Microsoft has issued a clarion call as it releases Internet Explorer 8 – saying that it is prepared to 'take on anyone' as it seeks to keep its place as market leader in the browser wars.

Speaking to TechRadar ahead of the launch of IE8, John Curran, the Windows Business Group Lead in the UK, insisted that the company is prepared to take on all comers with its latest offering, insisting that Internet Explorer offers the 'best of both worlds'.

"Fundamentally, we're really excited about the head-to-head comparisons," said Curran, "and I think it shows in things like publishing the whitepaper [comparing it with other browsers].

"We'll take on anyone."

A browser for the masses?

"The key message is that it's the real world browser for how you really operate," he adds.

"It's optimised for your experiences and fundamentally IE8 is something faster, easier and more secure.

"It's just going to work. It just works – we've used that a few times in other campaigns, but that really is what this is about.

"It's the best browser for how people really use the internet."

Trade-off

In an extensive interview, Curran admits that there has been a trade-off because of the company's continued commitment to ensuring users of older Internet Explorer browsers are not forced into upgrading.

But he insists that other companies who are taking in market share can never be market leaders until they take a similar decision.

"There are trade-offs, there's no doubt about this and it's similar on the Windows side," adds Curran

"I still have people using Windows 90-something. The reality is that there are good reasons and less good reasons to stay with legacy technology, but being Microsoft and being an industry leader that becomes a serious commitment."

Terrible decision

"The companies that are not prepared to make that commitment would struggle to get to the industry leader position," he explains.

"To create stranded customers would be a terrible decision. There are businesses that are still using IE6 and have developed unique applications for it.

"They've made significant investments in that platform so we need to create a bridge so that they can still benefit from that investment they've made, as well as a bridge to the future."