Final Version of Internet Explorer 7 Now Available
Microsoft today released the long-awaited version of the Internet Explorer 7 browser for the Windows XP operating system. It is the first major new version of Internet Explorer since 2001.
IE 7 for Windows XP is available as a free download, and it also will be offered as a high-priority update via Microsoft's Automatic Updates service starting in November.
(Read PC World's extensive review of IE 7's features compared with those in the latest version of Mozilla's popular Firefox 2.0 browser.)
IE 7, which shares roughly 50 percent of IE 6's code, runs on Windows XP Service Pack 2, Windows XP 64-bit Edition, and Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1. Initially available only in English, it will be available in other languages in the coming weeks, Microsoft said.
This IE 7 is a "subset" of the version of IE 7 that will be included as part of Windows Vista, the next version of Microsoft's client OS. Vista's version of IE 7 will contain two additional security features--protected mode and parental controls--than the version of the browser that runs on XP. Vista is on track to ship to business customers in November and to the general public in January 2007, according to Microsoft.
Some of the new features available in IE 7 include built-in support for RSS (really simple syndication) feeds, tabbed browsing and improved security, including an antiphishing filter that helps ensure users are not providing personal information to known phishing sites. The antiphishing feature also includes site analysis to try and warn about previously unknown phishing sites.
With IE 7, Microsoft hopes to win back some browser market share it's lost to Mozilla's open-source Firefox browser, and according to the latest figures from OneStat.com, an Web analytics company, early releases of IE 7 seem to be doing just that.
According to OneStat.com figures published earlier this month, IE globally has 85.85 percent market share, an increase in share of 2.8 percent since July 2006. Firefox's market share is currently 11.49 percent, according to the firm, a decrease of 1.44 percent since July.
For the United States, IE currently enjoys an 80.77 percent share, with Firefox at 14.88 percent. This is compared with measurements made in July by OneStat.com, which showed IE with a 79.7 percent share and Firefox with 15.82 percent of the market.