Blog Post

Slow Uptake for IE8 in Early Days

Rahul Sood, co-founder of Voodoo PC, which was acquired by Hewlett-Packard back in 2006, sent me his Macbook Air competitor PC yesterday. Since Microsoft (s msft) earlier this week released its latest version of Internet Explorer, the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. So I downloaded the brand-new IE8, only to realize that since I’ve rarely used IE 7, I have no comparison to make. I sense I’m not alone.

According to data collected by StatCounter, a web traffic measurement startup, IE 8 saw global usage the first day of launch (March 19) of 1.39 percent, rising to just 1.56 percent the next day. That strikes me as an awfully low adoption rate, especially considering that Microsoft “owns” the desktop. In comparison, Statcounter data shows that usage of Firefox 3 “more than doubled” following its launch in June of 2008, to 18.9 percent over a 3-day period from 7.8 percent at beta testing. (Track how IE 8 is doing on Statcounter web site.)

[polldaddy poll=1472777] I ended up downloading the other three competitors to Microsoft IE8 –- Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Apple’s (s aapl) Safari 4 Beta (for PC.) My informal and unscientific test showed that Google’s (s goog) Chrome was just blazingly fast and great for Google-specific products such as Google Docs, Google Mail and Google Chat. I did see one difference: The web browsing experience feels much more robust and faster on a PC vs. a Mac. Gee I wonder why that is?

28 Responses to “Slow Uptake for IE8 in Early Days”

  1. James

    IE8 is a JOKE. Google Chrome is where it’s at, people.
    However, I just don’t get the common hatred of Vista. It RULES. Windows 7 looks cool too.

  2. People who use IE are not upgrading their browser. They’re using the version that came with their computer.

    Chrome and Firefox users are downloaders and installers.

    As long as Microsoft owns the PC desktop it’ll always be that way. The only way you’re going to get people to upgrade to IE8 is to get more people to buy a new PC.

  3. Stay away from IE8 and Safari. Both were 0wn3d (hacked) in seconds at the annual Pwn2own contest at CanSecWest in Vancouver, Canada. IE8 was just released that day.

  4. I dont know about others..but atleast the reason for me is I dont know if I can uninstall it completely without hassles. Otherwise I would love to download it.

  5. Dominic

    I do not quite understand the hate that Microsoft still receives. I have had the opportunity to use OSX every day at work for the past 9 months and I use Vista at home. If you actually want some funtionality with your OS, Vista is better. I understand it may have had issues when it was released(many due to third party software that Apple does not allow), but currently, head to head, Vista is a better OS than OSX and Windows 7 looks significantly better.

    I finally had the opportunity to use IE8 this weekend and I was blown away. The accelerators were probably the biggest improvement. I do not get why everyone keeps complaining about browser speed? If you have 5 or less tabs open, there is essentially no user experience difference between browsers. All reports indicate that IE8 is the most secure browser available.I would rather be secure than infect my computer faster. Lastly, I still cannot believe Google is still getting a pass for the malware that is Chrome. Do a search about the npGoogleOneClick5.dll plugin…disturbing.

  6. I love my OS X! Safari would be perfect for me except that not everything works with it (like Stumble’s toolbar) so I had to upload Firefox. It works great too, but I’d be just as happy to stick with Safari if not for this. I started with PC and just generally hated it…crash after crash. I thought it would be hard to change to a new user interface but it took less than a day to pretty much get it all down. I’ll never go back to IE or a PC (hey that rhymes!)

    If I were to have one complaint about Apple it is that too much of its programming is geared towards selling through attached apps. If I want to buy music, I’ll buy music but don’t give me apps that don’t allow me certain features unless I register and buy from your store. It makes me feel used :D Otherwise, fruit ROCKS!

  7. Shenzhov: I know several who also feel that way: Apple is for serious computing, and Windows is for people that can’t afford “serious computing”. MS needs to do something to recapture that market. The only thing holding many young people back from converting to Apple are the prices, which are just too high. *sigh* How I wish Apple would wake up and put out a lower-priced “entry level” system.

    • Apple computers are not “too expensive” if one has the discipline to save before rushing out to buy. Have you seen those Dell prices for machines that are comparably equipped?

  8. Haven’t tried IE8, but I can only hope it will be good enough that the monster # of IE6 users will migrate to it so those of us who write code for the web can party like it’s 1999 all over again.

    Perhaps it’s just me, but FF is painfully slow to boot up on both my work PC and my Macs at home. I’m not sure my work will ever let go of IE6, so I may never get to use IE8. I have FF installed on my work PC, but I usually opt to go with the officially sanctioned IE6 because the only thing that is slower to boot than FF is PhotoShop, and that saying something. At home I do use FF for serious browsing, but if I’m in a hurry, I might fire up Safari.

    Oh, yeah…I just remembered why I hate Safari and can’t switch to Chrome…no Google toolbar. I’m addicted to page ranks and my mammoth Bookmarks folder (which is admittedly, not the best bookmark solution, but it is on the toolbar and synchs between all my computers).

    Chrome would be the one, but ah well…

    Cheers,
    Byron

    • Yuvamani

      Could not agree more.

      Firefox3 fixed performance lagginess while browsing but seems to have moved it to startup.

      As for IE users. I do not know why you use IE5 or IE6. But please please upgrade to IE8 . Pretty please ?
      Engineers & Web Designers everywhere will thank you for it …

      • What I would give to get IE6 users to upgrade…I’m working on a big website redesign now, and IE6 is the bane of my existence.

        As for Firefox starting slowly, try reducing the amount of history it keeps from 90 days to 5-10 days. This can reduce load time considerably.

  9. The statistic of Firefox 3 uptake being large in it’s initial days doesn’t work because Firefox actually automatically updates your browser for you, if you keep saying no. IE has no update mechanism other than Windows Update which can take days (usually on a monthly cycle).

    The other difference here is that the Lion’s share of Windows usage happens in the Business world, where IE happens to be the default browser of choice. These enterprises rarely update their browsers, and also restrict Windows Update from doing it for them, therefore IE does not update to the latest version.

    I use Apple, and Safari a majority of the time, but the new IE really isn’t that bad. I found it to be speedy enough for the average consumer, and integration of Web Slices/Accelerators is cool as well.

    -Rahul

  10. Shenzhov

    I’ve been using IE8 under Windows 7 Beta. It’s the typical bloated Microsoft browser. I hate it. It’s menus and tools are scattered all over the place. Microsoft can’t try and make it easy to use like Firefox or other browsers, they have to move stuff where “they” think it belongs. It boots slow and pages load slower than under Firefox.

    As for Om “getting over his thing for OS X”, I would not be too smug about thinking that OS X won’t continue to grow.

    I was in a big box store recently, Fry’s Electronics and heard several teens in the computer department making fun of Windows Computers. They said they were “Ghetto Computers, computers that poor people use to surf porn and steal music.”

    That attitude among the up and coming generation does not bode well for Microsoft and its desktop family.

  11. praveen

    Om, you are tooo biased towards apple. Firefox 3 usage doubled over a 3 day period because the user was prompted to update FF2 unlike in IE 7.

    Fruit doesn’t make better computer, it just design’s glossy overpriced computers/CE’s. If by better OS you mean restricted then you are correct.

  12. Om you really need to get over your thing for OSX, its not 50/50 and never will be even though the web2.0 crowd wishes it so. It’s a North American bi-coastal thing and a novelty OS outside that sphere/RDF.

    Don’t forget a whole planet of people technically don’t even exist or aren’t worthy of the fruit(is there an Apple store in New Delhi?).

    As far as IE8 goes it took them 2 years for IE7 to supplant IE6 in terms of marketshare. The inertia is different when you have the weight on the market on your shoulders.

    • Dude i am trying out Windows Vista for precisely those reasons so that I get a better understanding of people you use their PCs and their experience. It is my attempt at not being too tunnel visioned.

      Fruit, just makes better computers and an OS that is better :-)

  13. Marcos Garcia

    I know a few people who really like IE. They download updates (?) and new versions of it. But the most common user doesn’t bother about it. He has a browser, it’s functional and it surfs everywhere he needs. Why should he bother to download a new version? Security? Pff. “I’ll never fall in a trap, I only visit trustworth sites live myspace.com or orkut.com.” We know FireFox is way better and customizable, Chrome is faster and Safari is prettier. But for common browsing, your pre-installed IE will do just fine.