IE: Favored over Firefox?

I came across this review and comparison of Internet Explorer and Firefox, on occasion of Firefox 3 being launched.

The review starts off by asking whether Firefox can displace IE as “the browser of choice”, and concludes by claiming that it does not. After describing for over the majority of the write-up the features that give Firefox a definite advantage over IE, it argues that Firefox lags in performance. Here goes:

Reviewers opened a few really graphics-intensive sites in both browsers. And what is more graphics-intensive then sites aimed at children? Time to load was tested in both browsers for Disney’s Web site, and the Nickelodeon channel’s site. Opening http://www.nick.com, IE took 10 seconds to fully load, Mozilla took 20. Loading the home page for Disney.com; IE was 21 seconds to load and Mozilla was 46 seconds.

The browsers were also tested against http://www.papervision3d.org/, a site that uses Adobe (NSDQ:ADBE)’s Flashplayer. IE 8 had no problems loading and navigating through the site. Mozilla took almost a minute to load and then continuously froze while navigating. The application eventually crashed. In the business environment, performance of a browser usually has an edge over features and customizations, especially since users are usually limited by usage policy as to what they can or can’t do in a browser anyway. If performance issues consist with Firefox, it will probably not be feasible for most businesses to migrate from IE which come bundled with the OS anyway.

Hm. Two issues, I have with this report.

1. Browser of choice? Hm… I wonder. As the writer says, IE comes bundled with the OS (MS Windows), and I’d say Firefox is the browser of choice only for those who are computer savvy enough to make that choice. For the rest, Internet Explorer is often the de-facto vehicle to the internet, and in some extreme cases even “the button that takes you to the internet”. Would you call that ‘choice’?

2. Firefox is inferior to IE when it comes to pages with Flash content, and high graphics content. Fine. How exactly does it make Firefox lower in performance? I’d heard flash content is actually suppressed in a lot of places where bandwidth is an issue. More, how many businesses use content where Flash is critical? Pages with large graphics content… for businesses? The author herself says childrens’ pages use the most graphics, doesn’t she?

Finally, this same report confirms that Firefox is better against malware and viruses, and even integrates with the anti-virus in Windows Vista to contain viruses in downloads. Don’t these qualities make it better suited for businesses?

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