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To IE or Not to IE?

Microsoft's long-awaited Internet Explorer 7 Beta has many in IT questioning how they will be affected by the new browser. For organizations that hitched their wagons irrevocably to Microsoft's browser by developing or purchasing critical applications that require IE, there's no choice but to endure whatever features Microsoft dreams up.

For them, aside from the typical need to thoroughly test the upgrade before deploying it (since the upgraded browser, per usual Microsoft practice, deletes the prior version), IE7 at least offers solid--though tardy--improvements, such as tabbed browsing, a zoom feature, and improved standards compliance in CSS and other areas. However, there's still a long way to go; here's hoping for significant progress prior to the final release, which may not arrive until 2007.

Arguably wiser IT shops that have maintained cross-browser compatibility for their key Web apps can wait to see whether IE7 has a place in the enterprise, and whether Microsoft can halt Firefox's incursion into IE's comfortable hegemony.

Either way, though IE7 improves security, it is likely users will continue to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous security holes, due to Microsoft's fateful decision to tie its browser deeply into the operating system itself. Is it still worth using? That is the question.