The Real Firefox-Killer
Firefox fans will be facing 2007 with more tranquillity than they did 2006. A year ago, it was clear that Firefox's free ride was about to end: after an astonishing five years of inactivity, Microsoft was finally launching an updated version of Internet Explorer. There seems little doubt that much of Firefox's success is down to the fact that Internet Explorer was so bad, both in terms of the eternal round of security problems and its general technical tiredness (half a decade is a very long time in computing.)
Potentially, them, the appearance of Internet Explorer 7 could have marked the high-water point for Firefox, as the Microsoft machine went into overdrive and began clawing back the market share it had lost since Firefox's arrival. But when the final version of Internet Explorer 7 appeared in October last year, the verdict was almost unanimous: it was not a Firefox-killer. To be sure, it was much better than IE6, but that had set the bar pretty low. Aside from offering tabs and a few much-needed security enhancements, IE7 was definitely in the ho-hum category. Firefox seemed safe for at least another year or two.
It is not. For the real challenger comes not from Microsoft directly; instead, it's from a new browser that uses IE's rendering engine, Trident.