IE 7 Beta May Be At Hand

The beta of Internet Explorer 7 may show up as early as next week, if reports by a Windows enthusiast Web site are on the mark.

According to, sources say that the first beta of Longhorn, now dubbed Windows Vista, will release Wednesday, July 27. (Microsoft has only said Beta 1 of Vista will go out by August 3.)

The fact that Longhorn, or Vista, will include its own version of Internet Explorer 7 has fueled talk that the long-awaited beta of IE 7 for Windows XP SP2 -- the only other platform scheduled to receive the security and feature update -- will appear at the same time.

According to the few details that Microsoft has publicly released, IE 7 will feature tabs -- a tool that rival Firefox has had since its inception -- run only on Windows XP SP2 (and not, for instance, on the still-in-use Windows 2000), support RSS, and layer on additional security.

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Microsoft has promised IE 7 will ship in final form by the end of 2005.