Microsoft delivered the first update to Internet Explorer 7 in approximately a year since the version of the browser was initially made available for Windows XP SP2 and Windows Server 2003. Along with some minor tweaks to the graphical user interface and a revamped first-run experience and overview, on top of a redesigned online tour and updated how-tos, the new version of Internet Explorer 7 brings a major modification to the table. Both the download and the installation of IE7 build 7.0.5730.13 are no longer connected in any way to the Windows Genuine Advantage mechanism.
Prior to the update, users that wanted to access IE7 from Windows XP had to go through two stages of WGA validation. Once their operating system was labeled as genuine beyond any doubt, the users could enjoy Internet Explorer 7. And because IE7 is essentially designed as a replacement of IE6, Windows XP users had to go through the hassles of the WGA mechanism every time they wanted to deploy and install the browser, even though their operating system had already been validated and re-validated as genuine.
But no more; Steve Reynolds, IE Program Manager, revealed that Microsoft is committed beyond any doubt to protecting the entire Windows ecosystem. And believe it or not, this also involves pirated copies of Windows XP. Simply because from the Redmond companyâ€™s perspective, users of pirated Windows are still Microsoft customers. As a consequence, Reynolds revealed that the updated IE7 installation experience was designed to extend the browserâ€™s availability to all Windows users, including those running pirated versions of Windows.
According to statistics provided by Internet metrics company Net Applications, Internet Explorer 6.0 still accounts for no less than 42.75% of the browser market at almost a year following the availability of IE7, and even though version 7 is undoubtedly a superior product from all aspects to its predecessor. In this context, it is clear that the sole caveat of IE7 that managed to keep customers away was the Windows genuine Advantage validation process. Internet Explorer 7.0 owned at the end of September 34.60% of the browser market. Now the only question that remains is: will the market share of IE7 free of the WGA explode in the coming months? And if this is the case, will such a scenario spell yet another WGA failure?