Microsoft IE9 exclusivity claims rebuffed by Mozilla team

War of words over hardware accelerated browsers

Microsoft has ignited a war of wars over the company’s claims that IE9 is the first and only browser to deliver "full hardaware acceleration" of HTML 5.

Posting on the IE Blog, Microsoft spokesman Ted Johnson said that the firm was "excited that other browsers have started to use hardware to accelerate graphics performance" before launching into an explanation of so-called full hardware acceleration.

"Based on their blog posts, the hardware-accelerated implementations of other browsers generally accelerate one phase or the other, but not yet both," said Johnson. Microsoft’s claims drew fire from Mozilla team members which they accused of being misleading.

"They’re wrong; Firefox 4 has all the three levels of acceleration they describe," blogged Mozilla team member Robert O’Callahan while also pointing out that Firefox offers hardware acceleration for Windows XP. "I’m surprised Microsoft has been prepared to just hand XP users over to Firefox and Chrome."

"The Microsoft blog post is misleading and wrong," blogged Firefox community coordinator Asa Dotzler . "The facts are that Firefox takes advantage of the same Windows 7 APIs that Microsoft does to accelerate both the compositing and the rendering of Web content."

"We are faster and we were first," said Dotzler.

Microsoft also claimed that IE9 would have a performance advantage on the basis that it was a single platform browser specifically optimised for windows, as opposed to cross-platform rivals Firefox and Chrome. The claim is based on the idea that abstraction layers used to translate between internal common code and the platform-specific graphics APIs would impact performance.

O’Callahan denied that this would be the case. "I’m pretty confident that our architecture will not cause us any performance disadvantages vs IE9." O’Callahan did reserve praise for Microsoft in creating the acceleration framework D2D which he said was a "coup for windows" and that no other yet had an equivalent before calling for open source efforts to support cross platform acceleration.

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