Kevin Burton suggests that the
Vista IE7 delay can be eliminated by tossing IE7 and adopting Firefox. I would be surprised if IE7 is on the Vista critical path, but the idea of Microsoft replacing IE7 made me laugh.
At first, I thought he was kidding, but he is serious (see the discussion between Robert Scoble and Kevin in the comments for that post). Fundamentally, Kevin’s idea is an interesting one, but that ship sailed a long time ago. Too many developers have products that rely on IE (e.g., NewsGator uses the IE browser control) with large installed user bases. Microsoft cannot just leave those developers and users in the lurch without a migration path.
Kevin suggests that since Firefox is a whole new application, that existing applications wouldn’t break. Good point, but remember, IE6 is considered a security problem. Abandoning IE7 doesn’t solve the IE6 problem for Microsoft.
They own the problem by winning the first Browser Wars and then letting IE stagnate.