It's easy to forget that Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) is still a solid leader in at least one key internet category: the browser. By some measures, Internet Explorer still commands about three quarters of the market. So it's no surprise that Microsoft is still trying to use this advantage to make much-needed headway online. A number of folks have looked at the way the latest beta of IE8 will be used as an anti-Google (NSDQ: GOOG) weapon. One aspect of it: a privacy mode that theoretically could prevent Google (or anyone else) from collecting useful information for ad targeting. Fortune also looks at certain features, such as a more refined, Google-circumventing search bar, and a tool that will auto-link addresses to Microsoft's Live Maps. Of course, there was talk that Microsoft could make headway in the search wars with the launch of IE7, since it included a search bar for the first time. Google even made some ant-trust noises, but their fears seem to have been unfounded. For more, SearchEngineLand takes an in-depth look at how Microsoft is integrating search with the new browser.
Meanwhile, Microsoft's most aggressive competitor, Mozilla's Firefox has extended its relationship with Google, that sets the search engine as the default homepage and default in the search bar. Mozilla's Mitchell Baker writes about the deal on her blog: "We've just renewed our agreement with Google for an additional three years. This agreement now ends in November of 2011 rather than November of 2008, so we have stability in income. We're also learning more all the time about how to use Mozilla's financial resources to help contributors through infrastructure, new programs, and new types of support from employees."
By Joseph Weisenthal