Thursday, July 28, 2005

Internet Explorer 7 beta released

It's been almost four years since Microsoft refreshed its venerable Internet Explorer browser. But Internet Explorer 7 for XP Beta isn't a Mozilla Firefox killer -- far from it. Microsoft's limited availability for IE 7 should only open the door wider for competing browsers to steal even more market share in the months to come. Given the high expectations, I am unimpressed with the IE 7 for XP Beta.

Microsoft does improve printing capabilities within IE 7 for XP. No longer will you have to contend with truncated pages; in IE 7 for XP, the pages will be reduced to fit the printed page.

Only those running Windows XP SP2 will be able to run the latest version of IE. This is Microsoft's way of forcing non-Windows XP SP2 users to upgrade. Those still running Windows 2000, ME or even 98 SE will be forced to continue using IE 6 or commit to a Windows XP OS upgrade. This strategy could backfire, giving rivals Mozilla Firefox and Netscape an even bigger slice of the browser pie, especially among those wanting RSS feeds now.

unless you already have Windows XP SP2 installed, IE 7 for XP won't be available for you. I think that's a dumb approach, and see Microsoft's marketing fumble as a definite win for Mozilla Firefox and Netscape. I am not convinced that the security features touted in IE 7 will be enough to stave off the almost monthly security patches required to keep IE secure.

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