It's time for Microsoft to kill Internet Explorer. It has to be done quickly, before it's too late to rebound. The browser is bleeding market share in a way that a new version alone cannot stop. It's time for the company to rethink the browser and come at it from a fresh perspective. Microsoft needs a new browser, not a new version of an existing one.
Mind you, I'm not arguing that Microsoft should get out of the browser game. I still think the software giant has a lot to offer. Features like WebSlices and InPrivate are nice advances, and Microsoft has been at the forefront of anti-phishing technology. I'm just saying that continually creating new versions of Internet Explorer is not the way to go.
IE is in a terrible market share slide, and a new version isn't going to solve anything. Wikipedia averages out IE's market share to 62.69% as of December 2009. It's losing about one percent a month. Here at PCWorld.com, IE accounts for only 43.9% of browsers visiting the site - it's still ahead of any other one browser, but Firefox, Chrome, and Safari combined account for 53.7% of our visitors. IE is losing a percentage point every month worldwide, and that's just the start. There will come a tipping point where that loss will accelerate, and simply kicking out a new and shiny IE9 isn't going to stop the slide. After several years of lackluster versions, the IE name is now poison. It's time for a new browser with a new name.
Certainly, Microsoft is cooking up some good tech for IE 9. This video on Channel 9 showcases some of it. Drawing the browser window with Direct2D for perfect font rendering and smoother web apps? That's pretty cool! Unfortunately, nobody will care about these things if the browser doesn't become something much more than what it is today.
On the following pages are six ways Microsoft can revive its browser business.