Is Microsoft using Internet Explorer 9 to force upgrades from XP?

Is Microsoft using Internet Explorer 9 as a tool for force users to upgrade from Windows XP?
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

Is Microsoft using Internet Explorer 9 as a tool for force users to upgrade from Windows XP?

Internet Explorer 9 will not be supported by Windows XP. Period. Microsoft's web technical evangelist Giorgio Sardo, speaking at the Web 2.0 Expo, has confirmed this. The reason given is that HTML5 and hardware acceleration require a modern OS.

Note: Interestingly, while XP users won't be able to benefit from IE9, pirates will, as there will be no validation required.

But is this nothing more than a cunning ploy to make users upgrade the OS?

Let's consider the evidence.

First, XP has a massive, entrenched following. It's usage share is at 63.4%, while Vista holds a market share of 15.6% and Windows 7 an impressive 11.7%. Many XP users don't see the need to upgrade because the OS does for them everything they need it to do. So it is in Microsoft's best interests to come up with reasons for people to upgrade.

The there are the browser stats. Internet Explorer 6 has a greater market share (17.6%) than Firefox 3.6 (15.3%). Internet Explorer 8 enjoys an usage share of 24.6% while Internet Explorer 7 continues to hold its own with 12.5%.

What about other browser vendors, such as Opera, Mozilla and Google. Are these players abandoning XP? No. Here's what Google Chrome developer Alex Russell had to say:

"I recognize Opera and Mozilla and on Chrome we’re all doing hardware acceleration. And, all of us are doing it on XP. What you’re describing is a situation where people are less behind. The way is to not leave users behind."

So, Microsoft needs a stick to lever users away from XP. And a new, incompatible browser might just be the long reach stick that Microsoft needs to get those XP stalwarts upgrading ...

... or perhaps not ... After all, upgrading to a different browser might be a whole lot easier (and cheaper) than upgrading the entire OS. After all, if Chrome, Firefox and Opera are all going to be able to do everything (or most) of that Internet Explorer 9 can do without having to upgrade the OS, then Microsoft's offering no longer seems like a good deal.

Would YOU upgrade your OS to get IE9?

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