Friday, October 20, 2006

New IE Web Browser

Today's WSJ reported that Microsoft is releasing a new version of its web browser. Its no surprise that a company like Microsoft is slow to introduce new products--they have significant monopoly on the operating system because of the strong network effects of the software. Why are they wasting their time with IE unless it has an exclusive built in search bar for the MSN network? Good question, and the answer may be that they didn't spend much time at all. Having a search tool bar drives traffic to a search website and MSFT has lost out on this potential benefit with the old IE, most of which run with the Google or Yahoo add-in. Monopolistic behavior may be an issue in the courts if they stack IE (and Vista, which works with Netflix login) with MSN search, but with more browsers on the market, the arguement has less substance.

Why even bother with a new browser if you can't monetize it?
No doubt MSFT has contemplated this question and figured it out--the result is a weak browser.

In my view, a Google browser is on the way.

Microsoft UpgradesInternet Explorer -- But Not Much Is New
"Microsoft's Internet Explorer Web browser is one of the most-used software products in the world. It is the main tool through which most computer users view the entire Internet. But IE hasn't had a significant overhaul in five long years. That has allowed competitors like Mozilla's Firefox and Apple's Safari to leap ahead in terms of features. In fact, many of the savviest Web users have abandoned IE in recent years, partly because of the growing feature gap and partly because of IE's persistent security problems."