Microsoft Hypes Internet Explorer 9; Won't Run on XP

Dennis Faas's picture

Steven Sinofsky Microsoft's president of Windows Live division yesterday discussed Microsoft's highly-anticipated Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) at the MIX10 conference in Last Vegas. Building hype was clearly at the top of his agenda, but not escaping the presentation was this tidbit: IE9 won't run on Windows XP.

"We've built Internet Explorer 9 from the ground up on top of the Windows 7 platform," Sinofsky giddily reported to his Sin City crowd during Internet Explorer general manager Dean Hachamovitch's keynote address. (Source:

Internet Explorer 9: New Graphics Engine

Sinofsky and Hachamovitch spent ample time discussing Internet Explorer 9's most innovative new feature: the ability to use a PC's own hardware processing capabilities to render graphics within the browser.

Both Sinofsky and Hachamovitch were able to show the Las Vegas crowd how IE9 could effectively display graphics in a quicker and smoother fashion than competing browsers from Mozilla and Google.

Support for HTML5

Also vital to IE9's repertoire is support for HTML5, the next standard for writing web pages. By using HTML5, Microsoft can use Internet Explorer 9's advanced graphics technology to place much of the burden for complex images and graphics on the PC's video hardware rather than the browser software.

Also helping make Internet Explorer 9 faster is the browser's Javascript engine, currently code-named 'Chakra,' which can also lump responsibility on a PC's hardware.

Microsoft rounded out its Tuesday presentation by unveiling its Internet Explorer 9 "platform preview," intended to help developers get accustomed to the browser.

IE9 Won't Run on Windows XP

Still that wasn't quite everything reported by Microsoft brass. Try as he might to keep discussion away from the subject, Hachamovitch was forced to admit that IE9 probably won't be running on the company's long-time leading operating system (OS), Windows XP.

Hachamovitch noted that running such a "modern browser" required a "modern operating system," stopping just short of outright pronouncing XP's decline.

So, why no support for the very popular XP? Simply put, most PCs running Windows XP don't have the graphics processing capability. All those nice, new graphics in IE9 will be heavily dependent on hardware acceleration like Direct2D and DirectWrite, neither of which is available in the decade-old operating system, Windows XP. (Source:

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