Internet Explorer 9 could be the deciding factor that coerces computer users to move away from their existing operating system and their computer, far more than the launch of Windows 7 or the latest Intel processor.
The platform preview of Internet Explorer 9 was released yesterday. Given the fact that it took Internet Explorer 8 more than one year to move from Beta 1 to Release To Manufacturing, one can safely say that the final version of IE9 is at least a good 12 months away.
When it launches, it will bring onboard a slew of innovations that will require Windows Vista SP2 and Windows 7 at least, plus Internet Explorer 8. It is a major bet from Microsoft given the fact that Vista SP2 was only launched in April 2009.
It means that Microsoft is actively looking to get rid of past ghosts, including getting rid of all IE browsers prior to IE8 and all OS platforms before Vista SP2. This is a risky bet and one that could backfire badly.
But then, if it works, it may make of IE9 the most secure browser in the world and will give Firefox, Chrome and others an additional incentive to do the same.
New improvements like support for HTML5 video and audio tags as well as compulsory presence of a GPU mean that a migration to a newer hardware/software platform will ensure a much better web experiment.
By 2011, a significant number of computers will already come with GPUs and those who don't will have either two choices; stick to alternative (or their old) browsers or switch to a more powerful computer.
Internet Explorer 9 may well become the most important browser Microsoft has ever released. Many are predicting that it will be a major out-of-band release and we suspect that it might well come bundled with Vista SP3 and Windows 7 SP1. The new technology it showcased was nothing short of impressive.