Microsoft still short on details surrounding IE8

With customers looking for some answers regarding what changes the next version of Internet Explorer will bring, Microsoft provided them with little more than a name.

In a post to the official Internet Explorer blog, general manager Dean Hachamovitch revealed the not-so-surprising detail that the next major release of Internet Explorer will be called IE8. But he failed to provide any details on actual features.

"You will hear a lot more from us soon on this blog and in other places. In the meantime, please don't mistake silence for inaction," Hachamovitch promised.

Microsoft's silence on the matter has left some customers with a bad taste in their mouths over not knowing what changes to expect in IE8. In comparison, Mozilla has been quite public about its Firefox roadmap. At a blogger roundtable with Bill Gates Wednesday some let their displeasure be known.

Molly Holzschlag of Molly.com said she was concerned that the lines of communication between the IE team and Web developers had "shut down" after years of open communication surrounding MIX and other events.

The question seemed to catch Gates off guard. "I'll have to ask Dean what the hell is going on. I mean, we're not -- there's not like some deep secret about what we're doing with IE," he said.

Members of the IE team came to Gates' aid, adding that Microsoft planned to disclose more about IE8 at MIX 08 in March, although the extent was "to be determined." Gates added that Hachamovitch may not yet be at a point where he is ready to commit to a feature set.

It is this back and forth between Holzschlag and Gates that likely prompted the somewhat odd posting from Hackmovitch later Wednesday.

Either way, with Mozilla preparing to release a new version of Firefox, which in the past has also given it a bump up in market share, Microsoft may be hoping a name will be enough to keep developers at bay -- at least for now.

However, without any kind of promise that IE8 will be worthwhile enough to wait out, Microsoft's silence may put it in the unfortunate predicament of giving users another reason for considering Mozilla's open source and cross platform browser.

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