Microsoft Confirms: Internet Explorer 9 Won't Run on XP

Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft has confirmed earlier reports that Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) will not run on XP. That's prompted speculation that the company may be using the browser as a way to encourage users to upgrade to Windows 7.

Some sources speculated that a future update to either the browser or operating system might alter the lack of support for Microsoft's current #1 operating system (OS). But this week Microsoft's Giorgio Sardo confirmed IE9 will never run on Windows XP.

Going by the statistics, it seems an odd decision to not have the browser on XP. Even though Windows XP is nine years old and has had two successors, XP is still by far the most widely used operating system in the world, running on almost 2/3 of all PCs.

Hardware Acceleration, HTML5 Support for IE9

Officially, Internet Explorer 9 will include features making use of hardware acceleration unavailable on XP machines. However, critics believe Microsoft's strategy of restricting Internet Explorer 9 to Vista and Windows 7 may be Microsoft's way of making those OS' more attractive to XP users. (Source:

One problem with that theory is that many users have shown little interest in newer versions of Internet Explorer. While version 8's growth has corresponded with a fall in version 7, about 1/6 of users have stuck with version 6 which, like XP itself, dates back to 2001 -- despite compelling evidence that IE6 is particularly vulnerable to security loopholes that allow hackers to install and run malware remotely.

Rival Browser Firms Could Benefit

Microsoft's decision to not support XP could lead people to simply switch to rivals like Firefox and Chrome, which will still work on XP. That would be bad news for Microsoft, which has just seen IE slip below a 60 per cent global market share for the first time since 1999; if current trends continue, IE will be on a minority of computers in around a year's time.

There's also a potential issue in that IE9 will be the first Microsoft browser to support HTML5, a new version of the language used to create websites.

Most significantly, Internet Explorer 9 can cope with a new way of displaying web video that avoids the need for downloading plug-ins such as with Adobe's Flash system. The belief that a growing number of websites will switch to HTML5 videos could be under threat if XP retains its large market share, leaving users unable to see the clips. (Source:

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