The race is on for Internet Explorer 10

Microsoft accelerated its browser development with the launch of the initial Internet Explorer 10 Platform Preview.

Have you downloaded Internet Explorer 9 yet? Microsoft hasn't even begun to automatically push the latest version of the browser -- released about a month ago -- out to Windows Vista and Windows 7 users, and yet it unveiled the initial Platform Preview for Internet Explorer 10 at the MIX '11 conference in Las Vegas this week.

Internet Explorer 10? Already?

Well, Microsoft has been accelerating its development with each iteration of the browser. IE6 -- which still clings tenaciously to more than its fair share of the browser market -- was launched in August of 2001. It took more than five years for Microsoft to release IE7 in October of 2006. IE8 took only about two and half years, followed by IE9 in a matter of only two years. With IE10, it looks like Microsoft is shooting for an annual release of the next major release of Internet Explorer.

And, while it may seem like a quick turnaround for Microsoft, an annual development cycle for a Web browser is an eon compared to the 18-week turnaround being pursued by Mozilla for Firefox. I won't guarantee my math, but based on the overlapping 18-week development cycle, Firefox could be up to Firefox 10 by the time Internet Explorer 10 is officially launched. If Microsoft spends another year working up to IE11, Firefox could be up to Firefox 16 by then. If we measured browser success on version numbers, Firefox could kick Microsoft's ass.

So, what can we expect with IE10? Microsoft is building on the hardware accelerated graphics, HTML5 support, and integration with the OS to extend the desktop to the Web that it has already established with IE9. IE10 adds support for emerging standards like CSS3 Multi-column Layout, CSS3 Grid Layout and CSS3 Flexible Box Layout, CSS3 Gradients, and ES5 Strict Mode in action.

It is also notable that with IE10 Microsoft is going from a line in the sand to a line carved in stone when it comes to OS compatibility. The move to make IE9 compatible only with Windows Vista and Windows 7 has ruffled a lot of feathers since Windows XP still has a majority of the OS market share globally. With IE10, even Windows Vista doesn't make the cut. The new browser will require Windows 7 at a minimum.

A post on Microsoft's IEBlog explains, "building a new browser for the ten-year old version of Windows that came with IE6 didn't make sense to us because of the limitations of its graphics and security architectures. Others have dropped support on Windows XP for functionality that we think is fundamental to performance. As Windows 7 usage exceeds Windows XP's in more and more countries, the sense in building for the future of the Web rather than the past is clear."

The Microsoft blog post also contains a number of references to rival browser -- mostly Firefox -- and trumpets why Microsoft's vision for the future of the Web is the right one. Meanwhile, Mozilla has agents feverishly slamming Microsoft's approach on Twitter, and making a case for why the Mozilla Web culture makes more sense.

Honestly, though, Microsoft and Mozilla are both getting annoying with their thinly-veiled jabs, and incessant stream of tweets slamming one another. For the love of all that's holy, just shut up and build your browser. Let the finished product speak for itself and stop trying to sell developers, or the general public on why your approach to delivering the Web experience is more noble than the next.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags MicrosoftbrowsersinternetsoftwareapplicationsFirefoxInternet Explorer

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Tony Bradley

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill


I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?