Maxthon
Developer(s)Maxthon limited Ltd
Initial release2002; 20 years ago (2002)
Stable release(s)
Android6.0.2.5000[1] Edit this on Wikidata / 28 January 2022
iOS6.0.8[2] Edit this on Wikidata / 8 February 2022
Linux1.0.5.3[3] Edit this on Wikidata / 9 September 2014
macOS5.1.60[4] Edit this on Wikidata / 27 August 2018
Windows6.1.3.1000[5][6] Edit this on Wikidata / 31 December 2021
Preview release(s) [±]
6.1.3.901 (beta) (December 24, 2021; 9 months ago (2021-12-24)[7]) [±]
Written inC++
EnginesWebKit, Trident
Operating systemWindows, macOS, Linux, Android, Windows Phone, iOS
Size~39 MB
Available in53 languages[8]
TypeWeb browser
LicenseFreeware
Websitewww.maxthon.com

Maxthon (Chinese: 傲游浏览器, formerly named MyIE2) is a freeware web browser, created by JeffChen in Singapore. It is available for Windows, macOS, Linux, and as Maxthon Mobile for Android,[9] iOS,[10] and Windows Phone 8.[11] Since version 6 Maxthon is based on Chromium.[12]

Maxthon won CNET WebWare 100 Awards in 2008[13] and 2009,[14] and was #97 in PC World's list of the 100 Best Products of 2011.[15]

Overview

Maxthon is a Hong Kong company known mainly for producing web browsers for Windows.[16] It is headquartered in Singapore, with offices in Beijing, Hong Kong, and San Francisco, US. Most of Maxthon's engineers are based in the corporate headquarters in China, which develops and maintains versions of the Maxthon browser for Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, and Windows Phone.[17]

Maxthon has also created other products including a Chinese language news and information portal i.maxthon.cn,[18] a Chinese language casual gaming portal and humor website, a ‘Kid Safe’ web browser for Android and iOS, a free online account system named Maxthon Passport,[19] and an English language news and information web portal i.maxthon.com.[20][21]

Corporate history

In 2002, current CEO Ming Jie "Jeff" Chen (Chinese: 陈明杰; pinyin: Chén Míngjié) created MyIE2 browser based on open source product MyIE.[22], in Singapore, and renamed to "Maxthon" in 2003. In 2005, the team received seed funding from venture capital firm WI Harper Group[23] and Morten Lund, the first Skype investor, and Chen moved the company to Beijing.[24][25] In 2006, Maxthon received further investment from the US-based venture capital firm Charles River Ventures.[26]

On April 10, 2007, TechCrunch reported that Google had invested at least US$1 million in Maxthon;[27] this was denied the following day by Chen.[28] However, in an interview with the Chinese web portal Sina.com, Chen did not rule out future "cooperation" between the two businesses.[29]

Maxthon won CNET WebWare 100 Awards in 2008[13] and 2009,[14] and was #97 in PCWorld's list of the 100 Best Products of 2011.[15]

Maxthon was one of the twelve browsers Microsoft presented in 2010 at BrowserChoice.eu, a website allowing users of Windows residing in the European Economic Area to choose which default web browser to use on their computer.[30] In late 2010, Maxthon began releasing new compatibilities, including browsers for Android[9] Mac,[31] iPhone[32] and iPad.[33] As of August 2012, Maxthon is still in the first tier of browsers in BrowserChoice.eu after the removal of Apple Safari.[34] The Maxthon Cloud Browser was released on December 10, 2012.[35]

Data privacy issues

In 2016, computer security researchers from Fidelis Cybersecurity and Exatel discovered the browser surreptitiously sending sensitive browsing and system data, such as ad blocker status, websites visited, searches conducted, and applications installed with their version numbers, to remote servers located in Beijing, China. According to Maxthon, the data is sent as part of the firm's 'User Experience Improvement Program' and it is "voluntary and totally anonymous." However, researchers found the data still being collected and sent to remote servers even after users explicitly opt out of the program. The researchers further found the data being sent over an unencrypted connection (HTTP), leaving users vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks. Fidelis' Chief Security Officer, Justin Harvey, noted the data "contains almost everything you would want in conducting a reconnaissance operation to know exactly where to attack. Knowing the exact operating system and installed applications, and browsing habits it would be trivial to send a perfectly crafted spear phish to the victim or perhaps set up a watering hole attack on one of their most frequented websites."[36][37][38][39][40] Maxthon CEO Jeff Chen claimed that this was due to a bug that was fixed as soon as Maxthon was made aware of the issue;[41] however, Exatel had notified Maxthon of the issue without getting any response.[42]

Software

Development history

According to Maxthon International CEO Ming Jie "Jeff" Chen, Maxthon was based on MyIE, a popular modification created by Chinese programmer Changyou to customize Internet Explorer web browser.[43][44] Changyou posted most of the source code[45] for MyIE on his Bulletin board system before leaving the project in 2000. Chen then continued independently developing MyIE and in 2002 released a new version, MyIE2.[46] Users around the world were quite active in contributing to MyIE2's development, adding many plug-ins, skins and assisting with debugging. MyIE2 was renamed Maxthon in 2003.[26][43]

Maxthon 2 was introduced in July 2007,[47] and Maxthon 3 was released in September 2010.[48] Later that year, Maxthon began introducing browsers for portable devices. In December, Maxthon for Android[9] was released.[49] On July 7, 2012, Maxthon for Mac[31] was released,[50] with Maxthon for iPhone[32] and iPad released in August 2012.[33] On December 10, 2012, Maxthon Cloud Browser, also named Maxthon 4, was released.[35]

Features

Maxthon 5 introduced these features:

Browser versions

This section is in list format but may read better as prose. You can help by converting this section, if appropriate. Editing help is available. (July 2016)

Version 1.x

Maxthon version 1, which continued version 0 of MyIE2, was an Internet Explorer shell that implemented a tabbed browser using the Trident web browser engine which Microsoft introduced with Internet Explorer 4.[54] As such, version 1 was compatible with every version of Windows from Windows 95 to Windows 7.[55] Development of version 1 stopped in 2010 with the so-called Maxthon (Classic), version 1.6.7.35;[55] earlier releases are available from Maxthon,[56] and version 1.6.7.35, which fixed a bug in selecting the default search engine, is still available at other download sites.[57][58]

There are many add-ons available for Maxthon Classic,[59] and more are available through discussion forums.[60] Specific threads may provide direct download links also.[61] Some add-ons are build-specific, but in that case, a clear indication of compatibility can often be found.

Maxthon 1.3.1 brought cloud-based service for online syncing bookmarks (favorites) in 2005.

Version 2.x

Maxthon Browser 2 is a multi-tab browser released in July 2007.[47] A later modification in 2008 was the first browser on the market to offer cloud-based services for syncing bookmarks and history.[16] Version 2.x also blocks malicious plug-ins to prevent pop-ups and floating ads, and supports a variety of plug-in tools and IE extensions. It also supports a wide variety of skins and is customizable. New features included:[21]

Version 3.x

Maxthon 3 was released in the fall of 2010, after a beta period of 8 months.[48] It has two layout engines: WebKit and Trident. New features included:[63]

Maxthon Cloud Browser

Also named Maxthon Cloud, Maxthon 4 was released on December 10, 2012.[35] At the same time it released Passport[19] and its cloud features.[64] Maxthon Passport allowed users to sign-in and register for free membership, and their avatar remains in that space for future visits. Registering also gives users access to cloud syncing services like online favorites.[62] New features include:[65]

MXNitro

On September 15, 2014, Maxthon released a beta version for a Windows web browser made for those with slow computers or internet connections. The browser fetched pages 3 times faster than other browsers. The browser had a clutter-free, intuitive look and feel designed expressly to make new users feel comfortable on first use. The browser never came out of beta.[66]

Version 5.x

Maxthon 5 (also known as MX5) was released on October, 2016.[67] In the 5.2.x versions, the core of the browser is updated to the Chromium 61 branch point which suggests that the core is using Blink, a fork of WebKit.[68] Aside from a series of new added and improved features, Maxthon 5 also introduces a few major built in functions, such as Maxnote as "your collecting button for the web", Passkeeper as "your smart password manager", and UUMail as "the guardian of your inbox".[69] Through this new version, Maxthon 5 is aiming to become an information assistant for users.[69] New features included:[67]

Version 6.x

Maxthon 6 (MX6) was released on 30 November 2020, with regular beta updates since.[70] It claims to be the default browser for 670 million users. Some Maxthon 5 features are not (yet) supported. The browser has an emphasis on blockchain technologies, and offers 64-bit and 32-bit versions on Windows, as well as iOS, Android and portable versions.[71]

For Mac

In July 2012, Maxthon Cloud Browser for macOS[72] was released.[11] It allows Mac users with a Maxthon Passport account to keep all user data in sync across different devices and operating systems.[11][31] New features include:

Maxthon Mobile

For Android

Maxthon Mobile for Android, a version for Android phones, was first released in 2010,[73] followed in 2011 by a version optimized for 10 inch tablets.[46] New features in 2012 included:

Version 6.x (2020) is also available for Android - see above.

For iOS

Maxthon Mobile for iOS was launched in July 2012, for iPhone,[32] iPad, and iOS universal. Maxthon Cloud Browser for iOS saves and syncs key settings, content and features for users across multiple platforms and other devices. Mouse gestures can control the opening and switching between tabs.[33][74] New features include:

Version 6.x (2020) is also available for iOS - see above.

For Windows Phone

Maxthon Mobile for Windows Phone was launched in October 2013. The features that were included in this version were:[75]

See also

References

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