IE7: An opportunity for Firefox

CommentaryMicrosoft announced IE7 today. While security enhancements are always good, there’s no obvious incentive for Firefox users to turn back to IE.

Arguably, security enhancements are worth announcing. But version switches only make sense when new features are introduced, or when the code base is heavily reengineered. Thus, why not simply make it an IE6.x?

The name IE7 leads me to expect something. A better, bugless implementation of XHTML, CSS and XSLT, as well as a built-in news feed syndicator (equivalent to Live Bookmarks in Firefox) is the very least I’d expect as an end-user. More importantly, IE7 will probably not be worth my time as a web-application developper if there is no XAML support — though SVG and XForms support might compensate well enough.

The fishy thing with this IE7 announcement is that while there is more incentive for IE users to stick to IE, there’s no incentive for Firefox users to turn back to IE. In the meanwhile, I think there might be an opportunity for Firefox to gain market shares in the business world, by promoting XUL — until XAML delivers.