Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002


So it’s official: Microsoft have announced Internet Explorer 7.0 (more at the IE Blog). MozillaZine has some good background information so I’d encourage you to go there rather than me contributing further to the echo chamber. But the core difference is that this won’t be a Longhorn-only release, instead MS have done a U-turn and said that it will be available for Windows XP SP2 customers as well.
As a Firefox enthusiast I’ve obviously got my opinions about how this will affect Firefox. Asa has a good take on this but personally I don’t think it’s going to have a major effect in the long-run. Here’s why:

  1. It’ll only run on XP and Longhorn. Windows 2000 may get a look-in but the 5% or so running Windows 98 will be left out. Users of these operating systems will either have to upgrade to XP or can switch to Firefox.
  2. The beta is due this summer, but it’s likely that a final release may be as long as a year away. By that time, if current trends continue, Firefox will have been downloaded over 100 million times and command around 25% of the browser market.
  3. Unless IE7 offers some significant advantages over Firefox – faster startup/browsing, greater usability etc. – people are unlikely to switch back.

I’d have to agree to a comment on Asa’s blog that this sounds more like a ‘hang in there’ announcement. MS have realised that they’re losing users, and so have had to make a U-turn and then let people know that there is an update coming before everyone jumps ship.
What does remain to be seen is what changes to the rendering engine we can expect. Proper support for transparent PNGs? XHTML? CSS2?
Of course, this leaves Dean Edwards’ IE7 project needing a new name. 🙂
In the same announcement, Bill Gates said that Microsoft AntiSpyware will be free. It had been speculated that it would be sold as a commercial product after its beta cycle but now it’ll be free for everyone. Good news – it’s a very good program.


  1. IE7

    Neil brings news that Microsoft have announced IE7. Apparently it’s going to be focused on security, with seemingly no mention of standards support. It is good to see that MS finally realise that security is an issue – I’d like to see normal computer u…

  2. Next IE update divorced from Windows

    A beta, or test, version of Internet Explorer 7 will debut this summer, Microsoft’s chairman and chief software architect said in a keynote address at the RSA Conference 2005 here. The company had said that it would not ship a…

  3. Of course us Linux users aren’t about to install IE7 anytime soon either, so Firefox will continue being developed even if the rest of the Windows world fell in love with it.
    The anouncement of WUS being released in mid-March is pretty exciting too, I’ve been looking forward to that for months.

  4. I’ll never stop bugging you about this Neil:
    ” Users of these operating systems will either have to upgrade to XP or can switch to Firefox.”
    Or Opera? At least give it a mention, be fair to the underdog eh?

  5. I gather you’re in Leeds, Neil? My dad’s from Leeds, but I was born in Sweden – where I’ve also been living since then.

  6. I live in Bradford actually, which is the next town. But near enough 🙂

  7. OK. I’ve had fish ‘n’ chips in Bradford anyway 🙂