Firefox and IE battle it out in browser wars

Microsoft today releases the latest version of its web browser, Internet Explorer 8 (IE8).

And, despite the innovations featured in the new release, it looks like it has got an uphill journey ahead of it.

While there's no denying IE is still the market leader - it holds over two-thirds of the browser pie - that's slipped from previous highs.

The first round of browser wars saw IE take out Netscape Navigator. That browser is no longer supported, but Mozilla has gone on to fund the creation of Microsoft's biggest rival, open source Firefox.

While Firefox is far behind, holding just over a fifth of the market, and other alternatives are even further back, their collective drive to innovate and create new features has largely left IE in the dust. Will IE8 be enough to change that?

Also at issue is how IE got to be the leader in the first place. Microsoft has embedded IE into its operating systems, meaning it's the default browser for Windows. The European Commission recently took action against Microsoft for such anti-competitive measures, and Microsoft has said users of its next OS, Windows 7, will be able to switch IE off. How much will that hurt IE's market position?

Such questions won't be answered anytime soon. IE's solid lead means it has time to make mistakes and then make up for them. Read below for our coverage of the browser wars.

IE8 coverageInternet Explorer: Is there any way back? - Can Microsoft's browser win more users and fend off its rivals...Internet Explorer 8 in action - A how-to guide to using the new browser.

Alternative browsersAlternatives to the big name browsers - There's more to browsing than IE and Firefox. Battle of the browser betas - Which is best, IE, Firefox, Safari or Chrome?Google updates Chrome - The first major update for Google's browser. Apple unleashes Safari 4 - The latest release from Apple.Safari 4 beta grows Apple's market share - Safari steps up and grabs some of the pie.Your views: IT PRO readers love Firefox - You all seem to prefer Firefox over IE. Firefox 3 update adds security, stability - Firefox's last release was well received. Opera boss: "Google Chrome is good for the market" - Everyone got excited when Chrome was released.Opera 10 alpha released - Opera readies it's next version.

ReviewsBattle of the Betas - 4-way browser head-to-headGoogle Chrome - BetaFirefox 3