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Microsoft Updates: IE 7

All you Microsoft critics out there, face it: Microsoft has been successful in making its applications the de-facto standard for much day-to-day work. Not that I disagree with the critics; they are very much justified in calling Microsoft the copycat it is. First came the concept of the Graphical User Interface and the option of a mouse, which the Microsoft conveniently ripped off from Apple's Macintosh. After that came the concept of web browsers. Netscape was unarguably the King in browsing history. King, that is, until Windows 95 Second Edition came out. Windows conveniently started bundling Internet Explorer with Windows 95. And not-so-surprisingly, the looks and buttons of IE looked a lot like Netscape. Overcome with nostalgia, some people continued using Netscape for a few years. But soon, no one bothered to load a second browser when one already existed, and Netscape gradually faded from our memories. Then came Sun's Java. Microsoft started packaging Internet Explorer with Microsoft Virtual Machine, a pretty good replica of the existing Java. Sun Microsystems filed a case against Microsoft and unlike previous battles with Apple and Netscape, Microsoft lost this one to Sun; hence now we're back to downloading Sun Java separately for Internet Explorer.

And then came Firefox. Firefox is a free open-source browser. Meaning, the code of which is freely available on the net. If you have some contributions to make you can add/modify the code and submit it to them. If Mozilla likes it, they'll implement it. In fact, this was how Firefox was created in the first place, with the help of developers around the world, sitting at home. As a result Firefox became a very simple, easy-to-use, no-strings-attached, user-oriented browser. (Some of its concepts, like tabbed browsing, already existed though, in browsers like Opera.) Apparently, Firefox became very popular in a very short span of time. And Microsoft, good as it is in copying, has now implemented Firefox's design in its new Internet Explorer, version 7.
The Older IE 6:
Firefox:
The New IE7 (beta 2):
(The Pros:) In IE7, Microsoft has done away with the BIG buttons and needless toolbars replacing them with more subtle smaller (and fewer) buttons to maximize the page-view window. Now, like Firefox, we just have a back, forward, stop and refresh button along with the address bar in the same line. IE has even copied the idea of having a search bar next to the address bar. Unfortunately, since IE is NOT open-source, not too many different search plugins exist and, unlike Firefox, I have not been able to find search plugins for ebay.in (not ebay.com), download.com, dictionary.com, thesaurus.com , answers.com, images.google.com , etc, etc. Like Firefox (again!), IE 7 supports tabbed browsing and live feeds.
(The Cons:) Microsoft has removed the menu bar (file, edit, view...) from the default layout. Though you can enable this back, it appears below the standard toolbar (back, forward, stop), a positioning I find very awkward. Also, back and forward are on one side of the address bar, stop and refresh are on the other. Unfortunately for Mr. Gates, it is going to take more than just copying Firefox to make me switch to IE.
Currently, Microsoft has only released the beta 2 version of IE7 which can be downloaded HERE. Firefox, as usual, is available HERE.

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