Microsoft Touts IE7+

Unnecessary marketing silliness.

Vista isn’t out yet (and may not be for some considerable time), but it is already starting to annoy me. This is because an irritating trend has begun which I’m hereby naming ”Vista for Vista’s Sake” and Internet Explorer is the latest predictable culprit.


Vista for Vista’s Sake is when a piece of software – be it an application or game – is needlessly withheld from XP users purely to boost sales and further line Microsoft’s pockets. Halo 2 was the first hideous example back in February but, worryingly, it seems the disease is spreading.

The latest case is ‘IE7+’, the newly announced Vista only edition of the not-very-good-and-endlessly-in-beta-IE7. It was unveiled by Tony Schreiner, an MS browser team developer, on his personal blog and was instantly savaged by angry users. Their reaction is understandable too since Schreiner explains in his post that IE7+ primarily adds features such as a “Protected Mode, Parental Controls and improved Network Diagnostics” but otherwise “There are no feature differences between IE7 and IE7+”.

I’m tempted to spell out the all the reasons why this is beyond ridiculous, but they are so perfectly illustrated by the brutal blog feedback that it would be a sin not to transcribe a few:


Friday, May 26, 2006 3:43 PM by Jimbo

Why not IE7 Vista?

Friday, May 26, 2006 4:26 PM by Steve

Are you serious? This is nuts, you _will_ cause more confusion with this, than leaving it as IE7. I can’t wait to hear the tech support calls…

Friday, May 26, 2006 4:52 PM by LinWinOverlord

Are you guys a little loopy? Did you eat too many donuts? Because it is a VERY BAD idea to introduce another name into IE7… Leave it as IE7 and you will not confuse customers! Remember! KISS!!!! You need to keep things simple, or you will wind up in a much worse position! Just sack this idea in “BAD IDEAS-DO NOT RESURRECT!!”

Friday, May 26, 2006 4:53 PM by Kelson

Another possible point of confusion: People often use “+” to refer to “this version and later,” as in “This website feature requires IE6+, Firefox 1+, or Opera 7+.” So “IE7+” could refer to either “IE7 in Vista” or “IE7 and later,” depending on context.

Friday, May 26, 2006 5:52 PM by Cal Jacobson

I was going to say that this was a ‘poor’ naming decision but after about, oh, 5 seconds of thought I decided not to mince words: this is a STUPID decision, for the very reasons mentioned by other posters here. Let’s call a spade a spade: the “plus” is merely to give the illusion that one version of IE is better than another — thus another reason for users to upgrade to Vista (yay, marketing!) — when in fact the features that separate the two will likely not be used by 90% of the population. (I’d say 90%+ of the population, but I didn’t want to confuse anybody in the Sales team there, lest they think I’m referring to a completely different value)

Saturday, May 27, 2006 7:57 AM by Analgesia

I think it’s way to confusing. It’s confusing in the way for example IE5+ is used. It may also be confused with Windows Plus.

Saturday, May 27, 2006 9:34 AM by Mike

This is mind-blowingly silly.


…and this comes from people who regularly read IE development blogs!

Schreiner tried to justify the decision by saying “The IE7+ naming gives us an easy way to refer to this version. (“The version of IE7 in Vista” doesn’t roll off the tongue as easily…)” but instead just made himself look daft. Furthermore, when were “Parental Controls and improved Network Diagnostics” features that “take advantage of big changes in Windows Vista and weren’t practical to bring downlevel (sic).”? It all sounds mighty like Halo 2 requiring “the use of the best available technological platform for Windows games” even though it will be a port of a two year old Xbox title by the time it hits shelves…

Like I said: Vista for Vista’s Sake.

Tony Schreiner’s IE Development Blog

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