Internet Explorer boss: Chrome 'massive challenge'

You may have read earlier this week that Internet Explorer, so long the undisputed king of the browser world, is under serious threat from Google's Chrome for the no.1 crown.

Pocket-lint asked Gabby Hegerty, the new Internet Explorer Lead in the UK, what she thought of the threat and how Microsoft is reacting to such heavy fire from its tech rivals.

"Obviously it's a massive challenge to us because we need to protect our position and that is much harder than what Chrome has to do, to chase after our users essentially," she said.

"We were able to be quite complacent because we had no competition so we didn't really go and shout about all the great things about us, but Chrome came along and they did. You're at risk of becoming a bit complacent if you don't have good, healthy competition."

Hegerty stated how the situation had changed within a short time scale and how Chrome poses a far greater threat than Mozilla ever did with Firefox.

"The landscape is changing and we're in a much more competitive position that we were two years ago," she admitted. "Two years ago it was just us and Firefox. We had the mainstream and Firefox had the developers and the techy audiences and we happily co-existed without anyone getting in the other's way.

"Chrome has obviously come along and has appealed to the techies and the consumers. That's created a totally different landscape for us.

"But the good thing about that is that the product engineers in Redmond have responded, because they had to, and [Internet Explorer] is now in a much better place. For the consumer and for developers as well, the product is now much better because we've been forced into really re-looking at it to try and be better than the competition.

"IE9 is very much the first version where we've taken on people's feedback. That's why it's very much stripped away, is faster and there's a whole load of other elements, such as pinning, in there that are based on consumer behaviour."

Microsoft has recently been keen to show off the HTML5 skills of its browser, and has teamed up with a number of key online partners for rich and interactive showcases, such as the recent Last.fm hook-up which use both the browser and the operating system to get the best experience.

Hegerty admitted that this was an attempt to keep users within Microsoft's boundaries, but stated that it's an objective that also benefits the end-user.

"If you've got Windows 7 by far the best browser for you is IE9, rather than Chrome, because it's been built for Windows 7," she said.

It's the same message that Apple bleats regarding Safari and Mac OS X and one that, at present, web surfers seem to ignore. 2012 is likely to be the year that Chrome takes top spot but is also going to be the year that Windows 8 lands.

Can the biggest shake up in Windows history be enough to bring Internet Explorer back from the brink? We're not so sure, but it looks as if Microsoft hasn't given up the fight yet.