Microsoft has decided to reverse a decision not to release a major version of Internet Explorer before Longhorn’s arrival. Bill Gates has confirmed in a keynote address at the RSA Conference 2005 that the next version of Internet Explorer will be released ahead of Longhorn. Gates even acknowledged that the browser had become a security risk.
The new browser will work on Windows XP Service Pack 2 so users of older Windows versions may find themselves out of luck again (unless Microsoft reverses that decision).
Shipping dates have not been determined but a beta version is expected this summer.
Like many analysts, I believe that Firefox’s recent success (over 23 million downloads) certainly played a role in this decision.