With growing speculation that Microsoft is pushing to deliver the final version of its Internet Explorer (IE) 9 browser as early as spring 2011, company officials issued official guidance, advising business users against postponing their Windows 7 deployments to wait for the coming browser release.
On September 21, Rich Reynolds, Microsoft Corporate Vice President of Windows Consumer Marketing, posted the company's latest Windows 7 deployment guidance to the "Windows for Your Business" blog.
Reynolds is advising business customers who are in the process of testing, piloting or rolling out Windows 7 to move to Windows 7 with Internet Explorer 8. Even those users with no formalized Windows 7 migration plans shouldn't wait for Microsoft to deliver the final version of IE 9 to start planning, Reynolds said. From Reynolds' post:
"Until the final code of Internet Explorer 9 is released to the web (RTW), we recommend businesses first move to Windows 7 Enterprise with Internet Explorer 8 so they can immediately benefit from the enhanced security, manageability, web standardization, and lifecycle support that Internet Explorer 8 brings to enterprise browsing, today. In addition, thanks to the high degree of application compatibility between the two browser versions, any investments today in deploying Internet Explorer 8 will put you on the best path to transitioning to Internet Explorer 9 in the future. Your Internet Explorer 8 migration investments will be preserved when you are ready to deploy Internet Explorer 9."
According to leaked documents and information, Microsoft is expecting to make IE 9 the browser release it bundles with Windows 8, the next release of Windows client which isn't expected to ship until 2012 or so. But, obviously, users can run IE 9 on other versions of Windows, including Windows 7.
At the same time, Reynolds discouraged business users from postponing their early testing of the IE 9 beta. Microsoft execs said on September 20 that there have been more than 2 million downloads so far of the IE 9 beta, which Microsoft made available for download on September 15.