To wit, the company already has the next two versions of IE beyond 7.0 in the hopper. And while Microsoft executives wont specify exactly when they will ship or give out specific new features, they are offering some indications of the companys evolving browser thinking.
Microsoft released on March 20 a new interim test version of IE 7.0, build number 5335, which includes a number of user interface tweaks made by Microsoft since the company released the IE 7.0 Beta 2 Preview bits in January. Microsoft has labeled 5335 as the first "layout-complete," or feature-complete, version of IE 7.0.
At Microsofts Mix 06 developer/designer conference here, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates was quite adamant, in his March 20 keynote, that "IE 7 is not the end of the line."
"In a sense, what were doing is saying, Hey, we waited too long for a browser release. We will be able to [deliver] a browser much faster than the typical major Windows release cycle. Were already working on the next two releases. And so you can expect to see us moving very, very rapidly there because we see great opportunities."
Gates said Microsoft is considering releasing a new version of IE in as few as nine months—a goal that seemed to come as a surprise to both Microsoft developers attending Mix and Microsofts own IE team members.
"Nine months is very aggressive, but 18 months is too long," said Dean Hachamovitch, general manager of Microsofts IE team.