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April - 2009 - issue > Tech Tracker

Microsoft IE8 Unveiled to take on Firefox, Chrome, Safari

Eureka Bharali
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Eureka Bharali
Microsoft, on a quest to retrieve its lost shares in the browser market, which dipped below 70 percent, unveils 'Internet Explorer 8' (IE8), the new version of its iconic browser. The bar of competition rising, with browsers like Google's Chrome, Mozilla's Firefox, and Apple's new upgraded Safari gaining ground, Microsoft has warily improved the IE7 package with its IE8.

The new browser comes with features like fine-tuned cookie handling, InPrivate Browsing that keeps the browsing history private, and InPrivate Filtering that prohibits websites from automatically sending details about your visit to other content providers. Security remained the main factor for the company as its CEO Steve Ballmer claimed it more secure against malware than any of its rival browsers.

The boasts on security was soon nullified at the Pwn2Own 2009, a hacking contest, where IE8 failed to survive the hacker onslaught of a 25 year old. "For the amount of time he spent to exploit IE and Firefox, he could have found and exploited five or ten Safari bugs," said Charlie Miller, a researcher who also exploited Safari. The browser maintained a good stead over Safari, which fell short in all aspects ranging from security to performance. The huge challenge in terms of security for IE is Chrome, which was left stranded by the hackers as it is the hardest to exploit.

The unveiling of the latest version of IE is also seen as the last attempt of Microsoft to revive the browser. Predictions linger all around that Microsoft will embrace WebKit, an application framework that provides a foundation upon which a Web browser is built. It is originally derived by Apple from the Konqueror browser to use as the engine of Safari. Some analysts also view that there would be a brand new engine, Gazelle, from the research lab of Microsoft, supposedly more secure than Firefox or even Chrome, which will replace IE. If presumptions come true, there will never be an IE9.

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