Microsoft's rivals: why can't XP support IE9?

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Google and Yahoo lead attack on Microsoft for denying XP users the benefits of HTML5

Microsoft has come under fire from rivals for not offering Internet Explorer 9 to Windows XP users.

IE9 is the first Microsoft browser to offer support for HTML5, the next generation of the web's markup language. But Windows XP users won't be offered IE9, with Microsoft claiming the new browser needs "a modern operating system".

"IE9 will not be supported by Windows XP," said Microsoft's web technical evangelist Giorgio Sardo, speaking at the Web 2.0 Expo. "We are building all of HTML5 with hardware acceleration. We need a modern OS to do this."

IE9 will not be supported by Windows XP. We are building all of HTML5 with hardware acceleration. We need a modern OS to do this

The comments didn't sit well with Microsoft's browser rivals, who pointed out that by not supporting Windows XP, Microsoft was barring a large portion of people from enjoying the benefits of HTML5, including offline storage and plugin-free media playback.

"Opera and Mozilla and on Chrome we're all doing hardware acceleration, and all of us are doing it on XP," argued Google Chrome developer Alex Russell.

"What you’re describing is a situation where people are getting left behind. The way is to not leave users behind. The question is, do we have a plan so that we can give developers a choice to use HTML5 across the board?"

His concerns were echoed by Doug Crockford, a senior JavaScript architect at Yahoo, who offered a straight forward solution to the problem. "I recommend all users of XP migrate to another browser that's not IE," he said.

This brought the debate around to the problem of IE6, which still enjoys widespread support among enterprises, despite its age and insecurity.

"My proposal for solving the IE6 problem?" said Crockford. "One day, the major website developers redirect to a page that says 'please load one of these five or six free browsers, and then come back.'"

"We all have to do it on the same day. Otherwise, we'll be afraid we'll be sending IE6 users to a competitor, and we'll never get them back. I propose that day is 30 days after all the major browser vendors have implemented HTML 5. On that day, IE 6 dies," he added.

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