IE9 side stepped Windows XP and IE10 will skip over Windows Vista.
Microsoft has published a first Platform Preview of Internet Explorer 10 for Windows... but only for Windows 7. This preliminary version can only be installed on Windows 7 (x86 or x64). From the fourth preview release, it will also be necessary to install operating system updates.
The surprise though is that we find no mention in the version notes of Windows Vista. This isn’t just a mistake on Microsoft’s part as any attempt to install it on this operating system will fail. With this to be the same story for the final release of IE10.
In an email sent to Computerworld, a Microsoft spokesman indicated that Windows Vista users will have a "great browsing experience with IE9, but in building IE10 we are focused on continuing to drive the kind of innovation that only happens when you take advantage of the ongoing improvements in modern operating systems and modern hardware".
These are similar arguments being put forward as to why IE9 is not available to Windows XP users. The decision is rather surprising for Windows Vista though, as Microsoft has released software libraries so that applications developed under Windows 7 will keep the same aspect in Windows Vista, including the addition of functions made available by DirectX 11. Could the simple absence of a new taskbar be the fatal blow for Windows Vista?
For the moment, we don’t really know where Microsoft is planning on going with IE10. Probably further than simply providing support for the new standards which have appeared with the Platform Preview, otherwise why would they abandon Windows Vista. Like with Windows 7, hardware acceleration in IE9 is possible in Windows Vista (SP2).
According to Net Applications, Windows Vista’s global market share is 10.5% compared to 24.2% for Windows 7 and 54.4% for Windows XP. Windows Vista therefore appears to be on the path to extinction, with it now being a launching pad for Windows 7.