Microsoft releases Internet Explorer 9
Microsoft’s final version of its new web browser, IE9, is now available for public download.
Microsoft has launched its new web browser, Internet Explorer 9. The product was first released to the public in beta form a little over a year ago, and the company claims that the new program’s speed and security will change users’ perception of the web and even foster the creation of a more "beautiful" internet.
Accompanied by a $10m advertising push, Microsoft hopes that IE9 will help stem the rise of rival browsers such as Google Chrome. Ashley Highfield, UK managing director of Microsoft, said that the release marked “the tipping point for the next generation, high definition internet; it’s a critical component for the next chain of events”.
More than 40 million people have already downloaded the beta version of IE9, giving the product a small percentage share of the global web browser market before it has even officially launched. Microsoft says it has had the highest and fastest adoption rate of any beta product it has ever launched.
Although the company claims that using hardware acceleration makes IE9 a faster browser than any other on offer, Mr Highfield added that the point of the “new web” was the widespread adoption of standards across platforms and programmes. He said more widespread use of the latest programming language, HTML5, would make the web “more beautiful” and easier to access.
The product also, Mr Highfield claimed, marked a resurgence for “web versus apps”.
The new browser also effectively allows web sites to look far more like applications than web sites. “Jump lists” allow bookmarks to offer enhanced features if they are added to a user’s tool bar. Music sites, for instance, can include play and pause functions on a menu that appears directly above the site’s icon.
Adopting a cleaner interface, IE9 now uses a single box for web addresses, searching and users’ web history. Since the release of the beta, Microsoft has also improved how IE9 allows users to protect themselves from tracking, and adjusted which notifications pop up.
Ovum principal analyst Richard Edwards said that “IE9 will excite web developers and ‘prosumers’ as they explore the new HTML5 capabilities of the Web’s most commonly used browser, but we consider it to be a non-event for the vast majority of corporate IT managers and their users largely because IE9 does not run on Windows XP - the operating system running on 67% of corporate desktops.”
Prior to the launch of the browser, Microsoft has also launched a campaign to move people away from its older browser, IE6.