Looks like Microsoft has seen the error of their ways when it comes to developing a web browser. Hackers and malicious software writers are going to keep poking holes in your product if you don’t keep innovating and keep changing it, and your users will grudgingly accept it but quietly hate you if you don’t add features and functionality and essentially hang you out to dry.
Like some people I’ve heard who read this story claimed, “Sounds like they finally heard of Firefox.” While I’m not going to completely draw that comparison, it definitely sounds like Microsoft sees the success of Firefox’s frequently updated builds and versions, and the rapid ability to add features and close bugs and holes by releasing a new version every couple of months, and wants to duplicate that success and flexibility on the developer’s end. It doesn’t hurt to drive marketing and anticipation for your product when you can communicate to the community what features are coming in the next release.
The Information Week article says:
Speaking at Microsoft’s MIX06 conference in Las Vegas for Web developers, Gates said Microsoft’s Internet Explorer version 7 Web browser, expected later this year, is long overdue, and the company plans more frequent browser updates in the future. Microsoft released a refreshed version of its “beta 2 preview” of Internet Explorer 7 on Monday.
As technologies and programming tools for the Web change rapidly to allow software that spans a PC’s hard drive and the Internet, Microsoft has been too slow to update its Web browser, said Gates. While Microsoft was busy assembling a platform of technologies for programming online apps, its browser had lost market share to the open-source Firefox software and Apple Computer’s browser in the years since an IE upgrade. “In a sense, we’re doing a mea culpa and saying we waited too long to do a new browser release,” said Gates. Microsoft plans to release updates to IE more frequently, perhaps as often as every 9 months to a year. “IE7 is not the end of the line,” he said.
This is definitely good news. IE 7 is definitely an improvement by leaps and bounds over IE6, and is definitely something to give Firefox a good run for its money as a full-featured modern browser, but time will tell whether or not it’s the best or whether or not waiting for the release of Vista is just too long a wait to stop the Firefox parade from rolling on.