They called it a beta because it is not ready, it is not perfect, and they needed the feedback – definitely, Microsoft got smarter in generating good will from the tech media reviewers. So far, the new browser has been welcomed with positive criticism, and in-depth reviews have already been published by PCMag, InformationWeek and others. Even the official beta launch, this Wednesday, was an event. The journalists were entertained by a live band, which, according to InformationWeek, was quite good.
The reviewers agree that IE9 puts Microsoft ahead of its competitors in the browser race, but conclude that the lead will not last long, since both Firefox and Chrome have the ability to add hardware acceleration in mainstream releases soon enough.
But the positive reviews are enough to give Microsoft the PR boost needed to attract new users. Besides, since IE 9 is a beta, it’s only logical that the company will add more features as soon as Google and Mozilla try to counter IE’s technological superiority with new releases. “We still have a few more things up our sleeve,” Dean Hachamovitch, the IE team leader, told Michael Muchmore.
IE 9 only runs on Vista and Windows 7 – another strategic move by Microsoft. The company hopes that the new browser will determine XP users to upgrade their systems. But analysts doubt that the move will have the desired impact: “I doubt enterprises will upgrade specifically because of IE 9,” IDC PC analyst Tom Mainelli told PCWorld via e-mail. “The fact that there’s no hard ship date doesn’t help. However, IE 9 could eventually add fuel to the fire of the current corporate refresh that we expect to continue through next year.”
Regardless, this is the first time a Microsoft product is welcomed without much backlash from the specialty media, which could mean that Microsoft’s marketing strategy has improved, and so has its PR strategy. Waggener Edstrom is the PR firm for Microsoft.