There have been rumors, but Zeldman found the official word: IE is dead. Version 6, Service Pack 1 is the last “standalone” version they will ever release. Get used to all those bugs, cause they’re going to be there for a while. Like, forever.
Q: when / will there be the next version of IE?
A: As part of the OS, IE will continue to evolve, but there will be no future standalone installations. IE6 SP1 is the final standalone installation.
Q: Why is this? the anti-trust?
A: Although this is off topic, I will answer briefly: Legacy OSes have reached their zenith with the addition of IE 6 SP1. Further improvements to IE will require enhancements to the underlying OS.
I read this as meaning they’re going to “integrate” the browser more deeply than ever, starting probably in Longhorn. But they stopped working on the standalone IE a long time ago. So unless in your world everybody is going to upgrade to Longhorn in an orderly fashion, (here’s a hint: I’m writing this on a Win98 machine,) this means we’ll be dealing with the enormous suckitude of IE6 for quite some time.
Those of you stuck in IE land:
IE doesn’t just suck for us, the hapless web developers, it also sucks for YOU, the user. All the browsers I just linked to have popup blocking, tabbed browsing, enhanced privacy controls, better support for web standards, fewer security holes, more vibrant developer communities, and are just all around WAY BETTER.
In comparison, IE is GARBAGE. And Microsoft has abandoned you.