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Mozilla developer: IE9 is "two years too late"


By Nicole Kobie

Posted on 16 Feb 2011 at 08:57

A Mozilla developer has slammed Microsoft's claims that Internet Explorer 9 is a modern browser, saying it's two years too late.

Microsoft last week unleashed the release candidate for Internet Explorer 9, pipping Mozilla to the finish line, with Firefox 4 still in beta.

Paul Rouget, a Mozilla evangelist, took to his personal blog to question Microsoft's claims that IE9 has good support for HTML5.

IE9 is definitely better than IE8 and a step in the right direction

"IE9 is definitely better than IE8 and a step in the right direction, but I don't believe it to be a truly modern browser," he wrote.

Noting Microsoft's claim of 99% HTML5 support and 100% CSS3 compatibility, Rouget questioned the use of W3C tests and in-house IE9 tests as evidence. He said in-house tests are used to check for bugs in new versions, not to test standards compliance, and the W3C has warned against reading too much into its tests, which are still in the early stages.

Rouget turned to and, which showed IE9 at 61% to Firefox 4's 87%, and 130 to Firefox's 255, respectively. He didn't note Google Chrome's scores: 88% and 255 out of 300.

He also listed several aspects of HTML5 and CSS3 that IE9 doesn't support, including forms and WebGL.

"The reality is that IE9 is two years late," he said. "Microsoft is glad to come out with the video tag, the canvas tag, SVG, and some CSS3. Like other vendors did years ago. Firefox 3.5 had the video tag, the canvas tag, geolocation, SVG in 2009. Canvas and SVG existed five years ago."

Microsoft's web product manager, Paul Quirk, told PC Pro last week that the company is only implementing parts of the HTML5 specification that it is certain won't be altered at a later stage. The World Wide Web Consortium said yesterday that it didn't expect the HTML5 specification to be approved until 2014.

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User comments

@Nicole Kobie

I don't know if its meant to be or not, but the link leads back to pcpro's own website!!!

otherwise i also believe ie is joining the race a bit too late, but considering they have improved it a lot since ie8, i have been using ie9 beta, and it did look/feel up to date!!!, one thing i think i like about Mozilla though is the easiness of installing apps for it (namely noscript), and the look of it, have been using MF 4.0 beta, its very good also, compare with ie9, it has a bit better layout...

By mobilegnet on 16 Feb 2011

I'm no IE advocate but give them credit for what is actually a solid browser. The hardware acceleration is amazing and a real 'Why did anybody else think of that' moment.

As stated at the end too, none of them should really be banging the drum about HTML5/CSS3 support until both are ratified in a few years. Although that doesn't stop me using both today :)

By onegin101 on 16 Feb 2011

@Nicole Kobie - I thought FF4 looked like Opera with an orange button ;)

By onegin101 on 16 Feb 2011

my MF 4.0 beta 11 scored 207 plus 9 bonus point out of 300
not really close to the 255, hmm

By mobilegnet on 16 Feb 2011

I think the underlying problem here is twofold.
Firstly that the w3c specs are not complete and consequently no comprehensive test suit - without these, any claims as to who supports what are not on solid ground.
Secondly what is and isn't HTML5 seems to have become very murky. The test site's mentioned by Rouget contain tests that are not part of HTML5. The easy one to pick out is the testing of certain video formats.

By WhiskyFudge on 16 Feb 2011

If a standard is yet to be ratified, how can anyone claim to be compatible with it more than someone else?

This quote sums it all up:
Paul Quirk, told PC Pro last week that the company is only implementing parts of the HTML5 specification that it is certain won't be altered at a later stage.

Until it's been ratified, these types of things are going to happen and therefore compatibility tests with the standard are a waste of time.

By a_byrne22 on 16 Feb 2011

Browser Versions and their scores...

Chrome 9.0.597.98 =>242
Firefox 3.6 =>139
Firefox 4 b11 =>207
IE 9.0.7930.16406 =>96
IE 9.0.8080.16413 =>116
Opera 11.01 =>177
Safari 5 Win =>207

(Not sure the formatting will work)

By onegin101 on 16 Feb 2011

IE Mobile (WP7)

scored 12! (I'm so sorry WP7, I love you still)

By onegin101 on 16 Feb 2011

Thanks mobilegnet -- fixed that!

By Nicole_Kobie on 16 Feb 2011

IE Mobile (WP7)

scored 12! (I'm so sorry WP7, I love you still)

By onegin101 on 16 Feb 2011

IE Mobile (WP7)

scored 12! (I'm so sorry WP7, I love you still)

By onegin101 on 16 Feb 2011

2 Years Late!

I look forward to Firefox Beta 24 of whatever it's upto now.

By JStairmand on 16 Feb 2011


I have the same version and the html5test site caused my copy of Chrome to crash.

By tirons1 on 16 Feb 2011

Look like a bug in WP7

Multiple posts from our WP7 user - he obviously has a bug in his system!

By SwissMac on 16 Feb 2011

Sorry! Opera threw a wobbly! :) There's a first time for everything. And then a second, and a third...

By onegin101 on 16 Feb 2011

good use of screen space

I'm not up on all the techno-whiz bits and bytes, I just see that with IE9 using F11 full-screen I can still access my favourites across the top of the screen - Firefox 4.0 does not. And when I'm not in full screen I only lose the top two bars of vertical screen space, whereas its three with Firefox 4.
So cunning use of vertical screenspace from IE9 - and with the current fad for widescreens and tall websites vertical screen space is at a premium.

By martindaler on 16 Feb 2011

@ Swissmac

Yeah cos the iPhone doesn't have, never has had and never will have bugs will it?

By everton2004 on 16 Feb 2011

Unratified Standards

I seem to remember vendors were selling 802.11n wireless kits several years before IEEE ratified the standard.

And as things stand, W3C are more likely to ratify stuff that becomes the de-facto standard in the next few years.

By Penfolduk01 on 16 Feb 2011

Testing the RC now

I have lots of problems on popular sites like Yahoo and ebay. The Yahoo page likes to crash a lot. I can't leave feedback on ebay. On many sites fonts are small and I don't know if I should change the size for making other sites too large.

Maybe these sites have been incorrectly abusing rendering standards all this time, or more likely RC9 is using its own eccentric methods.

By windywoo on 17 Feb 2011


This "Mozilla employee" is disputing facts reported by the official international consortium on web standards and other independent bodies. This story is worthless propaganda, and only receives so much attention because anti-MS stories always do.

"it's two years too late"

Nonsense. According to which clock? HTML5 is not yet ready, it is a draft specification, and there are major obstacles to adoption, like media formats -- obstacles created by Mozilla and their anti-IE friends. Other browsers adopted too early, apparently with the aim of exploiting it for PR purposes, but there are serious problems with their implementations.

"Internet Explorer 9 is a modern browser"

The phrase "modern browser" is a meaningless corporate propaganda term coined by Google and Apple at a time when the boards of the tw companies openly shared members. The term is widely used by their staff, especially at Google, and regurginated by loyal fan communities.

Remember, MS do not need IE. They provide it as a convenience for Windows users. But Firefox is all Mozilla have got.

No wonder the top developer at Mozilla quit his job just a few days ago.

By timacheson on 17 Feb 2011


On my normal machines, I have Firefox, plus Safari or IE (OS X or Windows).

On my test rig, I have IE9 and Firefox 4. Both are very good, very stable and I haven't experienced any site compatibility problems with either, yet.

The only thing that holds me back from IE is the lack of a NoScript equivalent - the same goes for Chrome and Safari.

Without NoScript, I won't surf most sites. Just look at this page, it calls up JavaScript from 12 outside domains! I don't trust the half of them to run code on my machine.

By big_D on 17 Feb 2011


a_byrne - it will be ratified when there are two compatible implementations.

By JulesLt on 17 Feb 2011


I won't pretend to understand the technicalities involved, but the scores for the browsers on my PC are IE9 116, Firefox 126, Opera 177.

So what is the bloke from Mozilla actually going on about?

2 years too late to comply with a standard which hasn't yet been ratified? Errrmm, what?

Or am I too daft to understand the other answers here either?

By andy962 on 17 Feb 2011

So IE9 is behind because it still doesn't comply with known standards. Oh well, I guess IE can tell FF, well you guys had a big "copy & Paste" flaw which lasted 3 beta versions. They fixed it now, but it needed 3 beta versions to locate & fix this problem. As for IE9, I'd say it's still as bloated overkill & slow as ever.

By Natasha26 on 17 Feb 2011


Interesting that only one person has mentioned security in this fight for "top dog"! For me, security is a big issue, and for my customers too. This is where Microsoft is definitely years (if not decades) behind. I note with interest that no matter which version of IE Microsoft is pushing out, they still haven't managed to make a truly secure browser. It is primarily for that reason that I recommend to my customers to avoid using it all together, and use Firefox instead (unless they already use Safari or Chrome and are happy with those). Once Microsoft start using a methodology that puts security high on the list (instead of their own monopolising agendas) I'll maybe switch back to using IE; see you after the next ice-age!

By AceBain on 17 Feb 2011


Installed this this morning rebooted, started getted allsorts of messages this & that .dll file is missing. Several programs refused to run including Three's dongle software.
So here we have a new security measure, a Browser that KILLS your internet connection.
Congratulations MS.
Rolled it back to beta & hey presto all is well again.

By roberttrebor on 18 Feb 2011

mobilegnet MF4 score


my FF 4.0 Beta 11 scored
197 + 9 bonus points

my HTC Desire scored
176 + 0 bonus points

By ckbridge1 on 18 Feb 2011

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