Looks like Firefox could become the genesis of the private-label browser, unencumbered by nasty platform/OS/Service Pack limitations. [here — courtesy of the XSLT:General blog]

I believe strenously that Microsoft has committed a serious error in limiting the upcoming MSIE 7 update to Windows XP SP2 machines. It will not drive the large corporate IT departments who still use Windows 2000 to upgrade. It will increase resentment towards the company, which will be actively commented on in places (such as here).

I use Windows XP SP2. But as you see from the sub-title of this blog, the next computer I will buy for myself is going to be a Macintosh Powerbook. And I will run Safari, Firefox, Camino, and (very, very occasionally) fire up some 6 year-old, badly maintained version of MSIE for MacOSX.

When I use Windows, I will use MSIE to compare the look and feel of the pages I build. And nothing more.

If Microsoft wanted this new browser to be a true update, and not simply an addition to their program of forced obsolescence, they would have made it free of OS restrictions. What Microsoft has said is that if you don’t run Windows XP SP2, your browsing experience will be sub-optimal, less secure, and unsupported.

Web designers, this means that you will have to have yet another platform to test your Web designs, as MSIE 5.5, 6.0, and 7.0 will all interpret CSS, CSS2 and other design features differently.

So, what is the big deal about MSEI 7.0? It shows the Web community that Microsoft has still not learned the lesson that Firefox is teaching: be everywhere. Microsoft, the OS is not the platform of the future; the browser is the platform of the future. And a browser that can run anywhere, anytime, in any language, on any hardware, will win.