"...I mean, we're not -- there's not like some deep secret about what we're doing with IE."
That's what Bill Gates said when asked about the status of IE8 at the uber-elite Mix-N-Mash event in Redmond. As Mary Jo pointed out, the next day Dean posted to the IE weblog that IE8 is currently in progress. In his post, he linked to Bill's announcement of IE7, where there was an interesting comment he made that is still true today:
Why are we talking about it today? Because our customers and partners have asked us, with increasing urgency, what our plans are. We want to convey our intentions to our customers and partners clearly and in a timely way.
History seems to be repeating itself.
Personally, I think it's stupid that they're waiting until MIX08 to make any announcements about it. There doesn't need to be fanfare around it, it's just a browser. I think that when it comes to IE, Microsoft has a lot to make up for after disbanding the team post-IE6. Since IE is on the Windows side of the house, my guess is that is has more to do with the "don't talk about it till it's ready" mentality that pervades that division since Allchin's departure, than anything else. In short, I think Dean *wants* to talk about it, but he's being shut down by his bosses, just like the rest of the Windows division.
And that might be alright, except that IE is a developer-focused product, and those developers are used to the 100% transparency that comes from the DevDiv. Personally, I think the IE team should move under Soma's group (but Dean should definitely still be in charge of it, he's a great guy and the right person for the job). It would make a lot more sense for a bunch of different reasons, especially since Microsoft stopped using the IE engine in other parts of Windows.
Anyways, I thought Bill's very candid answer was quite amusing. Hopefully that mentality starts rolling downhill, because it is not, and should not be, a secret.