If you’re still running any version of Windows other than XP and were expecting that Microsoft would patch Internet Explorer to give you the same security updates included in the recent Service Pack 2 update, well, you’re going to be disappointed:
Microsoft affirmed that its recent security improvements to IE would be made available only to XP users.
“We do not have plans to deliver Windows XP SP2 enhancements for Windows 2000 or other older versions of Windows,” the company said in a statement. “The most secure version of Windows today is Windows XP with SP2. We recommend that customers upgrade to XP and SP2 as quickly as possible.”
Everfresh Translation: “If you’re too cheap to upgrade to our latest OS then you can stuff your security concerns in a pipe and smoke ‘em, baby!”
At a minimum this will cost you guys $89 for the upgrade version of XP Home which you’ll need a valid CD-ROM of your current version of Windows to install, otherwise it’ll cost you $199. Of course, that’s assuming your PC is even capable of running Windows XP in it’s current configuration. Many folks on Windows 9x or ME may find they need a bigger HD or more RAM before even considering upgrading. Of course, this is likely to be part of Microsoft’s intent in making this decision.
That, analysts say, is a steep price to pay to secure a browser that swept the market as a free, standalone product.
“It’s a problem that people should have to pay for a whole OS upgrade to get a safe browser,” said Michael Cherry, analyst with Directions on Microsoft in Redmond, Wash. “It does look like a certain amount of this is to encourage upgrade to XP.”
There’s somewhere around 390 million PCs in the world running older versions of Windows. That adds up to an eye-popping $34,710,000,000 if Microsoft could convince everyone to buy just the upgrade version of XP Home. That’s not likely to happen, of course, but even a small percentage of that number would be a big revenue boost.
Then again it’s also possible this move could make for 390 Million new Mozilla/Firefox adopters as well… a simple move that would cost them nothing.