IE8 might just be the last version of Internet Explorer that we see. "At least, that's what I'm hearing through the grapevine," says Randall Kennedy of InfoWorld.
If the rumor does end up being true, Microsoft will probably be replacing it with someting based on either WebKit or its newly developed Gazelle engine, which is said to be more secure than both FireFox and Chrome.
Kennedy says that if Internet Explorer does get retired after version 8, it is sure to have a lot of issues to deal with conerning compatibility, especially with ActiveX controls.
Then there's the issue of legacy HTML/CSS support. So much of the Web has been tweaked for IE 6.x compatibility that even Microsoft's own attempts to implement a more standards-compliant browser engine in IE8 have met with disastrous results. For me, the situation so bad that when I do find myself using IE 8 (typically, to view a site that causes my copy of the Chrome 2.x beta release to blow up), I end up configuring IE 8's compatibility mode as the default viewing option since the browser's native rendering mode breaks practically every site I visit.