Although Windows 2000 will be supported until 2010, users won't get access to IE 7's improved security and standards support.
In a blog posting at the end of last week, a Microsoft employee confirmed that the company would not be releasing IE 7 for Windows 2000, as this would involve a lot of work for an operating system that is in the later stages of its lifecycle.
"It should be no surprise that we do not plan on releasing IE 7 for Windows 2000. One reason is where we are in the Windows 2000 lifecycle. Another is that some of the security work in IE 7 relies on operating system functionality in XP SP2 that is non-trivial to port back to Windows 2000," according to the blog posting.
Although Windows 2000 will be supported until 2010, at the end of June of this year Microsoft will no longer accept requests for design changes or new features for the operating system.
A number of Microsoft blog readers were unhappy to learn that IE 7 would be unavailable on Windows 2000.
One reader, known as Garry, said it was contradictory for Microsoft to offer support for Windows 2000 until 2010, but not to offer its users an up-to-date browser.
"An important point, as I see it, is that Microsoft is committed to provided extended support to Windows 2000 through 2010. I consider that (an) acknowledgement by Microsoft that businesses and consumers will be using Windows 2000 until at least that time, however, come 2010 they will still be using IE 6 SP1 which will surely be obsolete by that time," said Garry.
Microsoft was also criticized for building a Web browser that cannot run independently of the operating system.
"What kind of silliness is this--to build an insecure Web browser that is so tightly screwed into the nitty gritties of an operating system that it can neither benefit from the updates made to itself on another flavor of the same operating system, nor can it be taken out of the operating system," said one posting.
IE 7, which will be available in beta this summer, will offer improved security features and basic tabbed browsing. It is also expected to offer improved standards support, including enhanced support for CSS 2 and PNG transparencies.
Ingrid Marson of ZDNet UK reported from London.