Microsoft have announced that they will release a Preview version of IE10 for Windows 7 in mid November. Microsoft’s IEBlog states “final availability to follow” so there is not yet any release date for the final version – it seem almost certain that it will be delayed until next year which is disappointing.
IE10 has been a long time in the making – it was first announced way back in April 2011. Whereas Google and Mozilla release new versions of Chrome and Firefox every one and a half months, Microsoft have taken over one and a half years to develop a replacement for IE9.
IE10 builds upon IE9 functionality, especially in the areas of HTML5 support, hardware acceleration and CSS3 support. It is already included within Windows 8 which launches next week so it seems strange that the same browser for Windows 7 is not yet complete, considering how technically similar both operating systems are behind the scenes.
One factor that may be responsible for the delay is that Adobe’s Flash Player is integrated within W8′s IE10 (like it is in Chrome) so will be kept up to date as part of the monthly Windows Update process. However, IE10 for Windows 7 will not have Flash Player integrated so users will have to continue updating it by installing new versions released by Adobe.
IE10 will never be available for Windows Vista or XP so those users will be stuck with IE9 or IE8 respectively – they should really take the hint and switch to a modern browser (e.g. Chrome or Firefox) which receives ongoing development and new features to keep pace with browser standards.
Reactions to the announcement on Microsoft’s blog post have been mixed – some are grateful that IE10 will be coming to Windows 7 whereas others are unhappy that it has been delayed for so long – typified by the comment: “Either release a browser more than once a year, or give up. It’s simple as that”.
There are two particularly disgruntled groups – Vista users and Developers:
Users who bought a new Vista computer just 3 years ago are excluded from IE10. Even in today’s rapidly changing tech world, a 3 year old Vista SP2 PC is not an antique – the operating system is still supported and the hardware in an expensive PC might even be as powerful as a cheap new PC today. They are perhaps right to be annoyed by the lack of ongoing browser support for them – one consolation for Microsoft is that there are so few users of Vista left to complain – it has less than 10% of the market now.
Developers are also unhappy at the lack of time to test and provide feedback before IE10 is launched in Windows 8 this month – as they could not previously test IE10 on Windows 7.