Your server logs are sprouting some new entries.
In the last week Microsoft released the beta version of its Internet Explorer 5.0 browser, while Netscape (an AOL shop) is expected to respond soon with Version 5.0 of its Communicator.
I’ve downloaded Explorer, which will ship with Windows 2000. While I’ve heard of some Windows 95 users having trouble with it, I haven’t been one of them. I can also say that Explorer 5.0 is FAST, especially compared to Communicator 4.0. (It remains my default because I’ve grown accustomed to its e-mail.)
If my empirical research means anything, Explorer 5.0 users will see your complex content much faster than users with other browsers. As this version gains share, the Net will speed up, with or without broadband.
A few years ago, millions of users hungered for new browser features, and supporting new browser features was important to many Web sites. While there are still millions of early adopters (it took me a weekend to get Explorer because of the crowds) they now represent a smaller part of the whole.
Still, the browsers in the hands of users do help determine what kinds of services you can provide. Until most browsers were Java-capable, Java applets were lost on much of the market. Some ad servers are still reluctant to fully utilize Java because it’s still not universal.
The “browser wars” are also more widely ignored today because Microsoft won them. Positive Support Review Inc., a Santa Monica, California management consultant, has been studying browser use for the last year, and its figures show Microsoft with a fairly consistent 60% share of the market, against 30% for Netscape.
What does this mean? It means that as Explorer 5.0 becomes the dominant browser, as you can expect it will, you’ll be able to provide more complex pages to users, even those who still connect via modem.
Are you ready to roll out more complex pages and Java scripts for Explorer 5.0?
What do you think? Let’s talk about it.