Maxthon seeks to provide many rich features and a highly customizable interface, without losing any of the compatibility of Internet Explorer.
In January 2006, Maxthon developers partnered with Microsoft in its booth at the Consumer Electronics Show.
Maxthon won its first WebWare 100 Award in 2005, and won the WebWare 100 Award also in 2008 and 2009.
Maxthon is reported to be the second most popular browser in China, and it has been downloaded more than 400 million times worldwide.
Maxthon was based on MyIE, originally created by Changyou, a Chinese programmer, who wanted to customize his Internet Explorer browser. Changyou posted most of the code onto his BBS, before leaving the project in 2000. Jeff Chen continued development and released a new version, called MyIE2. MyIE2 grew quickly, with contributions from users around the world in areas including plugins, skins and debugging.
MyIE2 was renamed to Maxthon in 2004. It received seed funding from the first Skype investor Morten Lund, and WI Harper Group in 2005. In 2006 Maxthon received further investment from the US-based venture capital firm Charles River Ventures.
On April 10, 2007, it was reported that Google had invested at least US$1 million in Maxthon; this was denied the following day by Chen. However, in an interview with Chinese portal Sina.com, Chen did not rule out future "co-operation" between the two businesses.
Maxthon was one of the twelve browsers offered to European Economic Area users of Microsoft Windows in 2010.
- Tabbed document interface
- Saves open tabs in case of program shutdown or system crash
- Undo for any tabs accidentally closed
- AD Hunter - an advert-blocking utility that blocks pop-ups, banners, and floating ads in webpages
- Flash, Java applet and ActiveX blocker
- Customizable tabs and interface
- Programmable mouse gestures
- External utility bar - toolbar that allows you to open third-party programs
- RSS reader
- Supports many Internet Explorer plugins as well as plugins of its own
- Partial Gecko engine support with the use of a third-party program
- A search toolbar with 8 different search engines (user extendable)
- Automatic updating service
- Groups - the ability to bookmark & open multiple pages simultaneously
- URL aliases - open URLs by just typing a word in the address bar
- Simple collector - a small notepad-like utility, used to collect any text from webpages. You can write scripts in it and run them in the current webpage
- Integrated web services - user extendable, but by default includes translators, Google's cached version of pages, Whois and anonymous web proxies
- Enhanced security - Even if a security hole has not yet been corrected in the underlying web rendering engine, Maxthon browser prevent most of the well-known exploits to run.
The original Maxthon 1 series is still maintained and available for download on the official Maxthon site as Maxthon Classic.
The web site provides a brief summary of the features included and compares the 1 series to the newer 2 series:*"Classic Version Features: Use less system resources, more stable, better compatibility, Mouse Gesture, Super Drag&Drop, Ad Hunter, Undo List, Simple Skin Support, Plugins Support..."
The latest release of the Classic Version is 18.104.22.168 and is currently available for download on the official website. This updated version has been tested and found to function properly with Microsoft Internet Explorer 6, 7 and 8 on Microsoft Windows XP Home, XP Professional, all releases of Windows Vista and Windows 7.
There are a number of addons available for Maxthon Classic on their dedicated addon site and even more are available on their discussion forums. Specific threads may provide direct download links as well. It should be noted that some addons are build specific, but when that is the case, a clear indication of compatibility can often be found. Downloads of earlier releases are available for testing and/or general use should issues with the latest releases arise.
The latest release version of Maxthon 2.5.13 is currently available for download on the official website. New features in versions 2.x include:
- New layout
- New customization options
- New default icons
- Maxthon Security Updates
- Multi-user support
- Content blocker
- Improved Performance & Stability
- Maxthon Smart Accelerator
- Magic Fill
- Link validator
- Improved favicon support
- Improved favorite search
- Favorite + Feed manager
- Automatic online favorite & feed synchronization
- Page find tool
- Plugin installer
- Plugin + Skin updater
- Improved proxy support
- Tab manager
- Frameless mode
- New Configuration Interface
Full changelogs for 2.x versions.
Maxthon's upcoming major version, 3.0, currently under beta testing, will support two engines, Trident and WebKit. Information and pictures of the new version have been released, showing that the browser will be able to quickly switch between several browsing modes, offering greater speed or standard compliance. The new version is also said to score 100/100 on the Acid 3 standard compliance test.