Microsoft this week launched the first beta for Internet Explorer 9, and most early reviews are positive. IE9 brings Microsoft's web browser up to modern standards, and that forward, progressive attitude is applying to operating systems as well – because the new Internet Explorer will never be on Windows XP.
In ditching Windows XP, the IE development team has been able to integrate IE9 into Windows 7 at a far better level than any browser yet. While multi-platform browsers like Firefox or Chrome perform well on Windows 7, IE9 has the advantage of being focused on modern Windows and has features such as webpage pinning and custom jump lists.
One of the issues, however, is that Windows XP is still the most commonly used version of Windows. From a pure user base perspective, it's odd that the biggest piece of the pie is ignored. But for a "free" piece of software like IE, Microsoft could be counting on IE9 driving some upgrades licenses from XP to Windows 7.
Another reason is that Microsoft had to leave Windows XP behind to remain competitive in the browser market, which is moving ahead with new features such as hardware acceleration.
Ryan Gavin, senior director of IE business and marketing, told the Register, "A modern web needs a modern operating system," and that Microsoft would "continue to focus on how we do a great job with Windows 7."