Microsoft Releases Internet Explorer 9, Improves Performance & Security

Internet Explorer IE 9

Internet Explorer IE 9Microsoft has just released the latest version of Internet Explorer, version 9. IE 9 is a major release with significant improvements but still has some issues that Microsoft needs to tackle if it wants to continue competing with the likes of Google, Mozilla and even Apple.

What’s New
Performance: IE 9 is a major overhaul whose performance especially in the JavaScript rendering arena is now more on par with current products such as Google’s Chrome. This will naturally improve the responsiveness of JavaScript-heavy Web 2.0 sites.

Look and Fee: IE9 has also been redesigned to be more lightweight a la Chrome with more emphasis on the websites being displayed instead of the browser’s menus and buttons.

Security: IE9 has new security features such as the TPL (Trusted Protection List) that allow you to opt into 3rd-party lists to block tracking mechanisms of certain websites. And there is also the ability to block ActiveX controls.

What’s Missing
Platform Availability: IE9 is only available for Windows, no Linux or Mac versions, and worse yet it only works on Vista and Windows 7. That means that the 55% of Windows users who are running XP are out of luck.

Standards: Although much improved, with support HTML5, plug-in audio and video and SVG graphics, IE9 still has issues with standards specs due to Microsoft’s approach which is to include standards where they feel there is a low probability of that spec being changed. For example, a look at the HTML5 test suite results will show that IE9 doesn’t score as well as other current browsers.

Reaction on the Web is mixed, and everything will change again when the highly anticipated Firefox 4 is released.

While ARS Technica rated IE9 very highly, even they acknowledge that Microsoft is going to have a hard time reclaiming users who have jumped ship.

And ZDNet’s sjvn gives 5 big reasons not to bother, but stick to Chrome/Firefox/Safari.

What do you think? Are you going to give IE9 a spin? Tell us in the comments below.