The First Year of IE7

It's been a little over a year since we released IE7 on Windows XP and for Windows Vista, so I thought it would be worthwhile to talk about where we are after the year.

According to internal Microsoft research based on data from Visual Sciences Corporation, there are over 300 million users are experiencing the web with IE7. This makes IE7 the second most popular browser after IE6. IE7 is already #1 in the US and UK, and we expect IE7 to surpass IE6 worldwide shortly.

Perhaps more important than the overall numbers is the positive impact IE7 has made for our users. As you know, we focused a lot on improving security in IE7. We believe IE 7 is the safest Microsoft browser released to date. According to a vulnerability report published today, IE7 has fewer vulnerabilities than previous versions of IE over the same time period. What's more, the report showed that IE7 had both fewer fixed and unfixed vulnerabilities in the first year than the other browsers we compared.

View: Full Article @ IE Team Blog

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Here we are, once again arguing whether IE, FF, Opera or Safari is the better browser.

I don't care how Microsoft got IE7 up there, they did it. Whether they forced it down to XP users as a critical update, or they included it with Vista, it doesn't matter. FF and Opera came out with pretty useful tools that, I admit, IE7 does not yet have, but that just makes FF and Opera unique, not better. And compatibility? Don't even start on that, compared to IE7 not supporting CSS3, there are a lot of simpler web support issues plaguing the competitors.

I used IE6, until I found FF. I was loyal to FF until IE7 came out, and I'm sorry to say, but I jumped ships once again. IE7 stole my heart, and this was BEFORE Vista arrived, or the critical update.

Fact is, IE7 has the majority of the public, computer illiterate users and enthusiasts alike. Simple statistics show, that although IE may not be the most innovative or efficient, it is the most used, and in the end, isn't that what defines the "better" browser?

I hated IE6. It was full of holes and problems and caused me headaches all the time. So I switched to firefox. I was happy again and proud of my browser. Then firefox reavealed its dirty little secret to me. Every two weeks or so there was an update (something along the lines of 0.0.0.0.1 more) that happily installed and restarted my browser, then just as happily stopped all my extensions and themes from working. Sure, it "checks for updates", but since I use alot of third party themes and such there wasn't any. Seriously, why does a security patch have to affect the theme I have on? Did they move the buttons or something? I don't feel like I should have to download a new theme and new extension versions every two weeks (every week this month it seems). Plus with the new slew of security holes and the ever present memory leak, I switched back to IE7 and haven't had a major problem since. At least IE7 works without having to update every time I open the thing.

Same with me except I latched onto Opera about 6 years ago and never touched an IE since, well except for updates and to check out each new version. IE7 is the very first non-Opera/Firefox browser I really like. I still use Opera the most, but I always have all 3 installed and it always catches me by surprise when I look up and realize I'm using IE..like right now. One little aspect that isnt that big of a deal is how fast IE7 flys off the click. Ive rarely seen any app start up so fast.

HHmmm... a competitor (Mozilla) found a "problem" with the findings. What a shock.

Of course they are going to spin it in their favor, were you expecting them to cheer IE on?

C_Guy said,
HHmmm... a competitor (Mozilla) found a "problem" with the findings. What a shock.

Of course they are going to spin it in their favor, were you expecting them to cheer IE on?

Did you actually read the post before spewing a pro-MS fanboy techno-color yawn? There is no problem with the findings but with how the MS PR spin-doctors are doing the measuring. Window Snyder presents a fair and accurate description of the flaws of Microsoft's metrics. It is not anti-MS but rather pro-consumer. How could that be bad for anyone? Jeff Jone's "report" was nothing more than pro-MS propaganda with no altruistic value for consumers at all.

I enjoy my Firefox with an IE7 skin. I had downgraded from IE7 to IE6 mainly because I can't customize my toolbars with v7.

Browser works well, and ive finally gotten used to the interface (the button placement), but i still really wish it was a bit more custamizable...

I'm a Firefox loyal subject, but I have to say, vanilla IE7 is FASTER on all but one of the systems that I've tested on (ranging from the crap to the downright speedy). If security comments are to be believed, FF and IE7 are both secure 'enough'. So it comes down to performance and web usage in terms of development.

Development is always going to lean towards the market leader - currently Microsoft's offering, thus IE7 wins for me.

I have adopted IE7 on my machines now having previously loved Firefox. For me it comes down to speed...might just be me eh?

A lot of people (especially business systems) couldn't upgrade to IE7 because they were using certain applications that would only integrate with IE6. Companies don't like spending money unless they have to, and there can be big costs upgrading some software to work with IE7. Usually they practice the "if it ain't broke don't fix it" thing, until they are forced by some act of God.

They should've force-fed IE7 to users as an update though. I still meet people who are using IE6 because they don't know any better and us web developers have to cater to them. While IE7 is still crap, it's nowhere near as bad as IE6.

I really wish MS would do more than patch holes in IE. Improving standards support only every few years is bull****. I bet IE8 will not support CSS3 at all while at the same time other browsers do.

X'tyfe said,
such a biased article, it assumes IE7 is the most used browser in the world

You obviously didn't read the 'biased article' as it clearly says IE6 is the most used browser in the world.

kravex said,

You obviously didn't read the 'biased article' as it clearly says IE6 is the most used browser in the world.

well, regardless of which version is being used, it still assumes IE is used the most
doesnt take into account other browsers

TSThomas said,
You mean you were expecting impartial advice from "The Microsoft Internet Explorer Weblog"? :)

its still worth nothing if he doesnt compare it to anything but previous versions
which of course will be better

X'tyfe said,
... it still assumes IE is used the most
doesnt take into account other browsers

Well, why wouldn't it ... IE is the most widely used browser!

Lets see... what makes IE7 the #2 browser after IE6.

1) IE comes with Windows and is the default browser. IE 6 for XP users and IE7 for Vista users. This means that anyone who goes to a computer store and buys a computer (with the exception of Mac, and those gOS machines) will automatically be an IE user. Unless the user knows about other browsers, they'll simply continue using IE.

2) IE7 was pushed out as a critical update to many XP comptuers. (It has not yet been added to the critical update in Japanese Windows which begs the question, how is it critical for some users and not critical for others? Are we not on the same Internet?) Once it's "critical" on all Windows it will replace most of those IE6 browsers which are currently the majority.

We believe IE 7 is the safest Microsoft browser released to date. According to a vulnerability report published today, IE7 has fewer vulnerabilities than previous versions of IE over the same time period.

Hehe, yeah, anything else would be a catastrophy given that track record. All modern browsers fit that description.
Finally, we’ve seen a decrease of 10-20% in the support call volume for IE compared with a year ago, before the release of IE7. This is typically a sign that the product is more stable and has fewer issues than the previous release.

Couldn't it also mean that people still on IE 6 (after all, it's the most popular browser) will need less support as they're becoming accustomed to the browser? Sure, he can say this depends on IE 7, but the thing is that the IE 6 users didn't all switch to IE 7. Actually, most of them didn't. And I doubt early IE 7 adopters will need even less support calls than old IE 6 users, so I wouldn't be surprised if the major reason for this is to be found elsewhere, for example as for IE 6 maturity as a browser. Anyway, we'll see if he's right about this as more people switch to this browser.

Overall, sure, IE 7 is a huge improvement over IE 6, one that was necessary to catch up with the competition. There are still some pretty gaping holes in its feature set though, for example an open extension API. The current plugin support doesn't seem all that powerful compared to that in Firefox, looking at what's being offered. It's these things that at least power users often want to see. Other things include lacking SVG support for a common vector graphics standard, a useful graphics niche for the web due to the small files produced for schematics, graphs, and so on. Much moreso than e.g. PNG too, since the object information is preserved and can be edited later. It's already in use in Wikipedia for example, and frustrating to not have it supported by the browser natively.

All that alleged good stuff, and they still haven't managed to convince me that it's better than Opera or Firefox.

They lost me when they neglected IE6 for so long, and, even worse from my perspective, ignored web standards for so long. I suspect there are thousands upon thousands just like me, who took that as an opportunity to check out the competition, and liked what they found.

i gotta agree with SniperX ... cause i switched to Firefox as my main browser a little bit before Firefox v1.0 came out and have not looked back since.

i think it's cause of Firefox that MS eventually got around to making IE7.

i think it's cause of Firefox that MS eventually got around to making IE7.

Totally agree. There just isn't any other reason for MS to revisit IE after letting it sitting for so long.