IE9 has yet to be officially released, and by the time it is deemed ready for business many organizations will still be testing their websites and applications for compatibility with IE8, let alone IE9. Anecdotally, IE7 (released in October 2006) seems to have been given a wide berth by corporate IT departments, probably due to its poor support for web standards and the requirement to upgrade to Windows XP Service Pack 2.
Politics have also played a part in the adoption pattern of Internet Explorer. In mid-2006 the European Commission imposed a 280.5 million fine on Microsoft relating to its anti-competitive practices, and many public sector organizations felt obliged to evaluate competing web browsers such as Mozilla Firefox (as well as competing PC operating systems such as Linux). Firefox 2.0 was released in the same month as IE7, and its tabbed browsing environment, spell checker (still not a feature in IE9), and integration with web search engines made it an immediate hit: the browser war had begun.
The mobile web experience is todays focus of attention
IE9 may well include a new JScript engine and offer support for HTML5 audio and video, but we believe that it will be the capabilities offered by mobile phone browsers that will determine the webs next course of evolution. When we asked Microsoft if there were going to be any synergies between IE9 and Internet Explorer Mobile (the browser that features in Windows Phone 7), Microsofts director of product marketing for Windows Internet Explorer neatly sidestepped the question by deferring to the Windows Mobile team. We understand the rendering engine found in the forthcoming Windows Phone 7 is a hybrid of IE7 and IE8, so clearly Microsoft has some catching up to do in this area.
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