Et tu, Microsoft?

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Photo: JLMitch, Flickr

If you weren’t cautious about it already, Microsoft opted to launch Internet Explorer 9 on the Ides of March, of all days.

Ironic, after Microsoft (Brutus) made IE the default browser on Windows to take down (stab in the back) Netscape (Caesar) to rule the Web (Rome).

But like Rome after Julius Caesar, Microsoft has found that staying on top isn’t all that easy. Years of sitting on its hands has allowed Firefox, Chrome and Safari (Visigoths) to come and tear down the mighty empire Microsoft once ruled. Now, according to some surveys, Microsoft controls less than 50% of the browser market.

Microsoft’s last-gasp effort (the Gothic War) to save face (the republic) is IE9, by far the biggest upgrade the company has ever given to its browser. With hardware acceleration, enhanced privacy controls and a vastly improved user interface, IE9 isn’t just better than IE8, it’s actually usable.

Only, it might not be enough. Other browsers, which have had those capabilities for quite some time, are rapidly gaining popularity. And in just a few weeks, Microsoft’s biggest competitor, Firefox (the Vandals), is coming out with version 4. Firefox 4 does all the things that IE9 does — only it’s also compatible with Windows XP.

Incompatibility with XP might be IE9’s fatal flaw (orgies). After all, that means it won’t work on the operating system that still runs on 55% of the world’s computers. It’s not a bad idea to give those folks incentive to upgrade too, considering one in eight computers still use IE6 (partying like it’s 99).

The browser wars are most certainly back, and it will be fascinating to see who comes out on top (Islamic conquests). But if it’s not Microsoft, it’s not like it shouldn’t have seen it coming.

Remember March, the ides of March remember, Microsoft. -David

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