November 11, 2003

Internet Explorer is dead almost dead just limping along

No more Internet Explorer releases? Apparently that wasn’t quite true. MS is readying IE6sp2 to be released sometime next year. I’m almost positive this has to do with the whole Eolas thing, so now you’ll have to click OK in a pop-up box before you can view a Flash file. But that isn’t the only change MS is making to the browser; they’re also going to be adding pop-up blocking features, like Mozilla and Opera have. This was a little surprising to hear. I thought they were only releasing this updated browser in response to the Eolas issue. I didn’t think they’d be slipping anything else in there, especially since they’d already delcared that IE as we know it is dead. But now it’s looking like since they know they have to have at least one more version, the IE team might want to slip in some of the whizzier features they’ve been working on for Longhorn. Just to get the buzz buzzing a little more for this long-time-coming-long-time-left operating system. By putting these features in, they’re doing their usual embrace and extend dance with the marketplace, making most of the pop-up blocking software out there obsolete. But they might also use it as a little bit of an advance marketing message for Longhorn. “If you like pop-up blocking, just wait until you see what we’ve got in store for you in ‘06!” I wouldn’t put it past them.

And the optimist lurking deep down inside of me wonders what else the IE team might try to slip into this release. I’m sure they’re well aware that their proud baby IE6 has gone from the darling of the Internet to the laughingstock, just because Mozilla and Opera have brushed by it so well and so far. Could they possibly be readying a version of the Longhorn rendering engine to slip into IE? A version that solves some of the problems that IE6 has taken so much slack for, like its haphazard CSS support and PNG transparency problems? Might they be slipping these advances into this new SP2, just to pull in a bit of good PR and douse their critics? One can only hope. Now that we know they’re actually adding features instead of just mucking with stuff to make it Eolas-compatible, the floodgates of speculation are open. Will IE6sp2 turn out to be the IE7 that we’ve all been waiting for?

Breath is not being held.

Filed under The Computer Vet Weblog

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