In a chicken-and-egg issue, Microsoft is urging users to test Internet Explorer 9 -- but also says Windows 7 needs Service Pack 1 first. But SP1 isn't expected until next year. Meantime, Microsoft says, just keep installing Windows 7 and using IE8, or Windows Vista can use IE9 with SP2. Just to be sure, a Microsoft FAQ mentions the SP1 issue twice.
It seems Microsoft may have gotten ahead of itself with the release of its Internet Explorer 9 beta. In a FAQ on the company's web site, Microsoft is urging companies to deploy Windows 7 with Internet Explorer 8 and wait for Windows 7 Service Pack 1 before deploying IE9. For Windows Vista users, SP2 is needed for IE9.
The catch is that Windows 7 SP1 hasn't been been released and isn't expected until early in 2011. The final version of IE9 is expected next April, so that's not a lot of time to test the latest version of Microsoft's browser that has been losing market share.
Installing IE9 also requires four current Windows 7 updates, KB2028551, KB2028560, KB2120976 and KB2259539, which is also for Windows Server 2008 R2. The requirement for SP1 seems odd since Microsoft has indicated that SP1 will be a collection of already released patches.
Question one in Microsoft's IE9 FAQ says, "Microsoft recommends that organizations do not disrupt ongoing deployment projects but continue deploying Windows 7 and Internet Explorer 8. Investments made in this effort will carry forward when they deploy Windows 7 SP1 and Internet Explorer 9 at a later date. With Internet Explorer 8 in place, they will be in a good position to roll out Windows 7 SP1 and Internet Explorer 9 with minimal effort."
Just in case that's not clear, question 11 says, "Internet Explorer 9 will require Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (SP1). Therefore, organizations must plan, pilot and deploy Internet Explorer 9 as part of or after a Windows 7 SP1 deployment."
So it seems Microsoft wants everyone to continue buying and installing Windows 7 now, but hold off on IE9 until SP1 is out. That does keep the revenue coming in by not disrupting current deployment projects, as question one urges.
On the plus side, Microsoft's FAQ says IE9 provides new group policy settings for IT professionals. These include settings to prevent users from deleting the download history, disabling the add-on performance notifications, and configuring search from the address bar.Another issue with IE9 already known is that it won't run on Windows XP, even though that OS is still dominant among PC users and the SP3 version will be supported through April 2014. Perhaps Microsoft's FAQ is a nudge toward getting enterprises to step up moving to Windows 7?