SAN FRANCISCO – The latest version of Microsofts Web browser is now available to the vast audience connecting to the Internet on personal computers running on the Windows 7 operating system.
The redesigned browser, Internet Explorer 10, made its debut last month when Microsoft released Windows 8, which makes dramatic changes to an operating system that has been powering PCs for decades.
Internet Explorer 10 initially was introduced Tuesday to Windows 7 users in a preview, or test, mode. The new browser isnt compatible with XP, Vista and any other older Windows version.
Although Microsoft is staking its future on Windows 8, far more PCs rely on Windows 7. Microsoft Corp. says more than 670 million licenses for Windows 7 have been sold since its release in 2009. Windows 8 is unlikely to approach that level of usage until at least 2014, based on analyst forecasts.
Desktops, laptops and tablet computers running on Windows 8 are sold with Internet Explorer 10 already installed. Those with older Windows versions will have to download and install the new browser separately.
Although Internet Explorer 10 is supposed to process Web pages more quickly and smoothly than its predecessors, it may have limited appeal to Windows 7 users.
Thats because Microsoft primarily designed Internet Explorer 10 for tablet computers and other devices, including a new breed of PCs that have touch-screen displays. Relatively few Windows 7 PCs can be controlled with fingers on a display screen.
Microsoft is hoping many website developers will download and install Internet Explorer 10 on their Windows 7 machines and see the browsers potential for making online services more compelling.
AlsoMicrosoft pushed out Steven Sinofsky, president of the Windows operating system division, after clashes with executives, including Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer, people with knowledge of the move said.
Sinofskys duties were reassigned to Julie Larson-Green, who will take charge of all software and hardware for Windows, and Tami Reller, who will add oversight of the Windows business to her responsibilities in marketing and finance, Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft said in a statement. Both will report directly to Ballmer, effective immediately.
The company had grown concerned about Sinofskys ability to get along with other senior managers at a time when Microsoft needs more cross-product coordination, the people said.
– Bloomberg News