Windows 7 users who have found themselves envious of their Windows 8 counterparts able to use the new Internet Explorer (IE) 10 Web browser will now get their shot at the new system, as starting today, IE 10 will now be available for Windows 7 users as well from a free download.
IE 10 came about largely as the result of significant hardware advances, but also as something of a sea change on Microsoft's part, in which, according to the general manager for Internet Explorer at Microsoft, Ryan Gavin, "We've stopped the era of trying to maximize for aggregate browser share." This has also led to improvements in development, leading Gavin to further report that developers had more time overall to spend on actually developing new applications for the platform.
What's more, Microsoft is actively touting the new standards that IE 10 meets, including several in CSS3--like CSS Text Shadow and CSS3 Transitions and Animations--and the increasingly popular HTML5 platform. The comparison between IE 10 and its predecessor is astonishing to say the least; Microsoft claims a full 60 percent improvement in standards compliance.
Basically, IE10 represents a better, faster, and more stable way to conduct standard Web surfing and represents what looks like the start of many more improvements to come thanks to an overall environment that's just a step above what it was offering previously. This is a great step forward for Microsoft overall, who will truly have a browser that can compete with the improved competition for some time to come.
But there's still a significant disadvantage for Microsoft here, especially given how many computers out there are still running Windows Vista, or even Windows XP. That's limiting how many computers can even get in on the new and improved IE10, and giving competitors like Firefox and Chrome a substantial window of opportunity to not just get, but also hold, users. Users satisfied with their current browser aren't likely to change when they get a new PC, unless there's a significant added value associated with making the migration.
Make no mistake, however...IE10 is going to be a force to be reckoned with. When users ultimately make their migration to Windows 7 and Windows 8 PCs, which is really only a matter of time, they'll find an impressive browser pre-loaded and waiting for them to try. The browser wars may be getting a little shift in Microsoft's favor in the near-term future.
Edited by Brooke Neuman