IE9: lack of support for Windows XP causing user backlash

February 11th, 2011 - 11:45 am ET by J. G.

Microsoft has released an almost final version of Internet Explorer 9. This release as a modern browser has led to it abandoning an old operating system… Windows XP.

ie9logoMicrosoft has made the Release Candidate of Internet Explorer 9 available for download. This is an almost final version which is full of functions. On two points, this is a major evolution for Internet Explorer.

Besides the user experience, IE9 has become a modern browser with a better performing JavaScript engine, the support of numerous web standards and HTML5. This evolution was necessary to maintain their market share and required future functions as Microsoft is looking to build around cloud computing – something which HTML5 will play a major role in.

Of course, not everything is perfect and the developer regrets leaving a few things out, notably in the HTML5 technology. A crucial point will be Microsoft’s capacity to provide their new browser with everything it needs to keep users happy.
The release of this latest Internet Explorer engine has nevertheless come at a price - no support for Windows XP, with Microsoft turning their back on a past which is still highly present. On Twitter, this is one of the most frequently encountered criticisms surrounding IE9. Another point of contention is in the lack of a spell checker.

With IE9, Microsoft offers full hardware acceleration (via the GPU) and according to the software giant, this requires a recent operating system. This justification has of course not been taken kindly by Mozilla’s community manager, with Asa Dotzler quickly pointing out that Firefox 4 also offers hardware acceleration, with Windows XP users not being sacrificed for this new function.

He writes "Microsoft states that it's not possible to deliver the hardware acceleration and other features it's built into IE 9 but we know that's bullshit not true because Firefox 4 uses Microsoft's very own DirectX APIs to hardware accelerate Web content for Windows 7 and Windows XP users".

Asa Dotzler therefore believes that a company with such resources available abandoning "hundreds of millions of users" is disgraceful. He does recognise that IE9 is a product with a lot of potential though.

According to the latest Net Applications statistics, Windows XP’s market share is greater than 55% (22% for Windows 7 and 12% for Windows Vista).

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