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Microsoft Ships IE7 for XP

Just hours after Yahoo posted the golden code for its customized version of Internet Explorer 7 for Windows XP on the Web, Microsoft has announced that IE7 is immediately available for download.

Microsoft made the download available at 5 p.m. Pacific time Wednesday, apparently after Yahoo put its custom version on its download site earlier in the day – although no one is saying whether that was by mistake or not. Rumor has it that IE7 was originally scheduled to be released at 9 p.m. Pacific, which is midnight Eastern time, tonight.

"[This statement] is to confirm [that] a Yahoo optimized version of IE7 is currently available for download from Yahoo, as of today," a Yahoo spokeswoman said earlier Wednesday.

"Yahoo worked closely with Microsoft on the release of the Yahoo optimized version of Internet Explorer 7," a statement sent by Yahoo said.

After no major updates to IE6 since it first shipped in 2001, IE7 features tabbed browsing, a built-in RSS reader, a phishing filter, and an integrated search window.

Microsoft has also stressed repeatedly that IE7 would sport much improved security, and is offering free phone support as an incentive for existing IE users to upgrade. Free support is available Monday through Friday, 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. PDT, and on Saturday and Sunday from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. PDT at (866) 876-4926, according to Microsoft statements.

Additionally, Microsoft will distribute IE7 as a high-priority update via Automatic Updates. Customers planning to manage their internal deployment of IE7 should have blocking measures in place by November 1, the statement said.

The release could finally give Microsoft what it needs to stem the erosion of IE's market share. As it happens, Mozilla is also readying a major new release of its popular open source browser, and hopes to ship final code for Firefox version 2.0 by the end of the month. In fact, Mozilla shipped Release Candidate 3 on Monday.

Windows Vista, of course, will come with IE7 when it ships -- in November for business customers and in January for consumers.

Besides Vista, IE7 runs on Windows XP Service Pack 2, Windows XP 64-bit Edition and Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1.

The download of IE7 for Windows XP is located here.

About the Author

Stuart J. Johnston has covered technology, especially Microsoft, since February 1988 for InfoWorld, Computerworld, Information Week, and PC World, as well as for Enterprise Developer, XML & Web Services, and .NET magazines.

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