Because IE has the bulk of the corporate market, Hilwa said, he expects that companies may skip an upgrade to stick with a more manageable two-year-cycle. By quickening the release pace, Microsoft hopes to retain more consumers and give businesses the option of taking an annual refresh, or as they often do with Office, delaying until the next edition comes along.
User may have to make up their minds sooner than later if Microsoft is on an annual schedule. IE9 made its first public beta in September 2010, six months after the debut Platform Preview. If IE10's on that same track, people can figure on beta by October.
Hilwa likes Microsoft's approach -- put a succession of previews in developers' hands -- but not tie itself to a feature set until a beta is ready. "They don't want to be experimental in the production version," Hilwa said, "because once you put something in, then everyone assumes it's going to be in the production code."
Hachamovitch said Microsoft would issue a new Platform Preview every eight-to-12 weeks.
IE10 Platform Preview is essentially a browser engine with a minimalist wrapper, and lacks common navigation tools such as an address bar or a Back button. It can be run side-by-side with IE9, Hachamovitch said.
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