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IE9 Goes Live This Week

Microsoft yesterday announced that it is launching the Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) Web browser on Monday, March 14. The new browser will be available for download starting at 9:00 p.m. Pacific Time on March 14, according to the company's announcement.

IE9 marks a significant change in strategy for Microsoft, which has opted to aggressively support the HTML5 Web standard even at the expense of its Silverlight rich Internet application (RIA) platform. Notably, IE9 enables hardware-accelerated playback of HTML5-based audio and video, and is able to leverage a system's graphics processing unit (GPU) to maximize performance.

In fact, performance gets a lot of attention in the new browser. The new "Chakra" JavaScript engine promises to significantly improve JavaScript rendering performance over IE8, and enables support for multi-core processors. There is also an "add-on performance advisor" that indicates to users when a third-party plug-in or add-on is impairing IE9's performance.

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, IE9 is a sincere browser indeed. It picks up several innovations from Google's Chrome browser, including the unified address and search bar (called "One Box" in Microsoft parlance) and the display of most visited Web sites on a new tab page. IE9 also features tab isolation and automatic crash and hang recovery for failed Web site connections. This stuff is welcome, but it's hardly new.

IE9 will go live almost one year to the day after the first platform preview was released at the MIX 10 event in Las Vegas. The first public beta dropped on September 15, while the release candidate went live on February 10. It's been a long road for this latest version of Microsoft's flagship Web browser. Will IE9 do enough to win back market share and earn the trust of a greater proportion of Web developers?

You tell me. What do you think of what Microsoft has done with IE9?

Posted by Michael Desmond on 03/10/2011 at 1:15 PM


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