Microsoft pretends to care

IEBlog | IE7: [Microsoft is] committing to deliver a new version of Internet Explorer for Windows XP customers. Some immediate thoughts:

  • This is only for Win XP SP2, so MS is still trying to force users to upgrade their OS just to get a better browser. To put it another way: MS is still saying 'fuck you' to anyone who hasn't upgraded to their latest, greatest and soon-to-be-replaced OS.
  • It's unlikely that they would have bothered with this unless Firefox had started gaining marketshare. Firefox, Opera, hell even Netscape 7 are all far superior browsers and have been for some time.
  • It's also unlikely that they would have bothered if Longhorn's release date hadn't slipped.
  • MS will no doubt claim they are wonderful for adding features which long ago became 'standard' in other browsers... eg. popup blocking, tabbed browsing, easy plugin controls.
  • I hear that this IE7 release uses a new/modified rendering engine so I guess we'll have to figure out all the new bugs.
  • That said, the press release etc all focus on this being an 'improvement for security' so this could all just be a massive security patch with added marketing.

So... overall... I guess it's better for MS to at least roll out a new browser for XP, even if they're not making it available to existing customers with other products. That said, there's no indication yet as to whether IE7 will support web standards or isolate itself from the OS a little better.

It's just MS scrambling to stem the flow of users moving away from IE... MS doesn't like that because they want their users to remain docile. The do not want people to think for themselves, or - worst of all - consider and switch to non-MS alternatives. Once people switch from IE to Firefox they're that much more likely to switch to OpenOffice or an email client like Eudora or Thunderbird. MS is the AOL of software - as far as they are concerned the less their users have to think, the better.


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