Microsoft Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner revealed today at the company's annual financial analyst meeting that the first beta of the Internet Explorer 9 Web browser is planned for release in September. This is a little later than expected; leaked documents that emerged last month pointed at an August release date for the beta.
Some apparently authentic screenshots of Internet Explorer 9 have leaked, though perhaps surprisingly, they show few changes from the current version. Microsoft has shipped three platform previews to show off the Internet Explorer 9 engine, but these previews used a simple, bare-bones interface; the company wanted to wait before revealing Internet Explorer 9's look and feel. If the new browser really is just a minor evolution of the old browser's interface, that decision seems a little peculiar.
The new browser is eagerly anticipated, especially by Web developers; Internet Explorer 9 is a big improvement on Internet Explorer 8, with considerably improved standards compliance and functionality. News of the beta is certainly welcome, but there's still a marked contrast between Microsoft's release policy and the more frequent updates of browsers like Firefox and Chrome. For all of its improvements, there's a good chance that Microsoft's browser will have been surpassed by its competition by the time it finally ships.
No release date has been announced, but most believe that the final version will not arrive until 2011.
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