Microsoft's senior product manager for Internet Explorer, Pete LePage, says rival Google could be one of the companies that will benefit most from future improvements in Internet Explorer.
Mr LePage, on his first visit to New Zealand, says there are plenty of improvements yet to be made to the company's web browser – now on version 8 – and there is no danger of it running out of puff in the same way that word-processing programs ground to an innovation halt.
The next version of Internet Explorer, IE9, will for the first time use computers' graphics processors – usually used by computer games – to better render website graphics on screen.
"That is, hardware graphics acceleration is going to give you better reading experiences – better fonts and an improved ability to see images and scroll through them."
The difference should be noticeable when using online mapping services, such as Google Maps, that can be clunky to navigate.
"Because we are moving all of the graphics processing to the part of the computer that is designed for it, you will get a smooth, wonderful experience."
Risks to people's browsing experience include confusion over the 1000-page specification for page mark-up language html 5, which might be interpreted differently by browser-makers and result in problems for website owners, he says.
Internet Explorer was last week hit by another scare.
A "zero-day exploit" – malicious code for which there is as yet no defence – was circulating on the net and could be used to hack into computers running Windows XP and some other older versions of Windows.
The threat relies on duping web surfers into visiting compromised websites and pressing the F1 key on their keyboard to download malware.
Mr LePage says hackers will always try to attack browsers. Customers concerned by zero-day exploits are best advised to follow the advice given by the Microsoft Security Response Center, which "immediately swings into gear when we investigate the issue".
"It is a great place for information and resources and what to do in specific incidents."
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