Microsoft today announced that it will release a version of its long-awaited Internet Explorer 10 web browser for Windows 7 in the middle of next month, to coincide with the general availability of the new Windows 8 operating system.
However, Rob Mauceri, Microsoft's group programme manager for Internet Explorer, said the Windows 7 IE10 variant coming out next month will only be a preview, "with final availability to follow as we collect developer and customer feedback."
Despite being released in final version for Windows 8, development of the next Internet Explorer browser for Windows 7 has been a slow process for Microsoft.
The current preview of IE10 for Windows 7 was released a year ago, with no updates provided since then.
Microsoft has been losing market presence in the important web browser area to competitors Google and Mozilla, and has been spruiking the improved performance and additional standards support that IE10 promises to bring.
In its developers' guide for IE10, Microsoft noted that the most recent release for Windows 7 was June 29, 2011 which means that several new features are only available in Windows 8, which is scheduled for general availability next week.
Internet Explorer 10 will only run on Windows 7 or better, with no support for older operating systems such as Vista and XP.
Last month usage share statistics gathering firm Netmarketshare revealed that Windows 7 passed XP and became the most popular desktop and laptop operating system in the world, with 44.04 percent market share.
This gives Windows a commanding 91.7 percent market share of operating systems in the desktop and laptop arena.
Even so, Internet Explorer holds only just over half of the browser market according to Netmarketshare, with Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox snagging one-fifth each.