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."
I think there are no news here. I never thought Microsoft will stop offering IE, neither stop offering it bundled with Windows. DOJ has granted specific rights to do so now since last years antitrust case resolution.
I would like to see Mozilla leaders pushing not only the Gecko engine but also the browser, and teaming with other open source projects to sinergize: for example, let OpenOffice offer a Mozilla bundled download, offer Kazaa a XUL based UI (if possible); same for Winamp (it's a shame they use IE for minibrowser); and so on.
As for AOL, they're as lost as a rat in a sinking boat: they don't know where to run. They're shooting everywhere and nowhere: Real, WMA?, IE? Netscape?? The truth is they're a media company and will never think as a software company because software doesn't mean visible money for them. The best for all Mozilla communitiy would be that some other company (SUN, IBM) may bought whatever assets or brands Mozilla may have and finance the project with a quantifiable money expectation.
As for Netscape, AOL and Mozilla killed it, let it rest in peace. AOL, because if not even your father trusts you... and Mozilla, because it is and will ever be better than it.