With the success of Firefox it isn’t surprising Microsoft has been harping on about IE7 since February. There have been over 100m downloads of its rival browser since version 1.0 appeared late in November 2004 and the arrival of Firefox version 1.5 appears to be the final straw. The beast is fighting back.
Dean Hachamovitch, head of the IE team (and hereby renamed ‘Sleeping Beauty’ since IE6 debuted four years ago), has confirmed that a public beta of IE7 will be available to the general public from Q1 next year. “We want to make sure that everyone has an opportunity to try a pre-release version of IE7 and tell us how it works with their web sites, their applications, their add-ons, and how they use the web overall,” confirmed Sleeping Beauty on his blog.
Its arrival could coincide with the public release of Windows Vista Beta 2 and I wouldn’t be surprised if IE7 carries the same preview status. After all, there seems little point in putting out mismatched operating system apps as the software monolith gets into the business end of testing.
From my (admittedly Firefox tinted) view, Q1 is the absolute latest Microsoft wants to be doing this considering the widespread acceptance Mozilla’s browser has gathered in a relatively short time. I’ve had version 1.5 installed on my system for a couple of days now and (apart from some incompatible third party extensions) it has been a joy to use. In fact, the gap between Firefox and IE6 has become so huge I barely know a soul who tries to defend Microsoft anymore.
Even long time IE stalwart Jalal has reluctantly hopped ship and for that to happen Microsoft really should be worried…