Microsoft announced that there will be an IE7 beta this summer, contradicting their previous plan to only offer a new Internet Explorer in Longhorn. It seems that Firefox is getting a bit too strong for their likes and MS needs a way to try and win back marketshare (or at the very least mindshare). Is this a case of too little, too late? Arguably the biggest hurdle in getting people to switch to Firefox is getting them to install and use a browser other than the one that is bundled in the OS.
At this point, Microsoft is playing catch up with their 6 year old code base (IE6 was released in 99) against a versatile open-source project. It seems as though internal Microsoft bureaucracy stands in the way of being able to release new features as quickly as the Firefox crew can. After all, IE developers have to worry about the much-lauded OS/Browser integration and the effects a security issue in IE can have on the entire OS. Consumers are already turned off to IE (if not Microsoft in general), Microsoft is going to have to do a lot more than they have been doing to win them back.
During Econ lecture yesterday, we discussed hyperinflation and discussion turned to Argentina, particularly around the turn of the century (the one five years ago) when the fixed exchange rate was broken. After a bit more discussion, he concluded that perhaps it was a poor example. After some thought, I've come up with some reasons as to why there was no hyperinflation during the devaluation of 2001-2002:
- Income in pesos was effectively cut by 1/3 and so purchasing power was in line with discounted prices.
- The "corralito" curbed the purchasing power of those wage-earners whose income was still in dollars to levels comparable to that of peso-earners.
- Since firms were previously indifferent to receiving dollars or pesos (to a certain extent), the structure of some multinationals might have been such that expenses being paid in dollars and revenue being received in pesos. As a result, companies were forced to dismiss employees and unemployment shot up. A high unemployment rate creates downward pressure on price levels which would have counteracted any possible inflation.
I am by no means an economist so hopefully I'll have a chance to discuss this with him (a real economist) next week to see what his thoughts on that matter are.