It was more or less clear that Microsoft's upcoming web browser Internet Explorer 10 would not support Windows XP, considering that Internet Explorer 9 did not support the operating system as well. Windows Vista users on the other hand were caught by surprise that their operating system would not be supported by IE10 as well.
If you read through the lengthy legal script during installation of the Internet Explorer 10 Platform Preview 1 you may notice the following passage:
You may install and use any number of copies of the software on your premises to test how it runs with your programs on Windows 7 Operating Systems.
You do not really have to read through the legal agreement during installation to see the list of compatible operating systems. If you open the browser's release notes you will notice the following under system requirements:
The Internet Explorer Platform Preview requires Windows 7 (x86 or x64) Operating System. Platform Preview 4 and later require updates to be installed on Windows 7 systems, after which your computer will require a restart.
Windows Vista users who try to install the platform preview of Internet Explorer 10 get the message that it does not support any operating system earlier than Windows 7.
Does that mean that Internet Explorer 10 will only run on Windows 7? For now it does, but it will change with the release of Windows 8. It is rumored that Microsoft will ship Internet Explorer 10 with Windows 8, which means that the browser would support both Windows 7 and Windows 8.
While there are not that many Vista users left who can be irritated by Microsoft's move to exclude their operating system from the next version of Internet Explorer, there are some who have criticized Microsoft for that decision.
Microsoft's official response, according to Computerworld was that they are continuing to drive innovation by utilizing improvements of modern operating systems and modern hardware.
Is this now Microsoft's attempt to lure Vista users into upgrading their operating system? While it may look like that on first glance, it is unlikely that any user would upgrade the operating system for a new web browser, especially since there are numerous alternatives available.
Concentration on Windows 7 and Windows 8 could on the other hand lead to improvements if Microsoft manages to utilize features that are native to those operating systems. For now, we are left in the dark what those might be. An educated guess would put touch capabilities at the top of the list.
What are your thoughts on Microsoft's decision? Oh, and take a look at Mike's article on the first preview release of Internet Explorer 10 if you run Windows 7 or an early version of Windows 8.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.