An Internet troll sits in a dark room lit by the glow of lava lamps and multiple monitors and feverishly types rants against Microsoft’s latest version of Internet Explorer. “IE sucks,” he tweets with a smirk on his face. But this troll, ironically, is an actor playing the role of an Internet Explorer hater in a Microsoft ad campaing for IE called “The Browser You Loved to Hate.”
Yes, you heard that right. Microsoft is bashing its own browser in an online video advertisement. But really, Microsoft is bashing IE trolls, painting a picture of them as mean spirited pathetic hate mongers clinging to an old stereotype of IE.
In the ad Microsoft is clearly attempting to address longstanding complaints about previous versions of Internet Explorer. Complaints in the past against IE have included: the browser is slow, buggy, crash-prone, susceptible to viruses and malware, and just generally behind the times.
That bad IE buzz has hurt Microsoft. Internet Explorer has steadily lost market share, from a peak of nearly 95 percent in 2004 to 54 percent as of October as Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome have grown more popular.
Microsoft has worked hard to improve its browser. This year Microsoft moved to an auto-upgrade policy for Internet Explorer, a policy long in place with competing browsers. In October Microsoft shipped IE10 with Windows 8 (also available on Windows 7). IE10 added a host of security, performance, and touch usability functions along with a Do Not Track feature.
In the video ad IE10's features go largely unmentioned in the video, but the campaign’s website says, “It’s good now. No, really.”
The “Browser You Loved to Hate” campaign follows on the heels of Microsoft’s attack Wednesday on Google with an ad dubbed “Scroogled.” The company accuses Google of misleading customers with the pay-to-play search result listings in Google Shopping. The ad pushes Microsoft’s own search engine, Bing, as the more honest alternative.
At the IE10 ad’s conclusion, the troll begrudgingly admits that perhaps IE10 doesn’t suck as much as expected. With such high praise, maybe Microsoft’s once-dominant browser can reclaim its former glory.