(Migrated weblog post from LSR)
Indeed! The folks over at Microsoft have been stating that next version of IE (version 7) will have tab browsing but that will be, more or less, “pretty basic”:
“The main goal for tabs in our beta release is to make sure our implementation delivers on compatibility and security. The variety of IE configurations and add-ins across the Internet is tremendous.”
That certainly sounds to me like they will just make that feature available because of the fact that other web browsers like Opera or FireFox already have it so they would need to catch with what the competition is doing. It has got nothing to do with innovating on that space and provide some additional functionality in that same space. It looks like that will be left to both alternative web browsers as IE will be rather busy trying to regain part of the market share, once again. Even more when other IE-related browsers like Avant Browser, for instance, are already providing that functionality.
It is interesting to see though that this release of IE will actually focus on compatibility and security, at least, for this particular feature. That, to me, is good news, but we shall just have to wait and see how it goes once it becomes available. I doubt that IE will be able to pull more end-users back to it because of this feature alone (although I do realise there may be some more added to the final product release), specially when other browsers are focusing very much on much more powerful drivers like adhering to web standards, or a much better user interface for an overall satisfactory web browsing experience. IE has got a lot to catch up with and, by the looks of it, it seems that it would not be good enough. By the time IE makes it to the same level of commitment to end-users like Opera or FireFox have done so far both browsers will be miles away again. Why ? Because they are committed to innovate, IE seems to be just committed to try to catch up.