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Microsoft IE 8 RC1 has finally been released, marking that the company is close to releasing its final version of the browser. The browser comes with greatly improved security (like the anitphishing shown here) and a wealth of new features.  (Source: Microsoft)
Microsoft IE 8 RC1 released, is expected to be almost feature identical to final release

While Windows 7 may be one potential "killer app" for Microsoft, another less frequently mentioned one is Internet Explorer 8.  The betas of IE 8 drew rave reviews, with many saying the browser was faster, more secure, and more intuitive than IE 7, as well as bringing numerous useful features like the new InPrivate Browsing privacy mode, which some took to colorfully calling "porn mode".  Another really nice feature introduced in IE 8 is the use of color coding for tabs from the same site.

Now Microsoft has announced the release of IE 8 Release Candidate 1, marking the home stretch for the browser's development.  The browser offered is likely to be virtually feature identical to the final release.

For corporate users and those who stick with Microsoft offerings, IE 8 RC1 will be a great addition. Quite similar to the betas, with some new features that are mostly minor speed ups and stability improvements, the RC1 version nonetheless marks a great improvement over IE 6 and IE 7.  One key improvement worth mentioning is a streamlining of the compatibility mode, which switches the browser to an older version of IE for sites that have trouble handling IE 8.  The switch is now done automatically based on a compiled list, though you can still manually switch as well. 

However, for those willing to try competitive browsers, Microsoft will have a tough sell.  Arguably, IE 8 is more full featured and faster than Firefox 3.  However, Firefox 3 has had months of advance to grow its market share and establish a base of dedicated users.  Further, Firefox 3 has the ability to easily outdo IE 8 when you bring the plethora of available add-ons to the table.

Other browsers also will give IE 8 a run for its money.  Opera is a strong candidate with its light, highly compatible, and very quick PC browser.  Some will also pick Chrome, despite its bugs, for love of all things Google.  And IE 8 will experience a mixture of direct and indirect competition of Safari, found mainly on Macs, but also installed on some PCs. 

Ultimately, IE 8 is assured a strong market share thanks to Microsoft's name recognition and permeation into the corporate world.  Microsoft would have to release a terribly flawed browser to not hold such a position, and fortunately it looks like the opposite is true -- it's releasing a really good one. 

However, as Mozilla surely has Firefox 4 in the works, and other developers continue to hone their offerings, even this solid product will face a tough uphill battle to regain market share and prevent greater losses.  It also faces the catch-22 that if it does succeed in regaining some ground, it may lead to greater antitrust fines from the EU.  The EU, which has shown itself to be unafraid to fine Microsoft billions of dollars, is in the process of trying to fine Microsoft for alleged anticompetitive bundling practices with Internet Explorer, despite the fact that IE is at its lowest market share in years

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First Glance at Title
By cooldadd on 1/28/2009 9:58:12 AM , Rating: 5
My attention was caught by the title of this piece, as I read that Internet Explorer was now 8 Inches Closer to Release!

Doh...never mind.

RE: First Glance at Title
By BruceLeet on 1/28/2009 11:23:46 AM , Rating: 2
After viewing tightdelights and then reading this post, I am now 4 inches further from release.

Thanks alot.

RE: First Glance at Title
By dj LiTh on 1/28/2009 1:06:30 PM , Rating: 2
Just go view the Circuit City DailyTech pics

RE: First Glance at Title
By PhoenixKnight on 1/28/2009 11:33:48 AM , Rating: 2
If it's 8 inches closer, then how long will it be once fully released?

RE: First Glance at Title
By Screwballl on 1/28/2009 1:33:55 PM , Rating: 2
This is Microsoft, we all know their claimed epeen has been growing to compensate for decreased usage.

Yah for Transparent Compatibility Mode
By afkrotch on 1/28/2009 10:46:29 AM , Rating: 3
About time they came out with that. I like IE8 and it's worked great for me, but that compatibility mode always pissed me off.

If it's transparency is as explained, I'll be really happy.

RE: Yah for Transparent Compatibility Mode
By renec2006 on 1/28/2009 11:49:27 AM , Rating: 2
I thought IE5, IE6, IE7 were safer and I still had all kinds of spyware, etc...! IE8 is not faster than FFox and Fox is slow compared to Opera n Chrome, but still better than any IE browser. Windows can fool anybody by using the word "Safer", but M$ OS and browser are not safer! NO, I'm not a mac user I like macs, but don't own one. Yes! I use Linux! "SAFER, FASTER, CHEAPER" and yes, it's easy to use. My kids of age 13, 9, 7, 6 know how to use it.

RE: Yah for Transparent Compatibility Mode
By omnicronx on 1/28/2009 12:57:59 PM , Rating: 1
You have four kids, yet you spell like a 10 year old...

I also wonder if you are a nix user, how would you know how fast ie8 is? (or chrome for that matter)

By amandahugnkiss on 1/28/2009 6:38:34 PM , Rating: 2
wow, his comment is hard on the eyes. Windows can be every bit as secure if you do it properly. Any chance you had those 13, 9, 7, 6 year olds running as admins? I wonder what could have gone wrong there.... If you didn't I call BS on the safety issues.

By afkrotch on 1/28/2009 3:58:16 PM , Rating: 2
What the fck does this have to do with my post whatsoever? Please explain the relevance.

By mxnerd on 2/25/2009 11:49:34 AM , Rating: 2
I now put IE 8 in compatibility mode permanently so it won't piss me off.

Still second best
By Screwballl on 1/28/09, Rating: 0
RE: Still second best
By theapparition on 1/28/2009 11:52:47 AM , Rating: 2
Just another example of useless statistics taken out of context.

Tech sites are a small minority of web sites. And the majority of users going to tech sites are advanced and willing to try other browsers.

Among non-technical sites, IE still holds the lead close to 60% with Firefox coming in around 45%.

LOL, I guess that leaves Opera, Chrome and Safari with -5%.

RE: Still second best
By TomZ on 1/28/2009 12:03:45 PM , Rating: 2
It has been shown with the latest numbers on tech based sites that IE has slipped big time and Firefox is taking the majority of actual browser usage.
Kudos to the Firefox developers for their impressive gains, but really does it matter that much which browser is #1, #2, etc.? Let's move beyond this childish bantor.

RE: Still second best
By Justin Time on 1/29/2009 5:17:39 AM , Rating: 2
They see me trolling...
By Aloonatic on 1/28/2009 10:17:26 AM , Rating: 2
This looks so good Microsoft should make it integral to their operating system and force everyone to use it :D


RE: They see me trolling...
By DonkeyRhubarb on 1/28/2009 11:54:34 AM , Rating: 2
I ain't biting...
By Spinne on 1/28/2009 11:20:31 PM , Rating: 2
I'm pissed off with the number of bugs in the IE8 betas. Betas are not supposed to be error free, but letting a fairly unstable beta roam the web unchecked is like OCP letting the ED-209 loose on Detroit. Anyway, it made me switch to Chrome and I haven't had to look back since.

RE: I ain't biting...
By amandahugnkiss on 1/29/2009 12:55:28 AM , Rating: 2
Wow, excellent reasoning there! That chunk of beta code so bug free.

"A chrome turd is still a turd."

Home page button
By Murloc on 1/28/2009 2:18:41 PM , Rating: 3
I just hate that home page button on the right, I'm used to have it on the left.

still needs multi-platform support
By kattanna on 1/28/2009 1:23:25 PM , Rating: 2
the single biggest dis-advantage, for us here, is that we run a mixed environment of macs and PC's. Firefox i can install company wide reducing support issues. IE, nope. heck, my win2000 workstations, which work JUST fine, are stuck on IE6, so FF3 is even more attractive for us.

By therealnickdanger on 1/28/09, Rating: -1
RE: Summary
By judasmachine on 1/28/2009 9:51:53 AM , Rating: 3
Honestly, I think that just about does it...

I'm willing to try any browser and when one suits me, I use it. Right now I am on FF3, but would gladly check out IE8, and again if it suits me, then great, if not, oh well.

RE: Summary
By Bateluer on 1/28/2009 9:56:17 AM , Rating: 2
I have no plans to switch from FF3 until FF3.1 or FF4. But, I will most likely download IE8 when its released. Will I use it for more than token use? Probably not.

I will say that my limited experience with IE8 beta on the Windows 7 beta has been mostly positive, though I've only used it for less than 20 minutes.

RE: Summary
By therealnickdanger on 1/28/2009 2:13:16 PM , Rating: 1
Wow, tough crowd.

RE: Summary
By PhoenixKnight on 1/28/2009 8:57:15 PM , Rating: 2
Bah! Links is the way to go.

By THX on 1/28/09, Rating: -1
RE: Finally...
By lakrids on 1/28/2009 10:30:03 AM , Rating: 5
acid 2 means absolutely nothing. If you're going to blame microsoft for something, blame them for taking 5 years between the releases of IE6 and IE7.

RE: Finally...
By THX on 1/28/2009 10:47:12 AM , Rating: 3
If you're a web developer CSS 2.x compliance is very important. Agreed on the 5yr gap though.

RE: Finally...
By TomZ on 1/28/2009 12:01:22 PM , Rating: 3
You might find this blog post by the IE team interesting:

Microsoft submits thousands more CSS 2.1 tests to the W3C
There is also a variety of unofficial, unsanctioned “tests” posted around the web as well. These range from quirky web pages that someone developed to show off a bug in a browser to complex degenerative web scenarios that combine CSS 2.1 properties and elements in unlikely ways. Some of these are pragmatic tests that actually demonstrate a real-world situation where there are inconsistencies across major browsers. IE8 RC1 passes all of the pragmatic “tests” we could find, although new combinations can always be developed.

I would guess that the "acid" test is actually testing a bizarre combination of things that would never exist in the real world. More important are the thousands of tests that W3C maintain that test compatibility of real-world usage of CSS.

RE: Finally...
By B3an on 1/29/2009 4:32:21 AM , Rating: 2
There is a CSS test suit here:

IE8 still does pretty poor, and even worse when running in compatibility mode.
FF3 does better but still fails quite a few.
Chrome passes them all.

I love Chrome, but the lack of proper ad blocking stops me from using it. Theres ways to still block ads, but nowhere near as well as adblock plus for FF.

I'm going to test IE8 on myspace user pages now. I find the appalling HTML and CSS used by users to make there own pages is the best test ever for testing browser stability. I'd always come across the odd one that crashed FF2, even Chrome has crashed before doing this.
A browser should be uncrashable no matter how poor a page is.

RE: Finally...
By Justin Time on 1/29/2009 5:32:16 AM , Rating: 2
IE8 does badly because it doesn't support CSS3 ? a standard that doesn't exist ??

Mozilla and Webkit are trying to get a lead by implementing ahead of the standard, and that's their prerogative.

However, CSS3 is mostly still in working draft state, and highly subject to change, so MS are just being conservative.

Hell, CSS-2.1 is not even at Proposed Recommendation status yet.

Here is what IE8 actually supports:

"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer
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