The Microsoft Internet Explorer team posted on their blog today a note saying they will make IE 7 more widely available: to people who don’t have genuine windows and all XP users.
Why is Microsoft doing this? They say that it is because “Microsoft takes its commitment to help protect the entire Windows ecosystem seriously.”
My opinion on this is that they are finding that those with cracked/non-genuine Windows are stuck on IE 6 and even though that is not Microsoft’s fault, the security holes in that browser gives a bad image for Microsoft.
I also wonder if they are doing this to challenge the rising popularity of other browsers such as Firefox and Safari.
Anyway, those are just my initial quick thoughts.
Its a good move
From a web development perspective alone, I think this is a good thing:
For web developers IE6 has long replaced Netscape 4 as the annoying browser to cater for given all its CSS rendering bugs and DOM deficiencies.
IE 7 is a vast improvement over IE 6.
The less people using IE 6 the better for them and for us web developers!
That being said, IE 7 is still not up to speed with CSS and DOM support as the other modern browsers but in my opinion requires far less alternative CSS rules for example.
Or is it?…
Or, is it a good move?
If Microsoft regains its dominant market share of a few years ago (approx 95%) will it just sit on its browser and not do much with it again, thus slowing down overall progress as before?
(I’ll expand on this last point in another post!)
To be fair, there are enough signs that Microsoft’s IE team is far more committed to standards support etc than before, with people like Chris Wilson and Molly Holzschlag and various others there who “get it.”
Its near impossible to predict the future, but another way to put the above concern is as follows:
What would I prefer:
- The current situation with IE 6 so prevelant
- Microsoft regaining its dominant near monopoly browser market share with IE 7
- IE 7 replacing many instances of IE 6, but being a browser amongst a diverse ecosystem of web browsers all competing by using standards as a basis for innovation, not proprietary stuff as the basis (as was the case in the Netscape 4 vs IE 4+ browser wars)
I think I would prefer the 3rd option…