Internet Explorer 9 vs Mozilla Firefox 4 : User review and comparision

What is so special about Internet Explorer 9 and Firefox 4? Well they both have a very short release duration between them. IE9 was released on 14th March 2011, while Firefox 4 on 22nd March 2011… and are presently running almost neck to neck in the browser market.

Internet Explorer vs Firefox

With more than 400 million active users, Firefox aims to increase this number considerably by introducing Firefox 4, its gen-next browser where the market is dominated by Internet Explorer and now its latest version, IE9. What makes these browsers successfully demand their own user share in the market? Let’s find out!

1. User Interface: Microsoft says that IE9 has got more that 80% of the browser area for the websites whereas Firefox is a notch higher with more than 86% of the browser area for the websites. Both have them have got a polished new interface with much less complexity compared to their previous versions.


2. Playing with Tabs: IE9 surely wins over this by introducing ‘Tearing-of-tabs’ where you can make a tab come out as a new browser window simply by dragging and releasing it a few millimeters outside the browser window, ‘Pinning of websites’ where any website works as an app after dragging its tab and releasing it onto the taskbar. In Firefox 4, Tabs are on top of the screen now, and you can pin tabs to the Tab Bar as “app tabs”. A notable feature is the Tab Groups, a useful idea that enables you to organize open tabs into groups and switch over to any tab group when desired.


3. Add-ons Manager: IE9 has got a very simple feel for its small but efficient Add-ons manager which actually does detect malicious add-ons which can be disabled if desired. Whereas the Firefox Add-ons manager achieves a perfect user-friendly interface with striking clarity as to what is disabled and what is running.

4. Benchmarks: IE9 scores a 95/100 on the Acid3 test while its 97/100 for Firefox 4. With its JavaScript engine ‘Chakra’, IE9 aces the SunSpider  JavaScript Benchmark 0.9.1 coming at the first position at 261ms while Firefox 4, with ‘JägerMonkey’ as its JavaScript engine, comes at third position behind Google Chrome at 300.6ms. In the V8 benchmark, Firefox 4 comes at the second position, following Google Chrome and ahead of IE9.

5. Other important features: The new ‘Do-not-track’ feature in Firefox 4 supports a header on Web sites that tells sites and advertisers not to track you, so you don’t see targeted ads as often. Internet Explorer 9 also supports the header, and it includes robust, configurable support for blocking ad trackers. While IE9 achieves seamless integration with Windows Phone 7 OS, Sync is that feature in Firefox 4 where you synchronize your data across traditional PC versions of Firefox and also you can sync your bookmarks, passwords, preferences, history, and tabs with your Android or Maemo-running phone or tablet. Both support HTML5, CSS3 and Direct 3D hardware acceleration. IE9 gives tabs individual processes while in Firefox 4, everything runs in a single session.

The Verdict: Internet Explorer 9 is amazingly cool to use and has improved extra-ordinarily compared to its previous versions. It is now back in the reckoning and is right in the battleground with Chrome and Firefox; and with its upcoming updates and additions, it may well surge ahead and be the winner.

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Microsoft Student Partner | Computer Science graduate | Loves flirting with technology | Author at The Geeks Club | Lives on the web at @asrartheone


  1. Jim Boyd

    MS is billing IE as a “Modernized Browser” yet it does NOT support nay of the following:

    Application Cache (offline)
    Web Workers (threads in JavaScript)
    HTML5 Forms (validation mechanism, CSS3 selectors)
    JavaScript Strict Mode
    ForeignObject (embed external content in SVG)
    SMIL Animations (SVG animations)
    File API
    WebGL (3D)
    CSS3 Transitions (for animations)
    CSS3 Text Shadow
    CSS3 Gradients
    CSS3 Border Image
    CSS3 Flex box model
    ClassList APIs
    HTML5 History API
    Drag’n Drop from Desktop

    REAL modernized browsers like FireFox…support ALL of the above.

    So in reality…MS dropped the ball…AGAIN!.

  2. Locutus

    You’re forgetting that Firefox already had tab tearing (like Chrome and others) with I believe FF3.5. You’re also forgetting Tab Panorama. Google it—it is awesome and more applicable than pinned sites (only Twitter of the sites I know so far).

  3. TheBigOldDog

    Ironically, IE suffers from being a restively closed system. Ironic because Windows prevailed by being relatively open compared to Macs. Now, Microsoft faces the problem fighting FF (& Chrome) that others face in fighting Microsoft in OS: People are locked into FF (& to a lesser extent, Chrome) by the add-ons. I can’t use IE anymore b/c none of the add-ons I rely on daily are even available. Until IE can close the add-on gap it will continue to lose market share,

  4. I love Firefox 4! I started with IE and switched to Firefox years ago. Will need to test if IE 9 is really what is said about it.

  5. Mav99

    Your first screenshot of IE9 shows the tabs below the menu and command bar. How do you do that?

    I could not find any option or tweak to bring the tabs below the menu and toolbars. Even your IE9 Tweaker Pro Utility doesn’t seem to have an option for that.
    The tabs beeing right under the adressbar, above everything else is the main problem I have with the new IE9 UI so I’d really appreciate any info on how to change that.

  6. bthegeek

    @Locotus, I think Panorama is the same as Tab Groups explained in ‘Playing with Tabs’

  7. Frank

    right click on top title bar ->Show tabs on a separate row

  8. TatoSgr

    “…neck to neck in the browser market”. Firefox 4 already triples IE9’s users.

    “Playing with Tabs”… Chrome

    “Benchmarks”: yes, in some cases IE9 beated Firefox4….. In some cases, it crashed the tab.

    “The new ‘Do-not-track’ feature”: where is it? I haven’t found (search for) it yet.

    I have to say that compared with other versions, IE9 is the best one. But still doesn’t even match Firefox nor Chrome’s potential. The thing I hate the most is that you can still install bars in IE9, thing that must be forbidden to improve security.

  9. Asrartheone

    @Locutus Well Its not a case of forgetting. The important features are being highlighted 🙂

  10. Asrartheone

    @TheBigOldDog Well IE9 has got an impressive and ever-expanding Add-ons market and is definitely catching on the gaps with more that 2.35 downloads within 24 hours of the final version release .

  11. Asrartheone

    Oops . . Its 2.35 million IE9 downloads .
    Error is regretted

  12. Shibin Kuriakose

    @JIM BOYD . These are standards in flux, if IE implents those features in its unstable form it will lead to standardization(as IE is the most widely used) of unstable specs, making life hell for developers. if u want to see test implementations go to and check it out. Its not that IE is incapable , its that IE is responsible. 🙂

  13. Mav99

    Thanks but that only brings the tabs into a seperate row below the adress-bar. It would still be above the menu and toolbars.
    I want the tabs to be below everything else, righ above the content like in that first screenshot.
    Looking at it again I think it’s either an IE8 Screenshot or it uses some plug-in that alters the user inteface cause I found no way to make IE9 look like that. Either way, I’d like to know cause the default IE9 user interface is too unflexible and useless to me.

  14. Jim Boyd

    @Shibin Kuriakose….typical MS BS response. I am a developer…and that entire statement is a load of BS.

    The ONLY reason IE is “most widely used” is because it is forced upon the unknowing by being bundled with Windows…that has been it secret to success for years. Fortunately, people are starting to get wise to this and IE is losing it’s market-share. Even Chrome is giving IE a run…that alone should tell you something.

    You can put a dress on a pig to make it look pretty…but it’s still just a pig. Now matter how pretty you make IE sound…it’s the same old POS browser.

  15. red1java2

    I have only used IE, heard that FF was the way to go! My daughter has been using it for years, and swears by it, dear OLD dad just likes to keep things simple. Looking to try to stream line my system and the way things work while there is still time to learn. lol.

    So what is the verdict? Change to FF4 and learn or is IE9 going to do something worth staying for!

  16. Hi red1java2,

    While I prefer IE9 over FF4, my frank advice to you would be to try both for a couple of days each, and see which suits you the best. 🙂

  17. CoSmInAcHe

    IE 9 is the BEST !/

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