It might sound impossible, but Microsoft is about to make its Windows Vista operating system even more undesirable.

The Redmond company is confirming that Internet Explorer 10, the next version of its web browser, won’t work on the 4-year-old Windows Vista (or earlier Windows versions) in the same way that IE9 left the older Windows XP (and Windows 2000) behind.

“Windows Vista customers have a great browsing experience with IE9,” says Microsoft in a statement, “but in building IE10 we are focused on continuing to drive the kind of innovation that only happens when you take advantage of the ongoing improvements in modern operating systems and modern hardware.”

Oddly, the move won’t cause nearly the stir that Microsoft’s decision to overlook Windows XP did. That’s because Vista, the legendary Microsoft flop, is barely above 10 percent worldwide market share. XP is still used by upwards of half the market, like a reliable old car that people just can’t bear to ditch.

Firefox, in contrast, has made a point of continuing to support XP. Engineering director Johnathan Nightingale called the user base for Windows XP “too big for us to just leave them behind.”

The news about IE10 on Windows Vista emerged this week as Microsoft released the first “platform preview” of the next browser, a sneak peek at some of the upgrades planned under the hood. People attempting to install the preview on Vista got an error message signaling that it wouldn’t work.

Despite the early preview, Internet Explorer 10 isn’t expected to be released in finished form until next year. Windows guru Ed Bott, writing on ZDNet, explains that Microsoft is scheduled to stop offering technical support to mainstream Windows Vista users next year, and the company has said in the past that new browsers won’t be made available for unsupported versions of the operating system.

IE10 is widely believed to be the version that ships with Windows 8 next year.

Of course, it’s in Microsoft’s business interests to push users to new versions of its operating system. But the company defends the practice on technical grounds — saying it is moving the browser market forward by opting not to “build to the lowest common denominator.”

Todd Bishop of GeekWire can be followed on Twitter and Facebook, no matter which OS you use.

 

Comments

  • Koos Fourie

    Haleluja, who wants to use IE in any case, there are somay far better browsers out there. so Microsoft are just shooting themselves in the foot. Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha

    • http://profiles.google.com/uuf6429 Christian Sciberras

      Such as Firefox! It’s way greater than MSIE, more standards compatible, has more plugins, and it even uses more memory (up to 700mb physical for 3 open tabs).[/sarcasm]

      As to the development tools (such as Firebug) I keep using it just because I (sadly) develop on Firefox, but in truth Firebug gets that little bit worse each release.

      • dawmail333

        What’s stopping you from using Chrome? The built in developer tools are <3

        • http://profiles.google.com/uuf6429 Christian Sciberras

          In fact, I started using Chrome ever since the Firefox 4 release fked up everything. Memory leaks constantly (0.01kb each second). Firebug won’t work. Downloads dialog is mostly broken. Pages won’t reload and get stuck permanently.

          I switched to Chrome since it runs faster and all, though I’m not exceedingly happy with their tools. The tools are quite strange to manage.With it comes to javascript, nothing beats MS Explorer with Windows ScriptDebugger.

        • Anonymous

          Directing advertising revenue from one company to another due to the product you chose to use is FAR more effective than voting in elections.

          And so, the greatest reason to not use Chrome is because it’s googles.

  • Concerned

    But the company defends the practice on technical grounds — saying it is moving the browser market forward by opting not to “build to the lowest common denominator.”

    When will MS realise that we developers out in the real world have to build to the lowest common denominator. We have no control over which browser the web surfing public are going to use when browsing our sites. If IE20 were released tomorrow, I would still have to consider IE6.

    • Stephen Pickett

      And they are limiting the number of those using the lowest common denominator by moving users to newer browsers and operating systems. Many of the larger website are refusing to support IE 6 and in that vein the more that do this the fewer people will use it – supporting it will only help keep it alive.

      A more clever method would be to look at what browsers your users are using and build, within reason, to that lowest common denominator.

  • Maza

    Internet Explorer 7 left Windows 2000 behind, not Internet Explorer 9.
    But yet, the worst is yet to come in this factually incorrect article…

    “It might sound impossible, but Microsoft is about to make its Windows Vista operating system even more undesirable.”

    Windows Vista is a great operating system that didn’t get the reputation it deserved, thanks in part to defamatory comments like these.

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