Microsoft's IEBlog was updated on Wednesday with an announcement that a new preview of Internet Explorer 10 will be launched for Windows 7 in mid-November. A final version of the popular Microsoft-baked browser won't arrive until after the Redmond company collects developer and customer feedback.
"IE10 on Windows 7 has the same standards based platform for developers to target as IE10 on Windows 8," said Rob Mauceri, Group Program Manager, Internet Explorer. "We built an entirely new browser with Windows 8, with more performance and developer capabilities. IE10 brings improved real-world site performance and additional standards support to Windows 7 that Web developers have been asking for. We look forward to getting your feedback on IE10 on Windows 7, and will provide another update when the preview is available."
Some were quick to be critical of Microsoft's release strategy. "A preview, really?" writes one frustrated reader. "100k people and you can't develop anything in time." Another reader asked how long it could take to re-brand Internet Explorer 9 while another said the preview is simply too little too late. One reader even assumed it was more difficult than predicted for Microsoft to port Internet Explorer 10 from Windows 8.
Is Windows 7 already shoved to the back-burner? CNET's Mary Jo Foley brings up a good point: it's been almost a year and a half since Microsoft released a test build of Internet Explorer 10 for Windows 7. Since its release, Microsoft officials have refused to comment as to why additional builds haven't been released, or when the final product will ship.
But the answer should be rather obvious: Microsoft set aside development for the Windows 7 platform so that it could focus on Internet Explorer 10 for Windows 8, as Mauceri suggests. After all, the new platform is Microsoft's major focus, and the new Internet Explorer is already baked right in. That said, the one reader is probably right: Microsoft is busy porting what it can from the final Windows 8 version to the older OS.
According to CNET, this next Internet Explorer 10 release for Windows 7 will be a full-blown browser with the UI intact, not just another developer preview.