There were several important updates on the browser front this week, from Mozilla, Microsoft and Google. From where I sit, there is very healthy competition going on in the browser market right now, and if you’re a web worker who favors only one browser, there may soon be some prompts for you to switch or mix up your usage.
Die-hard Internet Explorer users will have to wait until 2009 for a final version of Internet Explorer 8, Microsoft confirmed. There won’t even be another release candidate until the first quarter. It offers malware protection and other improvements, but is taking a relatively long time in development.
Meanwhile, Google has confirmed that it will deliver Mac and Linux versions of the open source Chrome browser in the first half of next year. The company has also confirmed plans to strike deals with OEMs to put Chrome on new computers as the default browser. We discussed both pieces of news on OStatic today. The move to make Chrome the default browser on new computers is particularly significant. That’s how Internet Explorer gained its dominance.
Mozilla’s Mitchell Baker delivered a post this week in which she discussed Mozilla’s financial position, which is key to keeping Firefox popular. Google, of course, provides massive funding for Firefox, and that arrangement is in place through 2011. However, eWeek is predicting that Firefox won’t survive the proliferation of Google Chrome, because Google won’t continue to support a competing open source product.
Still, we haven’t seen so much competition and innovation going on in browsers in a long time. We’re definitely going to see this stepped up as we move into 2009.