"This is a major shortcoming of the IE9 strategy," said Ray Valdes of Gartner in an interview Wednesday after the launch of the browser's beta . "And it's an opportunity for competitors to continue to chip away from IE's share."
Al Gillen, a colleague of Hilwa's at IDC seconded that. "The short term potential for IE9 is limited," Gillen said, noting that the new browser's numbers should pick up when Microsoft eventually offers it to Vista and Windows 7 users via Windows Update.
Microsoft has not set a final release for IE9, and Wednesday again declined to put a firm date on the final. Speculation has centered on an April 2011 release, which would coincide with MIX, the company's annual Web conference that's scheduled to run April 12-14, 2011, in Las Vegas.
"Firefox accelerates for Windows XP users too, something Microsoft says they can't do," said Aza Dotzler, Mozilla's lead technology evangelist, last week. "If Mozilla can accelerate browsing for the hundreds of millions of PC users on Microsoft's Windows XP, why can't Microsoft?"
Chrome will also feature partial hardware acceleration for Windows XP with version 7, which should be in users' hands in two months or less.
IE8, which debuted in March 2009 and currently has a 31.4% share, will be the most modern Microsoft browser available to Windows XP users through the operating system's support cut-off in April 2014.
Net Applications measures operating system usage share by mining data acquired from the 160 million unique visitors who browse the 40,000 Web sites it monitors for clients.
Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .
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