"You cannot qualify war in harsher terms than I will. War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it; and those who brought war into our country deserve all the curses and maledictions a people can pour out." - William Tecumseh Sherman

Name: The General
Location: Sacramento, California, United States

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Thursday, February 17, 2005
  Let's Get Ready to Rumble!
Microsoft chairman Bill Gates has recently revealed that Microsoft would be beta-testing a new version of its web browser, Internet Explorer this summer. The following story off of TechWeb covers some of the details:
In announcing that the company would begin beta testing IE 7.0 in early summer, Microsoft chairman and chief software architect Bill Gates (news - web sites) told attendees at the RSA Conference in San Francisco Tuesday that the upgrade would include additional defenses against phishing scams, worms, viruses and spyware, but did not give any details on new capabilities.

Security concerns have been a major impetus for consumers to switch from IE to alternative browsers, with the Mozilla Foundation's open-source Firefox benefiting the most. As of January, IE market share had fallen to 92.7 percent, while Firefox's share had risen to 4.8 percent, according to JupiterResearch, a division of Jupitermedia Corp. Other browsers, such as Netscape and Opera, accounted for the rest.

But JupiterResearch analyst Joe Wilcox believes Microsoft is also concerned with reports that rivals Google Inc. and Yahoo Inc. (Nasdaq:YHOO - news) may be preparing to launch their own branded browsers. Ask Jeeves Inc., a smaller competitor in the search-engine market, has said it is in discussions with Mozilla about launching its own browser based on open-source Firefox.
As someone who both uses FireFox and prefers it to Internet Explorer, I can only say, "Hooray!" The up-coming "browser-war" that article mentions (and somewhat bemoans), will only benefit consumers. One of the reasons I really appreciate the "open-source" movement in precisely their ability to challenge commercial entities to continually innovate, in areas that they otherwise might not. This is no exception. Internet Explorer is way overdue for a rehaul and retooling. Mozilla, and it's more elegant FireFox browsers employ many cutting edge technologies that have, to put it simply, invalidated Internet Explorer (not to mention the continuous vulnerabilities it has suffered from). Hell, I've even gotten my 85 year old grandfather, who certainly doesn't know very much about computers, to switch to FireFox.

If Microsoft can bring out a browser that would supplant FireFox, I will switch, without hesistation. But for now, FireFox is my browser of choice. Competition on a free market is opposite of the competition of the jungle. As consumers, we all benefit, regardless of who produces the best product. What FireFox proves is not that Microsoft is an unconquerable, monolithic giant with "monopoly" power. It proves that quality is what ultimately wins in the marketplace, when people are free to compete with one another.
 
 POSTED BY THE GENERAL AT 2:25 AM


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