Browser competition hasn't been this fierce since the mid-1990s, and the fight is becoming even more intense as Microsoft, Mozilla, and Opera ready new versions of their software for release.
With version 7 of Internet Explorer, Microsoft's developers have seriously overhauled the browser, giving it popular features such as tabbed browsing, as well as improved security, thus closing the gap between it and its rivals. But even though the new iterations of both Firefox and Opera bring mostly incremental changes, that's still enough to keep them ahead of IE.
We took Internet Explorer 7 Beta 1, Firefox 1.5 Release Candidate 1, and Opera 9 Preview 1 out for a spin. Both the Firefox beta and the Opera beta are available for download, although Opera isn't publicizing this early testing version; the browsers' final editions should be out around the time you read this. On the other hand, the IE 7 beta will not be available for downloading until early next year.