Maxthon is in my view the best alternative to Internet Explorer. Firefox and Opera are doing a great job (both in product and buzz) but they just don’t catch up with Maxthon.
Founded by the very young and brilliant Jeff Chen in 2003 in China (under MyIE name), Maxthon became very quickly popular in Asia (awarded last year in Red Herring Asia ) and all over the world. The big difference with other browsers is that Maxthon is based on IE code which makes the software very familiar from the beginning but with a few twists. Unlike IE, it is very fast, safe and very stable and brings a unique browsing experience as it enables you to customize nearly any part of the software. Like Firefox, Maxthon brings tab browsing, embedded RSS and podcast reader (a very cool one), search bar… but without necessity to add any extension.
The key strength of Maxthon is that it enables you to customize totally your browsing experience with extreme simplicity. A few examples: URL shortcuts. Instead of typing a URL or clicking a bookmark (ok it takes less than 2 sec but still) you can set up a URL alias (“2″ for instance) and type directly in the URL bar which will lead you to the URL of your choice (eg: your flickr page). You can change easily skins, a wide choice is offered. Mouse gesture is also great just like super drag and drop features to save an image or initiate a search on a given word within web page.
There are too many features to cover them all here. I believe you should play with it first (tip: use your right click nearly anywhere). All those I know who tried it loved it. It sounds maybe too much like FireFox in some way but again it is not. To better understand the pros of Maxthon read this article from Internet Week.
We could get exclusive intial screenshots and news on next 2.0 version to come up soon. I believe Maxthon will become even better. They are building right now a better interface with greater possibilities of customization, data sharing, multi window browsing, cool blogging features and many other things kept secret for now.
Beyond a good product and critical size, Maxthon has great assets for success: first a great team including Netanel Jacobsson as SVP Bus. Development (ex AOL/ICQ guy). Second, strong shareholders including Morten Lund (a Skype early stage investor) and WI Harper.
Maxthon is not yet very popular in the US, but i bet it’ll change soon.
Now let’s see if this post can generate a debate just as hot as the one from the original post in TechCrunch France