Microsoft are continuing their browser promotion assault with a new TV advert which shows IE9 doing all sorts of amazing stuff and generally being purported to be the “best” browser in the market.
Leaving aside the utter nonsense of spending decent money on TV advertising for a web browser the marketing team from Redmond back up their claims with a series of well places quotes from reputable sources:
- “IE9 is fast, lean and modern” – Wired
- “IE9 is absolutely mind-blowing” – Softpedia
- “IE9 is amazingly fast” – New York Times
- “IE9 is one massive performance jump” – Conceivably Tech
- “IE9 Smoked the competition” – The Next Web
Some of these I’ve never heard of but Wired? The New York Fracking Times? How the hell are these sources raving over a browser that is generally regarded to be the runt of the litter of the modern web?
So I spent a little time running down the original sources of these quotes. Running through them in a slightly different order:
Locating the source articles is pretty easy. They’re the top hit of the respective Google searches. But whats incredible is that these quotes are taken from articles written in September 2010!
That means two things, firstly the reviews are actually of a prerelease of IE (the final release didn’t emerge until March 2011) and secondly, the reviews are nearly 2 years old.
Sound like I’m stating the obvious? Bear in mind that web browser tech moves insanely fast and 2 years is a lifetime online. To put it in context, back in September 2010, Firefox was at version 3.6 (current release is version 11!) and Google Chrome was at version 6 (current release is version 21!!!). And whilst I appreciate that just quoting version numbers is no indication of progress surely you can see that the hyperbole in Microsoft’s ad campaign is so out of date to be considered no longer relevant?
Let’s take a look at the other “quotes” shall we?
“IE9 is absolutely mind-blowing” – Softpedia
Google Search – Source Article Not Found
Worryingly enough, no Google search I could come up with produced the source of this quote. I would assume that it was taken from private correspondence in which Softpedia congratulated Microsoft on a job well done … except that if you read Softpedia’s review of IE9 (slightly more current from March 2011) they sum up in a wholly more balanced fashion:
Internet Explorer 9 moves faster and much better than its predecessor, has a slicker look and adds huge improvements to privacy protection…
Hardly “Mind Blowing”
“IE9 is one massive performance jump” – Conceivably Tech
Google Search – Source Article Not Initially Found
Interestingly enough, a verbatim search for the source of the Conceivably Tech quote doesn’t return any results.
Rewording the quote to “IE9 is a massive performance jump” does return a CT article about IE9 which I’m guessing comes from Feb 2011 (no year is specified in the publication date) and if you read through the article you can source the quote … kinda. Taken in context:
Microsoft polished IE9 and there is one massive performance jump.
Naughty Microsoft. Quotes taken out of context and no ellipsis to denote the restructuring of the copy? What is this the Daily Mirror?
To be fair the article does go on to rave about performance increases from the RC to the Final Release but considering the misquoted source is from early 2011 and the ad is running in mid – late 2012? That leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
Another non traceable quote? And this time no amount of tweaking could return anything that resembled the source.
(Update 18-08-2012 thanks to a comment from Steve this post has been updated with the correct source article for the Next Web Quote. I agree with his comment that the quote is not entirely misleading although the link between TNW & Microsoft is still cause for concern.)
What did show up was this post from Google+ user Gordon Thompson who had engaged in a similar exercise and had managed to locate an area on “The Next Web” which was sponsored by Microsoft!
I’m not entirely sure I can be bothered to debunk the content shown in the ad.
Most of what you see is dependant on third parties (the video clips are hardly IE doing the work) but here are the sites shown in the ad and I’ll leave it up to you to judge if the experience is anything “special” in IE9:
- Aston Martin (may have changed since the ad was filmed)
- Cut the Rope
I’m not a big fan of MS bashing, you have to acknowledge that they are a market leader in OS provision and therefore that their web browser is a contender in the market place.
Depending on your bias you can currently find stats that show IE9 as the slowest or the fastest browser in use at the moment, but if you’re going to promote your browser, using sources that I trust on my television and you need to misquote, refer to ancient reviews and wrap the whole thing up in an experience that is little more than fantasy … then that says everything you need to know about IE and the company behind it.