Internet Explorer 7.0 not just for Windows XP SP2

IE 7.0 won't just run on Windows XP with SP 2, but will also be available for Windows Server 2003 with SP 1 and Windows XP Professional x64 Edition.

Internet Explorer 7.0, the next version of Microsoft's Web browser, won't just run on Windows XP with Service Pack 2, but will also be available for Windows Server 2003 with Service Pack 1 and Windows XP Professional x64 Edition.

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates announced Internet Explorer (IE) 7.0 at the RSA Conference in San Francisco two weeks ago. While scant on details, Gates said the browser would offer security enhancements to protect users against phishing scams and other online attacks. He also said IE 7 would be for users of Windows XP with Service Pack 2 (SP2).

More details on IE 7 are trickling out as Microsoft works on the browser upgrade. Late on Monday, the IE team at Microsoft wrote on its Web log that the browser would be available for "Windows XP SP2 and later," which also includes the forthcoming Windows Server 2003 SP1 and Windows XP Professional x64 Edition, according to the Web log.

Users, especially corporate users who have yet to upgrade to Windows XP, would also like to see a version of IE 7 for Windows 2000. Microsoft has heard those requests, but has nothing to announce at this time, according to the IE team Web log.

Since the IE 7 announcement, Microsoft also has fielded questions about a possible new version of Outlook Express, the free e-mail client that was bundled with IE in the past. Outlook Express is "not part of the IE7 plan," according to the Web log. A new version of Outlook Express is set to ship with the next release of Windows, the IE team wrote.

A test version of IE 7 is set to ship midyear, Gates said two weeks ago. The announcement of the browser release was an about-face for Microsoft. Previously the company's plans called for a new IE version to be included in the next version of Windows, code-named Longhorn, due in 2006. Microsoft has said it changed its plans due to customer demand.

IE is part of Windows and is used by most Web users, but it has a reputation for poor security. Other browsers such as Firefox, Netscape and Deepnet Explorer are exploiting that reputation. IE's share of the browser market has dipped below 90 percent, according to recent surveys.

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