Microsoft tries to kill Windows Vista using Internet Explorer 10 --- why bother?

By Preston Gralla

Internet Explorer 10 won't run on Windows Vista -- the final version, as well as the recently released developer preview. It's a clear attempt to kill off Windows Vista, as Microsoft has been trying to do to XP for years. But why bother? Windows Vista has done a very good job of committing suicide, no external help needed.

Gregg Keizer reports in Computerworld that Internet Explorer 10 won't run on Vista. In the release notes that accompany the developer preview, Microsoft said that Windows 7 is required.

Keizer contacted Microsoft via email to ask whether the final would require Windows 7 as well, and received this response from an official Microsoft spokesperson:

"Windows Vista customers have a great browsing experience with IE9, 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."

It's not at all clear what those improvements are, and what Windows 7 has that Windows Vista lacks that will make  IE 10 incapable of running on Windows Vista.

Microsoft has used this technique before, to try and kill Windows XP. Internet Explorer 9, for example, won't run on XP. That appears to be paying off. This month, for the first time, Windows 7 market share topped Windows XP market share in the U.S.

But there's absolutely no need to use the same technique with Vista. Windows XP is a rock-solid operating system, beloved by many. Many people find no need to give it up. Windows Vista, by way of contrast, is loved by very few. People abandon it in droves.

Keizer notes that according to the Web metrics company Net Applications, Windows Vista has only an 11% market share, compared to 54% for Windows XP, and 24% for Windows 7. So it's going away on its own. Given Windows Vista's shrinking market share, by the time the final of IE 10 hits, not many people might notice Windows Vista won't run the latest version of the new browser.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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