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Microsoft's Internet Explorer 9 Debacle: Windows XP Users Get Left out in the Cold
George Ross, March 22, 2011

Ever since Firefox and Chrome started chipping away at Internet Explorer's market share Microsoft has had a good enough attitude with its Internet Explorer browser. Now that Microsoft has released it's much hyped Internet Explorer 9 last week it finally put out a browser that has a nice clean user interface, graphics hardware acceleration, and HTML 5 support. In my opinion the past two Internet Explorer releases didn't improve much over Internet Explorer 6, but with Internet Explorer 9 Microsoft has started offering a modern browser that people would actually want to use. The only serious drawback I see with Microsoft's latest browser is the fact that it will only run on Windows Vista and 7. No Windows XP version is offered and it appears that there never will be one. Now this could be viewed as a move by Microsoft to try and lead users away from Windows XP (which still has a 48% market share of installed operating systems according to GlobalStats as of February 2011) or it could just be that it was simply beyond Microsoft's ability to retrofit Internet Explorer 9 to run on Windows XP. The former is more likely as Microsoft has had little success thus far in getting corporations and businesses to move away from their ageing Windows XP operating system. I guess they view it as they have to offer some incentive to try and get people to come off some cash and upgrade, but do to the current economic downturn (at least here in the USA) corporations and businesses are still clinging to Windows XP as there is no real benefit in upgrading. With Internet Explorer's market share standing at 45.44% (according to GlobalStats as of February 2011) Microsoft may want to rethink this move as both Chrome and Firefox are offering graphics acceleration and HTML5 support for Windows XP users. So they have created a situation where in order to enjoy the latest and greatest the web has to offer with the most popular operating system in the world your only solution will be to install a competitor's web browser. To me this doesn't sound like a good deal for the future of Internet Explorer. For Microsoft it is sort of a catch 22. Do they make Windows XP users happy and give them a modern web browser for free or do they try and entice users to into upgrading their operating system and hopefully make some money? For Microsoft the choice is clear, but from purely a user standpoint it is hard not to move away from Internet Explorer at this point in time when the folks you work for don't want to spend the money to better your web experience when it can be done for free. It will be interesting to see if Microsoft bends to the will of the people.

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