Earlier this week in my Which will come first? entry, I mentioned there were rumors IE7 would be coming out sometime this month. Today, IEBlog has announced one last Expert Zone Chat this coming Thursday (10/12) prior to the release of IE7. Now, this is hinting IE7 could be coming out as early as Friday. Again I should stress if there is a release this week it is only going to be for on demand installs. This means users will have to download and install the application themselves, in lieu of it being pushed through as a Windows Critical Update. IE7 will eventually be pushed through via the Windows Update method, but this likely won’t happen until sometime in November.
While I woud have loved to have seen Firefox 2.0 be the first out (had they been able to adhere to the original release schedule for late September they would have been), this may actually work out in Firefox’s favor. I am sure folks are going to jump on the IE7 bandwagon and download it as soon as it comes out. This will give them a couple weeks to play (and get frustrated, irritated, tired, etc) with IE7.
By the time Firefox 2 is released the novelty of IE7 will have worn off (if users haven’t already attempted to revert back to IE6). Sure many people are uneasy about going back to Firefox given the negative stigma associated with 1.5.0.X builds and the memory leaks that have plagued those builds. But, they may well be already fed up, if not disappointed with IE7. They could very well be willing to try Firefox again (especially if Microsoft makes it so they can’t go back to IE6). This gives them the opportunit to see all the great new enhancements with Firefox 2, along with the fact the memory leaks have been ‘plugged’.
One major fact to keep in mind about IE7: It REQUIRES Windows XP w/ SP2 to be installed. If you are still using XP w/ SP1 (as I am) or the older versions (this is more common than most realize) such as 98, 2000, ME or NT, you can not use IE7. Also, (though this is still unconfirmed) your Windows XP may need to pass the Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) Test in order to install IE7. If the SP2 requirement wasn’t enough to turn folks away this certainly may. There are many users (myself included) who have removed or refuse to have WGA on their machines, not to mention those who have been falsely accused by this wonderful piece of Microsoft Anti-Piracy software of having a counterfeit version of Windows XP. All these people may not be able to use IE7 as well. Firefox 2.0 on the otherhand will run on any of these versions of Windows (as well as Mac and Linux):
- Windows 98
- Windows 98SE
- Windows ME
- Windows NT 4.0
- Windows 2000
- Windows XP (Recommended) (any version and passing the WGA is not needed)
- Windows Server 2003
So in many ways Mozilla could actually be ‘Saving the Best for Last’ by having Firefox 2 coming out after IE7 is released.