From a web development standpoint, this seems to be the primary argument against tying your browser to your operating system. Think about it: when IE7 hits, all of web developers are going to have learn all the new bugs that are sure to come with the updated version. As it is, we have a good dozen or more browsers to deal with. Add to that having to code for Windows 2000 and WinXP+ and Longhorn separately and you can see the size of the problem.
So it is rather significant news that Microsoft has decided to decouple IE7 from Longhorn and release it for WinXP. This cuts down the number of different operating systems to design for by one, and suggests that Firefox is indeed affecting the 800-lb gorilla’s strategy.
Because Longhorn is to WinXP what OS X was to OS 9, the upgrade process is going to be painful for more than just old Windows 2000 users. It’s also going to hurt for web developers who have become savvy to IE6′s standards support shortcomings and learned how to get around them. Adding a new browser to the mix is going to create a slew of new challenges; and just when you thought the world was getting safer for web design, Microsoft has decided to go and bust up our party.
Time to brush up on the new box models hacks. <Sigh>