Internet Explorer 9 puts spotlight on website features

Microsoft on Wednesday released a lean, muscular new Internet Explorer crafted to spotlight slick websites and beat back competition from Firefox and Google in the Web browser arena.

"The browser is the stage and the websites are the stars of the show," corporate vice president of Internet Explorer Dean Hachamovitch told AFP.

"Microsoft has over a billion Windows customers," Hachamovitch said of the software giant's ubiquitous computer operating system. "We want the browsing experience on Windows to be great."

The test, or beta, version of Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) made its public debut with theatrical flare at the San Francisco Design Center Concourse.

IE 9 taps into more of the processing power in computers, especially the capabilities of graphics chips that excel at seamlessly rendering videos or videogame action.

"IE9 is using more of your personal computer," Hachamovitch explained.

More than 70 partners including Amazon, Twitter, MySpace, Hulu, and Yahoo! are capitalizing on IE9 with faster, richer features at websites.

"We think that sites should be the most important part of the browser," Hachamovitch said. "This is actually the beauty of the Web. The real celebration is around the websites and what the partners have done."

While Microsoft doesn't charge separately for IE, the browser is included with Windows software and it is in the technology giant's interest to keep users happy and devoted to its products.

"As long as there is a browser built into Windows, Microsoft wants it to be as good as possible," said analyst Matt Rosoff of independent firm Directions On Microsoft. "It is also a platform play; as IE goes so goes the Windows platform."

IE has been losing ground in the browser market during the past five years, with its share of the market dropping from more than 85 percent in late 2005 to about 60 percent in August of this year, according to industry statistics.

The new browser lets people "pin" websites or applications to a tool bar at the base.

Once a website is reached, the browser seems to step out of the way and almost vanish to spotlight the content.

Alternative hip-hop band Gorillaz used IE9 to infuse its website with HTML5 audio and video as well as computer games.

Business Architects built a graceful touchscreen Japanese calligraphy program into its website combining IE9 with the latest Windows 7 operating system.

Developers at software firm Cynergy showed off a computer game in which moths flitting about the screen had to be lassoed with circles quickly drawn using the cursor.

"In IE8 you would never have had the native hardware acceleration to move pixels around the screen fast enough to do this," said Tim Sneath, who runs Windows and Web evangelism for Microsoft.

A Rough Guides travel website lets visitors flip through Flickr photos from destinations, move content about like virtual Post-It notes and dig into topics at will.

"It feels genuine," Hachamovitch said while showing off the site. "This is what developers couldn't do before."

Open-source browser Firefox had been gnawing away at IE's dominance, but that eased as a new rival arrived in the form of Chrome by Internet titan Google.

Chrome's share of the browser market has grown to slightly more than seven percent since the initial version of the software was released in September 2008, according to recent figures from Net Applications.

"Google Chrome has gone from zero to not much less than 10 percent pretty quickly," Rosoff said. "Google is one of Microsoft's archrivals and they can't like to see Google gaining share there."

Firefox remained the second most popular browser with just shy of 23 percent of the market, but its share has ebbed in recent months, according to Net Applications.

"Once people stop using IE and use a different browser they might stop and ask themselves why they are using Windows," Rosoff said. "It could be the same with developers designing websites."

Microsoft seems to have hit the mark with IE9, according to the analyst.

"It looks like they are taking a smart approach, which is to take you where you want to go and then get out of the way and fade into the background," Rosoff said.

Arts and Entertainment
books
Voices
Caustic she may be, but Joan Rivers is a feminist hero, whether she likes it or not
voicesShe's an inspiration, whether she likes it or not, says Ellen E Jones
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Sport
Diego Costa
footballEverton 3 Chelsea 6: Diego Costa double has manager purring
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Life and Style
3D printed bump keys can access almost any lock
techSoftware needs photo of lock and not much more
Arts and Entertainment
The 'three chords and the truth gal' performing at the Cornbury Music Festival, Oxford, earlier this summer
music... so how did she become country music's hottest new star?
Life and Style
The spy mistress-general: A lecturer in nutritional therapy in her modern life, Heather Rosa favours a Byzantine look topped off with a squid and a schooner
fashionEurope's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln
News
Dr Alice Roberts in front of a
peopleAlice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Star turns: Montacute House
tv
News
i100Steve Carell selling chicken, Tina Fey selling saving accounts and Steve Colbert selling, um...
Arts and Entertainment
Unsettling perspective: Iraq gave Turner a subject and a voice (stock photo)
booksBrian Turner's new book goes back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
News
The Digicub app, for young fans
advertisingNSPCC 'extremely concerned'
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Some of the key words and phrases to remember
booksA user's guide to weasel words
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Senior Data Scientist (Data Mining, RSPSS, R, AI, CPLEX, SQL)

    £60000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Senior Data Sc...

    Junior VB.NET Application Developer (ASP.NET, SQL, Graduate)

    £28000 - £30000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Junior VB.NET ...

    C# .NET Web Developer (ASP.NET, JavaScript, jQuery, XML, XLST)

    £40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Web De...

    C# Algo-Developer (BDD/TDD, ASP.NET, JavaScript, RX)

    £45000 - £69999 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Algo-Develo...

    Day In a Page

    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
    The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

    The model for a gadget launch

    Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
    Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
    Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

    Get well soon, Joan Rivers

    She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
    Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

    A fresh take on an old foe

    Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
    Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

    Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

    As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
    Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

    Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

    ... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
    Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

    Europe's biggest steampunk convention

    Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
    Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

    Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

    Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
    Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

    Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

    The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor
    She's dark, sarcastic, and bashes life in Nowheresville ... so how did Kacey Musgraves become country music's hottest new star?

    Kacey Musgraves: Nashville's hottest new star

    The singer has two Grammys for her first album under her belt and her celebrity fans include Willie Nelson, Ryan Adams and Katy Perry
    American soldier-poet Brian Turner reveals the enduring turmoil that inspired his memoir

    Soldier-poet Brian Turner on his new memoir

    James Kidd meets the prize-winning writer, whose new memoir takes him back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
    Aston Villa vs Hull match preview: Villa were not surprised that Ron Vlaar was a World Cup star

    Villa were not surprised that Vlaar was a World Cup star

    Andi Weimann reveals just how good his Dutch teammate really is
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef ekes out his holiday in Italy with divine, simple salads

    Bill Granger's simple Italian salads

    Our chef presents his own version of Italian dishes, taking in the flavours and produce that inspired him while he was in the country
    The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

    The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

    If supporters begin to close bank accounts, switch broadband suppliers or shun satellite sales, their voices will be heard. It’s time for revolution