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Internet Explorer 9 beta launching in bid to salvage share

updated 12:20 pm EDT, Wed September 15, 2010

Microsoft to post IE9 beta today

Microsoft today is launching Internet Explorer 9 in its first public beta. The new release due to go live this afternoon has a major new interface design that cuts away most non-essential features: it gets rid of all but basic navigation buttons and puts the search bar, tabs and buttons on the same row. IE9's goal is to put as much attention on the site as possible, the company said.

In a first, the company is also focusing on accurate web rendering and will have built-in support for HTML5 features such as video as well as CSS3. The move may eliminate a longstanding need to include extra code or otherwise format sites to make sure they won't break in Microsoft's browser. A new JavaScript engine also renders pages much faster than in the past.

Microsoft is also taking advantage of some of the Windows-specific features added in between releases. Any browser tab can be pinned to the taskbar as though it were an app to encourage using web apps. Surfers with sufficiently fast graphics hardware will also see Direct2D used to accelerate rendering certain web code. Some websites are even partnering with Microsoft to customize the interface and will change button colors as viewers reach sites like Amazon or CNN.

The beta will be available later this afternoon. Microsoft hasn't penned in a release for the finished version, but early 2011 is a possible candidate.

A rapid release may come to be important for Microsoft, as it has lost much of its clout in the browser world. It once had over 90 percent share after the practical death of Netscape but has dropped to 60 percent after Firefox, Safari and eventually Chrome began stealing users away. Many users have defected after Internet Explorer repeatedly lagged behind in speed and have often complained that the browser has lacked features relative to its peers.





By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. Foxypaco

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2010

    +4

    If MS is serious

    about the browser wars, they would be smart to make a version of IE9 for Mac and Linux. But they're not, so they won't.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    -7

    Re: If MS is serious

    about the browser wars, they would be smart to make a version of IE9 for Mac and Linux. But they're not, so they won't.

    So should we say Apple isn't serious, since they haven't made Safari for Linux?

    And if they did make IE for Mac and Linux, who exactly would use it on those platforms? You?

  1. CarlRJ

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 2010

    +5

    Didn't you get the memo?

    The browser war ended years ago. Microsoft lost. What they're left with is a giant pile of inertia-riddled people who only use the browser that came installed on the computer, and who only buy Windows machines because they're scared of anything different (they're pretty sure them other machines are communist). These users will die off over time, or will be dragged, kicking and screaming, into the light, by concerned friends and relatives. No matter, IE9 is a good thing, because it means that in a few years web developers will only have to worry about (mostly-)HTML5-capable browsers.

    Microsoft is increasingly a pathetic shell of its former self (witness Window Phone 7 and the recent "iPhone funeral"). I, for one, will not miss the old Microsoft and its attempts to carve out eternal monopolies of mediocrity for itself by sabotaging its competition (as in "our products are best because we've killed any competitors").

  1. kerryb

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2001

    +1

    about time

    I had the misfortune to use a relative's laptop running Win7 while traveling this summer. I could not get over the clutter and chaos of the "default" look of an IE window. Websites where squeezed between a thousands buttons (garishly colored) and the task bar thing at the bottom. I had to constantly scrolled to since so little of most web pages were visible. This beta looks like a huge step for Microsoft to reining in the "features" of their software.

  1. aczeisler

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2007

    +3

    I can't get it to work!

    I have parallels 6 and Windows 7 Professional and IE9 Beta won't work for me. I had to remove the IE9 upgrade to get IE to work again.

  1. boris_cleto

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2002

    +6

    Corporations

    Will still be using IE6 till the end of the earth.

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