Microsoft may be taking a measured risk with its decision to exclude Windows XP systems from the Internet Explorer 9 update.
Research firm Net Applications said in its most recent browser market share report that Microsoft could be banking on a flow of updates from Windows XP to Windows 7 to sustain its lead in the web browser space.
Microsoft released IE9 earlier this month, notifying users that the update would not be compatible with systems running the older but still popular Windows XP.
Mozilla, meanwhile, released Firefox 4 with Windows XP compatibility, and the browser surpassed IE9 in early downloads.
Net Applications said that the March browser market share had IE8 on 51.57 per cent, followed by Firefox 3.6 with 19.53 per cent. IE9 accounted for 3.56 per cent, while Firefox 4 claimed 2.8 per cent.
Vincent Vizzaccaro, executive vice president of marketing and strategic alliances at Net Applications, told V3.co.uk that Microsoft will bank on users upgrading from Windows XP to stick with the IE platform rather than convert to Firefox.
"In the end, Microsoft is betting that XP users will upgrade in large numbers to Windows 7 or later in the not too distant future. That, of course, is a safe bet," said Vizzaccaro.
"They are also betting that those users will at least initially try the latest version of IE, and market share indications are that this is also a safe bet."
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