Internet Explorer 6 Service Pack 1 to be Final Standalone Version
Monday June 2nd, 2003
Over the last few days, several people have written in with the news that there will be no further standalone versions of Microsoft Internet Explorer. Future enhancements to the browser will only be delivered in the form of operating system upgrades. The news was confirmed by Internet Explorer Program Manager Brian Countryman in a May 7th online chat discussing the changes made to Internet Explorer for Windows Server 2003. He said: "As part of the OS, IE will continue to evolve, but there will be no future standalone installations. IE6 SP1 is the final standalone installation... Legacy OSes have reached their zenith with the addition of IE 6 SP1. Further improvements to IE will require enhancements to the underlying OS." The next consumer version of Windows, codenamed Longhorn, is due in 2005.
Update! According to a CNET News.com article, the standalone version of IE may, in fact, continue to be updated. "If you're using IE now, for Mac or Windows, you will have access to any appropriate updates," the report quotes a Microsoft representative as saying. "There will be continued innovation and improvement... It's not going anywhere as a product. What happens in the Longhorn timeframe — it's too early to discuss."
#13 It's what MS has always wanted to do.
Tuesday June 3rd, 2003 6:36 AM
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As someone who has pulled IE apart this really doesn't surprise me.
The IE installer actually has different binaries of the IE "Core" (html renderer, wininet, etc.) for Windows 95/98, Windows NT 4, Windows 2000, and Windows ME (and Windows XP already has IE 6).
In contrast Mozilla has one binary for Windows 95/98/ME/NT 3.51/NT 4/2000/XP (Yes, as of Mozilla 1.3.1 it still seems to work almost perfectly under NT 3.51!)
Microsoft has already dropped support for Windows 95. They are almost certainly dropping support for NT 4, the last version of windows not to have the windows update feature, making them free now to offer it only via windows update. On a side note, NT 4 was also the last version of windows not to have that awful IE "integrated" shell, so we can now expect more MS applications to make use of these IE "integrated" shell features.
I think since the inclusion of IE 3 in Windows 95 OSR2 this is the kind of integration (packaging wise) MS was after, but then when IE 4 came out they began to aggressively advertise IE as it's own stand-alone product. (remember how the "e" logo was everywhere in IE 4?) Perhaps because people were used to downloading Netscape or possibly other reasons they made IE a separately downloadble product rather than including it with OS service packs. In IE 5 they did change all the installation dialogs to call itself a "Windows update" rather than IE installation. I still laugh at the IE uninstaller on Windows 95 when it always says "reverting to previous version of IE" even when there was no previous version of IE and it is actually uninstalling like a normal application.