IE 8.1 Leaks, Microsoft Cozies Up to Firefox

By  |  Tuesday, March 31, 2009 at 9:39 am

Internet Explorer Logo[UPDATE FROM HARRY: Smashing Magazine–which I like–has a wacky sense of humor. And maybe it’s April Fools Day where it is, or close enough.]

Builds of IE 8.1 have leaked out into the wild, and while it is not going to be a release that users will notice much difference visually, underneath the hood significant changes have been made which will enhance the user experience.

Security is a big focus with this point release. The SmartScreen and Cross-site scripting filters are improved greatly. Whereas IE 8 successfully caught on average 75% of all occurences of malware and phishing, IE 8.1 has increased that to 96%.

The browser also adheres to web standards better than its predecessor, scoring a 71 out of 100 in the Acid3 test. For what its worth, my Firefox 3 browser on Mac also scores a 71 out of 100. So the two browsers appear now to be at parity.

JavaScript has been improved, and will load faster. In addition, a user will be able to select multiple browser engines from which to render pages from, which would be useful to not only the developer but the user as well when a page seems to not work correctly.

Other features include functionality that allows the user to replace a sites CSS style sheet with a custom one for better readability, and a server-side code decompiler. As you can see, quite a bit for both the developer and consumer to show on.

However, probably the most exciting new feature in IE 8.1 is the support for Firefox Extensions. Yep, you heard that right. While Microsoft warns that not all plugins will work, many do so flawlessly. This is definitely a shot across the bow of Mozilla, and it will be interesting to see how they respond.

(Hat tip: Smashing Magazine)



10 Comments For This Post

  1. Ari Says:

    yeah right… we’re starting a day early now?

  2. Matt Cutts Says:

    You didn’t really emphasize the server-side code decompiler. That’s a feature that no other browser has been able to offer, since server-side code is never seen by the web browser. In my mind, that’s what really sets this browser apart.

  3. Ed Bott Says:

    Microsoft confirms this story is a hoax. And a pretty lame one, too.

    You did read the bio of the author at Smashing Magazine?

    About the Author

    Jacob Gube is a professional contemporary dancer for the New York City Dance Company. An avid Steve Jobs follower(/stalker)*, you can find him in the local Star Bucks with his Mac Book Air developing .NET applications. Follow him on Twitter… if you really must.

  4. BorgataHotels Says:

    Now this is going to be a really cool competition! MS have taked out his blogs.

  5. Ed Oswald Says:

    Ed, you have no sense of humor.

  6. Ed Bott Says:

    Uh, Ed, you mean you actually published this on March 31 knowing that it was an April Fools’ joke? FAIL.

  7. Tim Says:


  8. Ed Oswald Says:

    Oh Ed, always wound so tight 🙂

  9. Ed Bott Says:

    I usually take April Fools Day off completely to avoid this stuff. I guess next year I have to take off March 31 and April 1. Prfetty soon it’s gonna be like Christmas, with April Fools season running from the Ides of March to Derby Day.

    Obligatory smiley face here. 😉

  10. David Worthington Says:

    Oh, now I get it!