Microsoft Caught Cheating at Browser Benchmark Test

There is no doubt that the race among the modern browsers is intense. Google offers new builds of Chrome like clockwork that routinely ratchet up the speed of their scratch built JavaScript interpreter and their improvements on the WebKit rendering engine. Mozilla has recently regained considerable ground lost to Chrome and other browsers with the latest beta of Firefox 4.

Even the latest iteration of Microsoft’s aging Internet Explore, version 9, seems to be competing well. Or is it? Slashdot linked to a Digitizor article explaining some suspicious findings uncovered by a Mozilla engineer while working with one of the standard browser benchmarks, SunSpider.

While Mozilla engineer Rob Sayre was benchmarking Firefox 4 with different browsers, he noticed something with Internet Explorer 9 – Internet Explorer 9 was around 10 times faster than the other browsers in a particular test (math-cordic) in the SunSpider benchmark. While Chrome and Opera scored took around 10ms in that test, Internet Explorer 9 finished it it in about 1ms.

There are now a couple of updates which make it less clear if there is indeed specialized code that makes IE appear faster in the benchmark than it does in real world use. The rest of the article includes clear and deep details from Sayre on his investigation and findings.

If there weren’t already good enough reasons to support any other browser other than Internet Explorer, I would offer this as a clincher. I frequently admit my extreme bias towards Mozilla because of the good they do beyond the browser itself in terms of advancing open standards. All the same, this re-affirms my own principle to use any other browser before using Microsoft’s, even the marginally more standards compatible version 9.

Internet Explorer 9 Caught Cheating In SunSpider, Slashdot

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