The Internet Explorer team has posted a new nugget of info about the next version of Microsoft's browser.
The next release of IE will be called -- wait for it -- "Internet Explorer 8."
That's it. More info to come -- at least by Mix '08. Which is in March 2008. Sigh.
The IE team posted this tidbit to the IE Team Blog on December 5 not in response to customers' and developers' repeated requests for more IE information over the past few months. The team posted because Chairman Bill Gates himself heard from attendees of Microsoft's invitation-only Mix-N-Mash conference that Microsoft was dragging its feet in terms of providing necessary IE updates.
(Read LiveSide.Net's full transcript of the Q&A with Gates for the back story on the Gates Q&A at Mix-N-Mash.)
According to the posting by IE General Manager Dean Hachamovitch:
"Of course, some people care about other aspects of IE8 much more than they care about the name. As I’ve walked different people through the plan, I’ve gotten 'Does it have feature X?' 'When is the beta?' 'When does it release' and even the more thoughtful 'What are you trying to accomplish with this release?'
"You will hear a lot more from us soon on this blog and in other places. In the meantime, please don’t mistake silence for inaction."
I think Hachamovitch is missing the point of why developers and customers are on a rampage for more IE information. They don't believe Microsoft is doing nothing. They believe Microsoft is doing something but failing to tell them what it is.
Yes, I'm back on the "translucency is a smokescreen" kick. The Microsoft Platforms team is hiding behind its goal of not wanting to send folks on a wild goose chase, in terms of expectations and promises. That sounds like an admirable strategy.
But when the Windows and IE teams are told not to talk about anything -- even a general roadmap -- until it is set in stone, developers and customers understandably get antsy.