In first week of October, the Redmond company stripped IE7 browser from the Windows Genuine Advantage mechanism, after one year following the browser's release for Windows XP SP2 and Windows Server 2003. The Windows XP users no longer have to go through the pains of two separate WGA validations in order to access, download and install IE7. But opening up IE7 build 7.0.5730.13 to all Windows XP pirates was not sufficient for Microsoft. The company is now offering another version of IE7 for Windows XP SP2.
As an integer part of the "Shop With More Confidence Sweepstakes", the new version of Internet Explorer 7 brings virtually nothing to the table. In fact it is a somewhat shameless marketing campaign designed to fuel the adoption of Internet Explorer 7. The first clue in this regard is the fact that the IE7 pseudo-update is aimed exclusively at Windows XP SP2 users. Customers that run Windows Vista are also taking up IE7 by default. Microsoft failed to focus on them. But when it comes to XP users, no less than 43% of them are still browsing with Internet Explorer 6, a product inferior in every way to IE7, and this at more than a year after the new version of the browser was made available.
According to statistics from Net Applications, at the end of October 2007, IE7 accounted for a market share of 34.32%, while Firefox 2.0 had 13.75%. But while Windows XP pirates have failed to crowd to the WGA-less IE7 dropped the past month, Microsoft has not introduced a brand new strategy: buying users. Via the "Shop With More Confidence Sweepstakes" users of IE7 have the possibility of winning 25 prizes of $10,000 each through PayPal. And all they have to do is download and install IE7 and then enter the sweepstakes. They don't need to actually purchase anything, despite the fact that Microsoft applauds IE7 for stopping some 1 million phishing attempts per week for online shoppers.
"Internet Explorer 7 has been designed to make everyday tasks easier, provide dynamic security protection and improve the development platform and manageability. End user improvements include a streamlined interface, tabbed browsing, printing advances, improved search functionality, instant feeds (RSS), dynamic security protection, and more. This download is for Microsoft XP Service Pack 2 in English only. This custom IE7 download will be available during November 2007 - January 31, 2008. This custom download of IE7 will add a homepage tab to http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/winfamily/ie/confidence after install," Microsoft revealed in the download's overview.