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January 17, 2007

Good news and bad news for Internet Explorer 7

Posted by David Hunter at 9:07 AM ET.

Gregg Keizer at InformationWeek observes that Despite 100 Million IE 7 Installs, Microsoft’s Browser Still Loses Ground:

“[As of] January 8th, we had the 100 millionth IE7 installation,” said Tony Chor, an IE group program manager, in an entry on the team’s blog. “Even more important than installations is usage. According to WebSideStory (the company we use to measure browser usage), as of this week, over 25% of all visitors to sites in the U.S. were using IE7, making IE7 the second most used browser after IE6.

That’s not particularly surprising considering you have to beat off IE7 with a stick to keep Automatic Updates and Windows Update from installing it. But here’s the bad news:

While Microsoft had the WebSideStory numbers correct, it didn’t tell the whole story, says Geoff Johnston, an analyst with the Web metrics company. “[The growth of IE 7] seems to be exclusively at the expense of IE 6,” says Johnston. “It’s not eating into the Firefox share at all.”

Firefox’s share of the U.S. browser market, says Johnston, is at 14%, and has continued to grow each of the last three months. “I thought that IE 7 might flatten Firefox’s growth, but it’s not taken a hit from IE 7. All the movement there has been internal, from IE 6 users upgrading,” he says.

Another Web metrics vendor, Net Applications, confirmed the switch to IE 7 in its most recent data, and also noted the continued slide of IE overall.

More details by following the link, but while Internet Explorer (of whatever version) isn’t in imminent danger of being replaced by Firefox, there continues to be a slow, steady erosion of share.

Personally, I haven’t upgraded to IE7 because of a lack of time and inclination to inventory all of my browser add-ins and application programs that use the Internet Explorer HTML rendering engine to see if they are compatible. (See this Microsoft Watch article by Joe Wilcox for some less than salutary IE7 experiences.) Of course, this is why businesses take a more leisurely approach to upgrades than home users or the technorati.

However, I guess there’s a bright side as it turns out that Outlook 2007 users won’t have to worry about any oddities of IE7 because Internet Explorer got fired from the job of rendering HTML email as Microsoft takes email design back 5 years:

As I type this post I still can’t believe it. I’m literally stunned. If you haven’t already heard, I’m talking about the recent news that Outlook 2007, released next month, will stop using Internet Explorer to render HTML emails and instead use the crippled Microsoft Word rendering engine.

Hit the links for a list of what is missing, but crippled isn’t too strong a term. Presumably this move was made for security reasons which seems odd just as IE7 arrived waving the flag of improved security.

Filed under Firefox, IE7, Internet Explorer, Microsoft, Office, Office 2007, Open Source, Outlook, Word

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