Monday, March 07, 2005

IE Bye Bye: Change Your Browser, Change the World

It was about a year and a half ago when Internet Explorer started chronically wheezing, coughing, spitting and puking, before crashing. Because of that aggravation, I decided to give Opera a try. This difficulty turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as it led me away from one of those less productive reliances that persisted merely because of habit. Even though the spy ware, virus or whatever demon infecting IE had been eradicated, I've never gone back to it as my primary browser. Opera has given me fewer hassles and a multitude of advantages not available in Internet Explorer, which I'll detail in the followup to this piece.

[Buy Opera!]For the sake of your efficiency, your sanity and in consideration of superordinate ends, my aim is to encourage you to invest the small slice of time required to make the move from IE and to give Opera a full and fair shot. That I'm promoting their browser on this JonnymoOps blog is the consummate testimonial to my belief in the product.

Let me insert a disclaimer here. My thoughts are not based upon an exhaustive review of all web surfing software available. The only other browser that I have been using regularly – not to the extent that I do Opera - is the up and coming Firefox, which I recommend as another excellent alternative to IE. However, despite the fact that Firefox has achieved substantially greater market share because it's been promoted more effectively, in my opinion, when the smoke clears, it is still not the equal of Opera.

Whichever direction you decide to go, there is a greater good to be gained from saying 'IE Bye-Bye'. The key point here: The less dependent we are on Microsoft, the more competition we foster. The more competition we foster, the better off we'll all be.

Stimulated by the enticement of opportunity and the exaltation of innovation, the standard for excellence rises, and we'll all be the beneficiaries of the best products available for our digital world, as we bestow upon this developing haut monde the ultimate dignity it deserves.

The short term objective is not to destroy Microsoft, just to put a large dent in its dominance, a realistic outcome for the near future. And diminishing the importance of their browser is a logical place to start. As Rob Enderle of the Enderle Group reasons, "IE is a linchpin product. If they lose IE, they lose a lot of connected offerings ...services are now much more connected to IE than they are to the operating system. So as goes IE, so goes Microsoft." By making a minor effort, you can contribute to this changing trend and, in the process, benefit from a better web, internet and computing environment.



If you don't believe that an open, competitive context makes a difference, just consider the browser
wars. Is it any coincidence that, after Microsoft effectively dismantled the Netscape nemesis in 1998, improvements in IE slowed before coming to a standstill? Within a Wikipedia article on this topic, it is noted that, “The browser wars ended when Internet Explorer ceased to have any serious competition for its market share. This also brought an end to the rapid innovation in web browsers; there have been no new versions of Internet Explorer since version 6.0, released in 2001 (which itself was little different from version 5.5, as the main purpose of version 6.0 was to bundle it with Windows XP).”

Last, consider one of the most damaging consequences that, if it has not already, will most certainly sneak up to bite you from behind, if you conduct business as usual: Viruses. A predominant IE invites these worms, as the preceding piece points out: “ The almost universal adoption of Internet Explorer has also been a factor in the success of many mass computer attacks by computer worms, which exploit software vulnerabilities to propagate themselves. The more machines exposing a given vulnerability, the more easily a worm will propagate.”

The short answer: Change your browser, change your life, change your world. It is a bigger deal than it may look like at first glance.

In another post coming soon, I'll list my personal slate of features I've discovered that, from my perch, make Opera a superior vehicle for wending through the World Wide Web. Stay tuned.

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