With uptake of the latest Internet Explorer browser being slow compared to that of main rival Firefox, Microsoft have started a big push to encourage more users to make the change.
The first big advantage Microsoft had was having it pre-installed on it's latest OS - Vista and not allowing the obsolete Internet Explorer 6 to be installed (which would undermine vista security anyway). However, with Vista uptake being slow and with the tech savvy already using firefox, opera or other browsers IE7 is struggling to make much ground.
Latest figures I have from various sites I run/developed show that on sites for web developers or tech savvy users Firefox now has the majority over both all other browsers combined.
On consumer sites it is about 30% IE7, 28% IE6, 40% Firefox and the remaining 2% using other browsers. So although overall Internet explorer has the majority users still, IE7 alone has not caught up with firefox.
On business sites the weighting is slightly more in favour for Internet explorer but then the figure is increased for IE6 rather than IE7.
In a bid to convert more users to IE7 this week we've seen them remove the validation requirement to download it.
Now they have sent out a newsletter promoting Internet Explorer 7. It seems to be targetted at IE6 users as it focuses on the improved security in IE7 and the fact that it doesn't render correctly in Firefox:
"The Internet is a vast place--and not every site is friendly. How do you help protect yourself online? With Windows Internet Explorer 7. Already, the Internet Explorer 7 Phishing Filter prevents nearly one million visits per week to known dangerous websites. In just a few clicks, see how the latest version of the world's most popular web browser can help you be safer online."
The latest version of the world's most popular web browser may not be a statement the internet explorer team can use for much longer...
As a developer I am happy with this push to IE7 - the sooner we get rid of IE6 the sooner I will stop having to support it. It is currently holding designers/developers back in what can be done as we have to ensure whatever we do is supported it. Binning IE6 will mean - less hacks, more advancement, less development time - resulting in savings for everyone.