Internet Explorer 8 and its predecessors all offer laughably bad web browsing experiences by today's standards. While still sadly the default browser for many antiquated corporate offices, hence its retained market share, IE 8 isn't even an option for today's web-savvy browsers.
But Microsoft is swelling with pride over Internet Explorer 9, its forthcoming revolution of a web browser. It's been a long time coming, and critics—myself among them—suggested that Microsoft not bother. After all, Chrome, Firefox, and even Safari have all become established staples and it would take a lot for anyone to switch back. Plus, all those slow-moving corporations running IE 8 take years to bring their software up to date anyway.
However, minds are changing as IE 9 nears launch. Its developer previews have impressed, and while it may or not be faster than its strongest competitors (splitting hairs on internet speed is pointless anyway), Microsoft fans and IE faithfuls will be in awe over how superior this new version will be.
These chart, while probably not to be trusted in full, does make the obvious visual statement: IE 9 is a hell of a lot faster than IE 8. If Microsoft can make iIE 9 the truly developer-friendly, high-performance, innovative web browser its so heavily touting, a comeback may be possible. Internet Explorer may yet avoid a grave beside Netscape.
Now if they can pull that off with all their products...