I saw some news today that the Firefox 4 download numbers beat those of IE 9 by a large margin. And that even with IE 9 getting rave reviews for being built from scratch and being speedy, while Firefox 4 came out of beta way too late.
Why is Firefox so popular and Google Chrome gaining market share like crazy? Barring the bad wrap IE has had for years for being sluggish and buggy, these browsers can work on a wide array of operating systems, including Windows XP. By contrast IE 9 only works on Windows Vista and 7 and I'm willing to bet that's a marketing decision and not a technological barrier.
I can just imagine how badly the IE 9 team would have wanted to make their creation available on XP, but the powers that be just vetoed that idea. Something like 40% of all Windows users are still on XP and Microsoft would like them to get off that platform. If IE 9 were to be supported on XP, it would probably see much greater adoption, yet that would be tantamount to a tacit approval of XP by Microsoft and they just couldn't have that, such conundrum.
Now imagine if the IE group was independent from the Windows group, as in two separate companies. Then there would be no conflict of interest, no corporate policies would be violated and no one will get mad if IE 9 would work on XP. Microsoft should break itself up for its own good. It's only harming itself in its current behemoth form.