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Microsoft launched Internet Explorer 8 today.

To be honest, the news left me underwhelmed. There are some software releases I look forward to (a new Firefox or OpenOffice, or the latest Ubuntu distro) but Explorer is an unloved child on my ageing XP desktop, sitting there looking rather forlorn, rarely touched except on Patch Tuesdays and those times when I have to look at a website that insists on one browser, and one browser only.

Microsoft has been suffering recently. The rise of netbooks meant they had to give away XP at knockdown prices, and even then they lost market share to Linux. Vista is widely hated, so much that Windows 7 is widely regarded as Vista That Works rather than a truly new system, and Apple continues to nibble away at it’s market share.

Tomorrow, I will be downloading and installing the new Internet Explorer. I expect it to sit quietly on my desktop, rarely used, but for those occasions when I find a badly designed website, I’ll know it’s there. And who knows, maybe it really does have a killer feature that will make me want to replace Firefox.

Somehow though, I don’t think that’s what will happen.