crashes. I seriously doubt IE 10 will reverse this trend even though it is already being hyped by Microsoft. Oh, I'm sure IE 10 will be the latest and greatest according to all the writers and experts, but give it a few months for the new smell to wear off and take another look. As for Mac users running IE, I do not personally know of any.

The only thing I think IE has going for it is its two main historically consistent features that every user can count on: slow speed and crashing (which many blame on the Web sites they were on).

Add to that the fact that there is a cumulative security patch for IE every two or so months that both rebuilds the browser and also resets some of your IE settings during the process, and you have easily got what I consider the worst browser available. I don't care what anybody else says in favor of it, it is a horrible browser! If you run a network like I do, you can count on having to push the proper IE template settings out to the entire domain all over again every time there is a cumulative IE update released.

So what is IE good for? Microsoft updates and the few corporate Web sites that require it for them to work properly -- and absolutely nothing more. Don't believe me? I know of two huge corporations (that have to remain nameless) that are currently in the middle of a three-year, $8-million rewrite of the entire corporate Web site and all its applications to upgrade and get away from dependence on Internet Explorer. Wasted time in these environments and wasted productivity equals wasted money. One of these corporations has already done a benchmark study and the results show that by switching from IE to Firefox, the employee time savings and productivity increase alone will amount to about 2.5 months of payroll every year -- way more than paying for everyone's annual vacation time.

When IE 9 was first released, every tech writer out there was hyping how fast it was. Well, the only thing it beat Chrome or Firefox on for speed was Java page loads (and there is a lot more to a browser than Java page load speed), and it wasn't in reality all that much faster. That speed brag lasted for about three or four weeks. How does it compare now?

Why do so many people use IE? Simple -- it comes for free with the computer they bought, and many users either don't know that there are other choices or they are too cautious to try something else. For the past 15 years, everyone I have ever introduced to Netscape, Firefox, Chrome or Opera have permanently switched, use IE only for what absolutely requires it, and have never looked back.
-Dave

Share your thoughts with the editors of this newsletter! Write to dbarney@redmondmag.com. Letters printed in this newsletter may be edited for length and clarity, and will be credited by first name only (we do NOT print last names or e-mail addresses).

Posted by Doug Barney on 05/23/2012 at 1:19 PM


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