In a surprise move, Microsoft has issued a new build of
Internet Explorer 7 (IE7) to customers that can be installed on any machine
running Windows XP or Windows Server 2003 -- IE7 is already included in Windows
Vista operating systems.
IE7 was previously reserved for customers using genuine
copies of Windows-based operating systems and was protected by Microsoft's
Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) validation software.
"Because Microsoft takes its commitment to help protect
the entire Windows ecosystem seriously, we’re updating the IE7 installation
experience to make it available as broadly as possible to all Windows
users," remarked IE7 program manager Steve Reynolds on the IE
Blog. "With today’s 'Installation and Availability Update,'
Internet Explorer 7 installation will no longer require Windows Genuine
Advantage validation and will be available to all Windows XP users."
Microsoft is likely using this move to makes IE7 available
to the broadest range of customers worldwide. Mozilla's Firefox browser has gained a lot of
traction recently, and this move would give Microsoft some additional
In addition to the removal of WGA, the latest version of IE7
brings updates to the menu bar, online tour and a new MSI installer for IT