Questionable Microsoft Chart proclaims IE8 is the fastest browser

Posted on March 12, 2009. Filed under: Internet, Microsoft | Tags: , , |

By Lee Mathews, Downloadsquad

There have been a lot of speed claims lately when it comes to web browsers – when Apple released Safari 4, I put half a dozen options through the paces to see who came out on top. IE8 didn’t appear in my chart, because it handled the benchmarks so badly that I canceled them before its javascript engine seized up completely and cracked the block.shinola

“Hey, wait just a gosh darn minute!” shouts Microsoft. “We ran our own tests, and they showed that our browser is the fastest!” On a related note, I’ve done my own testing that conclusively proves that I am, in fact, the all time leading goal scorer for the Detroit Red Wings. Sorry, Gordie Howe!

But really. Come on, Microsoft, are we supposed to take this seriously or is this some halfhearted attempt at humor like the recent news about Firefox conquering one entire continent (Antarctica)?

Put simply, IE8 is a dog. What kind of dog? A very slow, old dog. Though apparently one that manages to squeak out enough decent load times on a particular bunch of websites for Microsoft to sneak a chart in at the end of a 14-page report showing it to be the browser speed king.

Let’s take a look at the sites Microsoft chose to include in the report: Google, Yahoo, AOL, Facebook, Ask, Mozilla, Blogger. None of these are really giving the browsers a workout, espsecially if it’s only the landing pages that were being tested. How much time do you spend on Facebook’s intial page when you visit? Barely any, I’ll wager. It’s just not a compelling way to measure how fast a browser is or isn’t.

Try it yourself and give your browser a challenge. Send it to a more intense site like Compfight or, and the difference is obvious: IE8 is simply outmatched when it comes to the heavy lifting.

There are things that IE8 does well, and Microsoft should be emphasizing them better – rather than pointing to internal tests and singing drunken choruses of We are the Champions.

I’m sorry, Microsoft, but I can tell the difference between shine-ola and the other stuff, and I think our readers can, too. If you’d like a bigger whiff of the report, you’ll find it in the MS Download Center.


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