Over at the Washington Post, Krebs is reporting that Microsoft is releasing Internet Explorer 7 this month. At first it sounded like it might be released as a security update (part of Patch Tuesday, when Microsoft releases all their security patches every month). Now it looks like it might just be released as a regular old update.

I’ve heard IE7 is pretty good, although some of the best security sauce won’t work until Windows Vista ships this year/next year/next decade/centruy/whatever.

The usual advantage of IE is that it won’t break all those sites coded specifically for IE, of which there are plenty. These days most of them are internal sites, but there are still plenty of external websites that don’t play nice with other browsers.

The problem with IE7 is that it’s a MUCH better browser than your current version of Internet Explorer, much more standards compliant, and much more secure.

In other words, it will probably break stuff.

My guess is IE7 will probably go out this month, but not as part of Patch Tuesday. It will still be branded as a security update and the faster consumers get it in their hands the better. It’s a significant update and could really help reduce some of the browser security problems floating around. It’ll probably break some corporate apps, but you enterprise IT guys hopefully won’t let this spread internally until you’ve tested it.

As for your personal browsing- get it. As soon as it’s released. Download it for grandma.

I still prefer Firefox and Safari (sorry, Mac only), but IE7 is more than an incremental improvement.