Kanye West, BP, Internet Explorer. There are just some things in this world that are universally disliked. Microsoft launched a preview of Internet Explorer 11 yesterday, along with their Windows 8.1 preview. Needless to say, Americans were hardly taking to the streets in celebration.
Microsoft has had a difficult time marketing Internet Explorer and is acutely aware of its massive unpopularity. The IE 10 update came with a tongue-in-cheek, self-deprecating slogan “The Brower You Loved to Hate.” Their ads featured an Internet troll scouring social media and chat rooms to criticize Internet Explorer and finally coming to the conclusion that IE sucks… less.
This wasn’t the only time Microsoft has called out haters or come across as overly defensive about their products. As reviews started flooding in last month about the numerous faults of Windows 8, Microsoft wrote a blog post admitting that the product had its kinks, but was better than people were saying it was. (PR tip: crisis management blog posts should never include passive-aggressive emoticons.)
Since that blog post, Microsoft has been playing up the release of Windows 8.1, its intentions to bring back the Start Button, and now the incorporation of Internet Explorer 11.
For the launch of IE 11, Microsoft is ditching the self-deprecation of IE 10 and telling consumers how innovative their products are.
On today’s devices, touch is the new fast.
So what has changed in IE 11? Well, along with being able to open as many tabs as you want (as long as you want less than 100), users will have better touch responsiveness, a touch optimized address bar, navigation built for touch, and new, touchable apps. I kid you not, read their blog post, and put a dollar in the jar every time they use the word “touch.”
Microsoft, for all of its faults, isn’t in the wrong for emphasizing touch compatibility. Tablet usage has been growing exponentially and many are predicting the demise of the PC entirely. If Microsoft can position its Windows products and Internet Explorer updates as the most touch-friendly in the market, then they might seem the most prepared to face the tablet era.
How close are we to the tablet era? Mark Rogowsky of Forbes recently compared the decline of PCs to the decline of the dinosaurs.
Yes, a meteor or comet was the death blow. But the giant lizards were already in trouble when the impact came.
Younger generations will lead the way in the demise of personal computers. The “kids these days” are growing up with tablets and learning how to swipe screens before they even learn to swim or ride a bike. Business people might be moving away from bulky computers because they’re lighter and easier travel with, but the next generation is using tablets because it’s what they’ve always known. Generation Z will usher in the tablet era.
But whether the future generations use tablets exclusively, hang on to PCs to appear retro, or go completely hands-free with Google Glass, they’ll probably still make fun of Internet Explorer. It will always be the browser picked last for kickball.