Microsoft to drop Vista support with IE10

Vista users getting the short end of the stick? Truly shocking, I know. Still, Microsoft has made it official: the next version of Internet Explorer will require at least Windows 7 to run, leaving Vista users in the dust.

Why drop support for an operating system that's only four years old? Microsoft offered the following explanation when quizzed by Computerworld:

Windows Vista customers have a great browsing experience with IE9, but in building IE10 we are focused on continuing to drive the kind of innovation that only happens when you take advantage of the ongoing improvements in modern operating systems and modern hardware.

Wanting to build a state-of-the-art browser is all well and good, but keeping it out of the hands of folks with relatively recent systems can only mean bad news for the web as a whole. New websites and web apps must always be built with the lowest common denominator in mind, so as long as Vista users account for a decent chunk of the web-using populace, then designers and coders won't be able to move on.

Then again, that's small potatoes when you consider the larger percentage of XP users who don't even have access to IE9. (Microsoft's latest browser requires Vista or Win7.) Meanwhile, the latest versions of both Chrome and Firefox happily work with XP... and Firefox 4 even supports Windows 2000.

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