What users (and Web developers) hate about IE7

It was intended to be an innocent little blog post by a Microsoft program manager but it set off a firestorm of reaction from frustrated users, reports a story in PC World. The post (like so many made by Microsoft employees in their blogs) was intended to be a hip-hip-hooray for a Microsoft product. In this case Tony Chor was celebrating IE7's one-year birthday by pointing out milestones for the browser. But users got wind of the post and wrote back. They reminded Chor that Bill Gates had promised to upgrade the browser more frequently. Six years passed between the launch of IE6 and IE7, and now a year has passed with next to no news about IE8 (excpet a POSSIBLE release time in '08 or early '09, reports Softpedia).

But developers were the ones that raged loudest - noting that IE creates so much more work for them, making them constantly tweak their Web sites to play nicely with the browser's idiosyncrasies. This, some said, meant that Web startups have begun to categorically refuse to mess around with new Microsoft Web technologies, like Silverlight and widgets for Live.

The questions is, will Microsoft listen? Surely, it already knows all the things that users and developers said in their comments to this blog post. There must be some Web guys around Redmond that know that spending time tweaking a site for IE, when the same code displays perfectly on Firefox, is Not a Good Thing. (To the company's credit, however, Chor has not pulled the comments from his blog post. This at least gives the appearance that Microsoft is listening and wants to hear from people.)

While Microsoft owns the browser market - and it still has nearly 80% marketshare -- it can ultimately make or break many a Web 2.0 technology. It has shown little motivation to support any emerging technology that it doesn't think it controls. See also: Is Microsoft trying to stomp out advances in Javascript?

UPDATED 12/06 BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE!

No, wait, there isn't. After the uproar on Wednesday about how frustrated users were over the lack of the IE roadmap, more news surfaced on Thursday. The sum total of the news was that Bill Gates, in an appearance at a blogger roundtable, officially called the next version of the browser IE8 (a fact that was also released on general manager Dean Hachamovitch blog). But no meaty details were disclosed. Promises were generally made that Microsoft would disclose more about IE8 at MIX 08 in March, although no one would commit to the product team would be saying at that time (such as naming a list of new features). Read more at BetaNews.

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