THE DARK SATANIC RUMOUR MILL has manufactured a whisper that Microsoft is planning to kill off its much loved and hated Internet Explorer browser.
The rumour was sparked by this article on InfoWorld and claims that IE8 will be the last version of the browser.
The story is based on things what a hack "heard on the grapevine" which is a snootier way of saying, "a fat bloke down the pub said".
Clearly the Vole will still need a browser to fulfil its glorious Web-based plans for global domination, but it seems that Internet Exploder is starting to show its age, however well dressed it has been getting.
The question is, what will the Vole be looking for next? Some have suggested WebKit which is being seen under the bonnet of the Safari Browser and Google Chrome. Our guess is that the people who are suggesting this are Apple fans because the article suggests that Safari is popular when it is leagues behind others in the market.
Infoworld claims that it has be become the de facto standard for anything that is not IE or Firefox. It begs the question why the hell would Microsoft leave IE for something that lags IE or Firefox?
What is more likely is that the Vole will come up with something different. Given that it has time – IE8 has not even come out yet – it is likely it will use the mysterious browser being hatched by the boffins in its research division called Gazelle.
Last week Volish boffins released a paper on Gazelle which makes it look a lot more interesting than Safari.
Basically it is a browser that is constructed to act like an operating system with the browser kernel exclusively protecting resources and sharing across Web sites. This may make it a lot more secure and can handle more dynamic web pages.
Currently the boffins have not got it to work well yet. While it managed the top Web pages, its performance on Internet esoterica was a bit patchy.
The Mighty Vole has a few other problems if it wants to kill off IE. The first is the awful lot of investment some outfits have put into Active X. The other is that too much of the Web was tweaked to handle IE 6 and there would be some difficult HTML problems for any new browser.
When Microsoft tried to bring in more standards in IE, many webmasters tore out their hair and stamped on their rabbits. There is also a lot of code out there which is based on IE's engine.
In short, the poor Vole is a victim of its own success and, even if it wants to kill off Internet Exploder, it could find it a hard habit to break. µ