I think it might have to do with a conservative state of thinking. While other web browsers (especially Firefox) have often been of the verge of implementing new features, the guys at Microsoft only integrate them after they’re sure to be as reliable as possible. Their designs are often late but very solid. Another cause would probably be that they just don’t invest as much in browser development as the others do… it’s more of an obligation than a passion.
There’s some things IE still isn’t capable of though, unlike the others. Unless I’m underestimating the new Spartan of course. Just to mention some… CSS filters, path clipping, masking and support for the Web Audio API (and .ogg).
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