For the first time in several years I have uninstalled Firfox and am using IE8 beta 2. It is that good. Yes, they have stolen quite a few Firefox ideas but there is no doubt in my mind that it is a superior browser.
IE 8 is
outstanding compared to IE 7 -- amazing performance! -- and light years ahead of IE 6 -- performance again as well as standards compatibility. However, it still needs to do just a bit more to catch up with Firefox, Safari, and Opera with regards to standards
IE 8 is a legitimate player once again though, Despite the naysayers, who, to be blunt, have history (browser wars and the abandonment of IE 6) on their side, I have high hopes that IE 9 will achieve CSS 3 and HTML 5 compliance. That is, once those standards
get finalized. Get 'er done, W3C!
There's one nagging question that bothers me. How aggressively will Microsoft encourage users to upgrade from previous versions? If they're wishy-washy about doing that, then IE 8, as great a technical feat as it might be, will be all for naught as users
will continue to use whatever browser they're running. Microsoft likes to focus on their competitors, but, as Vista and its ongoing battle against stalwart XP demonstrated, perhaps we need to focus more on convincing people that IE8 is better than IE7 and
IE6. The biggest blocker to Vista adoption isn't Mac OS X or Linux; it's XP. IE8's most significant competition isn't Firefox; it's IE 6 and IE 7.
Admittedly, it's a nice problem most companies would love to have -- "oh no, I can't get people to upgrade to the latest version of my software, because they like using the old version." It's still a problem though since supporting multiple versions of software
is not cheap or easy and hampers the adoption of new platforms. After all, you cannot run IE 6 or 7 on Windows 7 so you better make sure people want to run IE 8 or else they won't upgrade.