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 new IE version before the next major update to
Windows, code-named Longhorn, arrives next year.
Of course there is a temptation to argue that this turnaround has come about largely because of the popularity of Firefox and increased security concerns about Internet Explorer. I doubt very much that Microsoft would agree that Firefox has really had much on an impact on this decision. Bill Gates did say that
"Browsing is definitely a point of vulnerability". Glad to see he is acknowledging this in public. While I am not about to convert to Internet Explorer from Firefox, this is a good sign.
The official line from the Internet Explorer blog is as follows:
Today at RSA, Bill Gates talked about Internet Explorer 7. As the
guy responsible for IE, I wanted to say a couple of things about it.
some basics: we’re committing to deliver a new version of Internet
Explorer for Windows XP customers. Betas of IE7 will be available this
summer. This new release will build on the work we did in Windows XP
SP2 and (among other things) go further to defend users from phishing
as well as deceptive or malicious software.
Why? Because we
listened to customers, analysts, and business partners. We heard a
clear message: “Yes, XP SP2 makes the situation better. We want more,
sooner. We want security on top of the compatibility and extensibility
IE gives us, and we want it on XP. Microsoft, show us your
I think of today’s announcement as a clear statement back to our customers: “Hey, Microsoft heard you. We’re committing.??
are we talking about it today? Because our customers and partners have
asked us, with increasing urgency, what our plans are. We want to
convey our intentions to our customers and partners clearly and in a
Again, encouraging words. Bearing in mind that the vast majority of people are still using Internet Explorer, this is a very important development for those people, whatever you may think about Internet Explorer yourself.
One thing the success of Firefox has done is woken up Microsoft,
originally they had planned no updates to IE until the release of their
next generation operating system codenamed Longhorn. However, the
amazing success of Firefox has meant that Microsoft has had to make
plans to release an updated version of IE with improved security.
This can only be a good thing, competition is once again sparking
progress on the Internet, on the downside they have not yet announced
any useful features (tabbed browsing for example) or improved standards
support. To continue improving the online experience of all it’s as
important now more than ever to promote Firefox, they’re hoping that
all the hype prior to their release of IE7 will drown out all the talk
of Firefox, of course with such a dedicated community that will not