Internet Explorer 9: Windows XP users, you’re out of luck

Microsoft last night released Internet Explorer 9, the latest version of its widely used web browser. Download it here, but keep in mind that it only works with Windows Vista or Windows 7. The browser isn’t compatible with Windows XP, and Microsoft doesn’t make IE for Mac (or Linux).

[Follow-up: IE9 hits 2.3M: Firefox 4 set for March 22]

Given the large market share still enjoyed by Windows XP — more than 44 percent, by one measure – Microsoft is taking a gamble by not making a version of IE9 for the older operating system. But keep in mind that when we say “older” in this context, we really mean it. Windows XP was released nearly a decade ago, and the only reason it still has such a grip on our lives is that Windows Vista was delayed for so long, and received so poorly.

Tony Bradley of PCWorld defends Microsoft’s decision in this post today

“Microsoft could have developed a browser that was an incremental improvement over Internet Explorer 8 just for the sake of developing a new browser, and it could have maintained backward compatibility with Windows XP. However, doing so would greatly restrict what Microsoft is able to accomplish with that browser. At some point you have to cut the cord and move on to embrace the future rather than continuously coddling the past.”

[Previously: Inside IE9: How Microsoft rewrote its browser from scratch]

Ars Technica’s Peter Bright agrees in his review of IE9 (which deserves to be read in full).

“The performance improvements made by the use of DirectWrite and Direct2D allow a new class of Web application to be developed. They greatly extend the range of what is possible and practical to do on a website. Platform security features that Internet Explorer 9 leverages also make the switch to more modern operating systems desirable. Some of the things that make IE9 a better browser are things that simply do not exist on Windows XP.”

Also check out the performance benchmarks run by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes of ZDNet.com, comparing IE9 to Chrome, Firefox and Opera — and showing just how competitive the browser market remains.

  • http://x.co/EGXP Domainers Gate

    the “death of XP” has been already announced hundreds times in last years …

    • Anonymous

      Tell that to the 44%. :)

  • Anonymous

    44% or not. XP needs to die. The only problem I hear from many businesses and consumers is the price. Though it is not unreasonable, it still makes it hard to upgrade an entire office on a budget.

    • http://cerebrux.net Salih Emin

      Plus the hardware upgrades that the office needs to use Windows 7. Also an Office uses just one or two professional software that works just like charm in Windows XP… so there is no point at all to upgrade.

  • http://twitter.com/tommyunger Tommy Unger

    Based on these numbers, it’s going to be hard to compete for browser share when IE9 only works on less than 50% of computers out there.

    • http://cerebrux.net Salih Emin

      True! Why not a Linux version or Mac ? :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/rwoan Ronald S Woan

    What’s with the IE9 64-bit benchmarks? How do you tell what version you are running?

    • Bob

      Alt H ->”About Internet Explorer”->

  • http://andtiggertoo.myopenid.com/ Max Nikias

    Ha! Death of XP indeed. Long may it reign.

    I just left two of my customers offices today. One has about 100 desktops, all XP. The other has over 900, with–you guessed it–all XP.

    As for me, my netbook has 7. And my only other Windows computer? XP. Guess IE9 ain’t for me. And who needs it with a fast Chrome, Opera, and soon-to-be FF4?

  • Bob

    “Microsoft is taking a gamble by not making a version of IE9 for the older operating system.”

    Yeah, another calculated bet. Like waiting three years to respond to iPhone or two years to respond to iPads and Android tablets. And it will yield similar results.

  • Anonymous

    so i bought a new computer last week with Win7 pre-installed…today i tried to load IE9….machine froze….msft pointed me to directions to unistall a bunch of s/w ….took 60 minutes to get new machine functional again….and no IE9…..

    • Guest

      b.s.

  • Former MS programmer

    Microsoft’s attitude of forcing you to buy a new ‘OS’ so that you can run their ‘free’ browser is why I am currently moving all of my six machines to Fedora and am learning to program for Linux. I am a MCSD and MCDBA.

    • Guest

      Hey drama queen, nobody is forcing you to upgrade.

      • Guest

        That’s good, coming from a teenager with zits who’s still living at home.

  • Skeptic

    “At some point you have to cut the cord and move on to embrace the future rather than continuously coddling the past.” Right!!!! Is Microsoft going to give me a desktop PC that will run Windows 7? Mine is 4 years old and won’t. I use Windows 7 on my laptop, and I’m not impressed. 23 years worth of Microsoft’s fancier but buggy releases is why I stay with XP – it works!

    • http://profiles.google.com/shanemrowley Shane Rowley

      “Is Microsoft going to give me a desktop PC that will run Windows 7?”

      Are you serious? This is the American way: “gimmie, gimmie, gimmie!!!” If you want IE9, get a newer computer with 7 on it. Otherwise, get Firefox or Chrome. Simple as that…

  • MSalik

    Micro$oft can stuff IE9 up their A$$, Opera, FireFox ,& Chrome is the future.

  • Anonymous

    Windows XP will not die because companies rather use it since it is more user-friendly and the fact that it is not controlling at all. Windows Vista and Windows 7 have too many security features which makes it so much harder to use. It’s easy for people who do not know how operating systems really do work, half the people who own a computer don’t even know how to delete temporary internet files, let alone know what a disk cleanup is. In other words, windows xp is easier to use for programmers. I once called Windows and they couldn’t even help me with my Windows Vista cause they were not even trained! For companies to switch to Windows 7 something a lot better has to be put out on the market. Vista was supposed to be the best thing after XP, but that was a total flunk, since they let it out on the market prematurely.

  • Anonymous

    Windows XP will not die because companies rather use it since it is more user-friendly and the fact that it is not controlling at all. Windows Vista and Windows 7 have too many security features which makes it so much harder to use. It’s easy for people who do not know how operating systems really do work, half the people who own a computer don’t even know how to delete temporary internet files, let alone know what a disk cleanup is. In other words, windows xp is easier to use for programmers. I once called Windows and they couldn’t even help me with my Windows Vista cause they were not even trained! For companies to switch to Windows 7 something a lot better has to be put out on the market. Vista was supposed to be the best thing after XP, but that was a total flunk, since they let it out on the market prematurely.

  • Chrizzz

    XP users out of luck? I’d say Microsoft out of luck. The popularity of IE has dropped dramatically over the last few years. So with this “brilliant” decision from Microsoft I’d say IE’s death is very near.

    • Aljouf

      This decision is nothing, but a reflection of MS monopoly approach….people are born free by nature and everybody has the right to decide his own fate…. innovation shouldn’t be led by forcing people to upgrade their hardware in order to migrate to Vista, 7, 8, 9, 10, etc, etc….talking about innovation, one shouldn’t forget that XP which is a generation old OS is still and will be updated on a daily basis which indicates what their “innovation ” is all about….of course PC manufacturers are also getting their slice of the pie…ordinary people have no say whatsoever in this unfair game…..

  • Chucksolice

    Laughing hysterically at Microsoft whilst viewing this in XP sp3 Using FireFox 12 ;). 

  • Nandinhobernardo

    I really can’t understand microsoft, i mean what are we losing here? I use the latest firefox. Any problem? Of course not, there are a handful of good browsers out there. This is the first ok browser ever from microsoft. Nothing special, we don’t have to die for it. It’s no must have. I have a dual boot machine and I still prefer XP and I also prefer using firefox in Windows 7.

  • http://profiles.google.com/cybervigilante Jim Mooney

    Microcrap has an uncanny ability to hold back the net with the world’s rottenest browser. Every generation is different and nonstandard. The only one that will work half-decent with HTML5 and CSS3 will only work on Win 7. This is a “clever” marketing ploy to get people to buy win 7. Except half of user and a lot of institutions are on XP. Which means so many users can’t even see HTML5 and CSS3 that many developers are holding back on using it, lest they have to write two Totally different sites (not just the usual IE hack-fixes) Once again, Microcrap is a drag on the net. Why don’t they just throw out their rotten browser and license Firefox, and just give up. They’ll NEVER get it right. 

  • http://profiles.google.com/cybervigilante Jim Mooney

     Msoft seems to get it wrong on every other release – 95, Millenium, Vista. So since 7 is halfway decent (but not for the price to just get glitz, unless you want to pay for glitz instead of work at the computer), that means Win 8 will be a dog.

  • http://profiles.google.com/cybervigilante Jim Mooney

    DIE! DIE! DIE! INTERNET EXPLORER!

  • Chipper

    Microsoft has not made a good stable platform since XP. Vista was a total disaster, 7 sucked and 8 sucks more. The bad part is IE 9 or 10 is not compatible with XP. Someone said it’s time to cut the cord. That’s true, as soon as Microsoft stops supporting XP I and millions of others will cut the cord and switch to Macintosh.