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Misinformation about the IE7 announcement

Nick Finck

February 15, 2005 at 2:06 PM

As many of you may already know during his keynote address at the RSA conference, Bill Gates announced that Microsoft will be releasing a new beta version of Internet Explorer 7.0 for XP SP2 this summer. Going off only official news there seems to be some misinformation already circulating. As we understand it there won't be any version available for the Mac, much less for other platforms other than XP with service pack 2 ("Microsoft Internet Explorer for Windows XP Service Pack 2 customers"). The release is also identified as simply a beta to go along with the Longhorn beta release ("The beta release is scheduled to be available this summer."). The release has only been identified as a security update, which means the rendering engine could still be identical to that in IE6 ("Internet Explorer 7.0, designed to add new levels of security to Windows XP SP2 while maintaining the level of extensibility and compatibility that customers have come to expect."). That said, I think it may be Fall before we see any new IE7 (non-beta) and I am not so convinced that it will be a standalone browser at all... much less offer any improved standards support.

Comments

John

February 15, 2005 at 4:36 PM

I have to say that I agree with you. This seems more like a publicity opportunity in the current mini browser wars skirmish. Shame about all those people that may update their browser but wont attempt to update their version of Windows just for the pleasure of using Bill's new version of IE.

Roy

February 15, 2005 at 7:40 PM

I refuse to be pessimistic about this announcement. Microsoft may prove me wrong but I can't imagine them releasing an IE7 with only security updates and interface improvements. The standards crowd has been very vocal and Microsoft knows what needs to be done. Surely IE7 will have some improved standards support just maybe not all that we would like. I'm looking forward to the beta.

Nick Finck

February 15, 2005 at 10:31 PM

Roy, I hate to be the bringer of bad news but Microsoft's own developers are saying that it will only be a security update. The real issue is if it will be standalone or not. It may just end up being a beta release integrated right into the Longhorn beta release. Odds are not looking in your favor.

Eddie Traversa

February 16, 2005 at 1:32 AM

Nick, Scoble posted this some months back, it suggests that IE7 is new kettle of fish and implies many features that werent announced today. Of course it could mean that the executives squashed a lot of features, but at least to me it implies that they werent working on an update of the IE6 rendering engine as that couldnt compete with Firefox, but rather were rebuilding IE7 from ground up. "Speaking of which, Dean Hachamovitch the other day showed me prototypes of the next Internet Explorer. I got to see them before he even showed them to other executives. He told me I could say about that much (I wanted to post screen captures on my blog, but he turned down that request, bummer). I'll add in that if they ship about half of what they showed me that I'll uninstall Firefox. Of course, I'm guessing that it'll probably be a year before any of us will get any bits to look at and I'm sure that Asa, Ben and the other devs over on the Firefox team won't twiddle their fingers. It sure will be an interesting competition."

Nick Finck

February 16, 2005 at 9:55 AM

No offence, but Scoble doesn't working in the IE7 development team. While I do think he has some pretty reliable information, I am taking the information he posted himself to his own blog from a developer on the project. I think the post was made yesterday AM. I'll look for a link to it.

Eddie Traversa

February 16, 2005 at 1:51 PM

Nick, no offence taken. I think it is prudent to remember that the information came from a talk Bill Gates made about security, where he mentioned IE as part of three things, anti-virus, anti-spyware and security for IE. It wasnt a talk about IE as such, but about improved security features that MS were working on. MS employees are under an NDA over IE and as such can only reference what Gates said about security. However,I dont think people like the head of the IE team would be making public statements that IE7 would offer an "unparalled browsing expereince" if the browser was just about security updates. That could just be marketing hype, but if so he is setting MS up for an almight backlash in making statements like that if they are not credible. He made that statement on his blog today and specifically mentioned that Web developers were part of the group that MS have been listening to. I beleive Scoble becuase he has seen the new IE7 and while he didnt specify features becuase of an NDA, the way he talked about it suggested a new browser, not an updated IE6. That doesnt mean that MS have backtracked and scraped the version that they were working on a few months ago and went back to IE6, it only means that there are indications that isnt the case. That information I posted also comes from his blog. http://radio.weblogs.com/0001011/2004/10/15.html#a8416 The bottom line though is we really wont know until the beta is released and i think the conjecture around IE is just that at the moment, conjecture...

Nick Finck

February 16, 2005 at 2:10 PM

Eddie, I agree in part. I think it's all just speculation, but when I see media companies out there "suggesting" that it is something more than speculation I have to wonder why such people insist on making something out of nothing. With IE7 it's simple: we don't know yet. We don't know anything more than what is within one press release and one MSDN post. That is it. Anything more is pure hogwash, spin, or misinformation.

Chris

February 17, 2005 at 5:33 AM

At the end of the day, until MS releases something that actually adheres properly to standards, I'll stick with Firefox thanks.

Will Chatham

February 17, 2005 at 12:36 PM

This announcement is merely an attempt at damage control. MS and IE have had a lot of negative press since Firefox 1.0 came out, and to announce IE7 on the same day that Firefox hits 25,000,000 downloads is a little too coincidental. They did succeed inasmuch as the IE7 news being all over the place, and the FF news being not so prevalent.

Warpozio

February 18, 2005 at 3:56 PM

Until MS releases a list with things to fix (think CSS, PNG, etc) I'm not even thinking of using IE again ;)

c

March 1, 2005 at 2:08 PM

in CSS, and fix calculations of percentages in margins when you use a xhtml 1.1 doctype. The rest will be 'SV2', which will be more half-hearted attempts to catch up with lacking features. i just don't see them writing a new browser from the ground up if it'll have to simulate the old engine to remain backwards compatible. Easier to just hack and bodge existing code. Bottom line is that Firefox isn't going to make IE go away - ever - so MS don't need to try hard. They're just addressing the concerns of large corps worried about all the recent media coverage of bugs and holes. Before you believe the hype and press releases, go read the existing claims about IE6 on the MS website. They say it's the best browser with standards support and security etc etc etc... and all of this was there before SP2. As IBM used to say, Think.

c

March 1, 2005 at 2:18 PM

My previous post was cropped at the top! I basically said there'd probably be a couple of minor CSS fixes like adjacent child selectors, and 3 rendering modes (quirks (ie5), semi-standard (ie6) and full standards (new)). I doubt it'll even do :before and :after content. It'll be to IE6 what IE6 was to IE5.5... If it is a complete rewrite, I would be truely shocked and wonder what has caused such a big change at MS. But... Don't let the better starndards complience distract you. Pay attention to the new proprietary stuff that comes with it...

Zach

May 11, 2005 at 11:34 AM

This is an old post - but I just wanted to say that they have since confirmed many things - no question that this is, if nothing else, a major extension to what they have today Alpha PNG support has been confirmed - tabs have been hinted at (and may have been confirmed by now), fixing the CSS irregularities has been confirmed - amongst many other things. and on a note on the last comment - But... Don't let the better starndards complience distract you. Pay attention to the new proprietary stuff that comes with it... We better hope they have proprietary stuff, new stuff, in it. Every major browser today, other than IE, is only building towards standard support - thats fine and dandy - but if IE went that route - than in 100 years - you have nothing new. We need someone to keep pushing the bubble, inventing, creating, improving, imagining what could be next - or it the internet as a whole will suffer. Like Microsoft or not - almost all the standards of today started off in life as a one browser only thing by either IE or Netscape. - And Microsoft has the responsibility to its investors to create new things that will keep users using their products, IE is no different - their requirements (and it is an actual requirement, mandated by Federal Laws, to attempt to achieve a return on investment for investors) and responsibilites to their investors will keep them pushing out new ideas, methods, and products that go hand in hand with IE, or work in IE

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