More then to 80% of PC users world wide still use XP. Do you really think users will want to upgrade their operating system and most of their programs just so they can use a new browser?...not to mention the huge costs involved for businesses.
I never had to replace any programs i purchased to get them to run on Windows 7 and if you have one of the few programs that may break, there is a version of Windows 7 that includes the Windows XP virtualized in which case it runs fantastic. Program compatibility as you state was basically solved in NT4 to 2000 days.
People also upgrade to Windows 7 for new functionality. You know, Windows Media Center, Native USB support, DirectX 10/11 support, better driver support and a zillion other things. Corporations uprgade to Windows 7 for the vastly increased deployment and management processes and integration into domain systems so on and so forth.
I expect most people will get windows 7 on a new pc.
also, its more like 45-50% marketshare, not 80%.
Microsoft WILL HAVE to come up with a striped down IE9 version for XP, sooner then later. The IE browser will be losing its market share much faster otherwise, it is that simple.
Why do they "HAVE" to? What benefit is there to dumping money into a dead end product when it has alternatives already available?
I don't see IE9 as a recovery for a lost cause, i see it as MS finally steering its flagship product in the right direction.
MS has made some bad bad mistakes. I'm not going to defend them in that regard, but i just don't see the reasoning for demanding an XP version.