Microsoft has announced that it will be concentrating on fixing the performance issues that plagued the Windows client OS and Internet Explorer (IE) browser in the next versions of those products.

IE 7 and Windows Vista have had serious performance problems early on that have alienated users and damaged the reputations of the products. Some IE users switched to Mozilla Firefox because of IE 7's frequent crashes and performance glitches, while Vista's bugs, incompatibility problems and other issues have been well-documented.

Microsoft is paying close attention to performance in Windows 7 and IE 8 as it develops both products, the company said in internal blogs about each product.

"We've re-dedicated ourselves to work in this area (performance) in Windows 7 (and IE 8)," the Engineering Windows 7 blog says. "This is a major initiative across each of our feature teams as well as the primary mission of one of our feature teams."

The company has an uphill battle to improving performance, particularly with Windows 7, said one analyst.

"I'm not surprised they're going to focus on performance," said Mike Cherry, an analyst with Directions on Microsoft. "I'm somewhat skeptical how much improvement they're going to make at this point."

He suggested Microsoft consider performance for Windows 7 the way it approached security when the company decided to make that a key priority for Vista. When Microsoft decided security was integral to the OS, the company engineered Vista so "every feature has a security attribute to it," Cherry said.

Similarly, the company should make performance such a priority that "anyone checking any code into Windows 7 not only has to make sure it's the most secure code and the most reliable code, but they'd better be addressing the performance of the code as well," he said.

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