I know that Internet Explorer 7 beta 2 preview has been out for awhile, but I just got around to installing it and I thought I would take her for a little test drive. I'll include the relevant links at the bottom of the post, but before you rush out and install it remember that this is a beta preview, so at this stage it can still be tough to tell the difference between the bugs and the features. According to Microsoft this preview will only load on computers running Windows XP with service pack 2 installed, although they say that the production version will run on Vista (the next OS due out later this year), Windows XP Pro x64, and Windows Server 2003 in addition to XP. It's not going to run on anything prior to XP with service pack 2, so you may be looking at an OS upgrade if you've got an older OS.
I think that it's easy to tell from looking at it that Microsoft has heard the footsteps of other browsers coming up from behind, and has tried to take the best features from some of those other browsers and incorporate them into this version. Some of what they've done will be old hat for users of the more advanced browsers, but it looks like they're trying out some new things, too. They get an advantage with the hooks they can build into the OS, and they've already got the installed base. They flip the switch on it and they instantly get market dominance, it's a good place to be. Still, it's good to see that some good old-fashioned healthy competition can make the giant jump.