Microsoft To Unveil IE9 Beta Mid September

The public beta of Internet Explorer 9 will be launched on September 15, Microsoft has confirmed

Microsoft has confirmed that it is to use a high-profile event in San Francisco to launch the public beta of Internet Explorer 9 on September 15.

During the Microsoft Financial Analyst Meeting on 29 July, Microsoft COO Kevin Turner had suggested the IE9 beta would arrive in September but offered no further details. Microsoft released IE9’s fourth and final Platform Preview to developers 4 August, with features such as native JavaScript integration and fully hardware-accelerated HTML5.

“The fourth Platform Preview of Internet Explorer 9, available now, shows the opportunity of fully hardware-accelerated HTML5,” Dean Hachamovitch, general manager of Internet Explorer, wrote in an 4 August posting on the Windows Internet Explorer Weblog. “You can run new test drive samples that show modern SVG and native JavaScript integration in action. … With this instalment, you will find more performance and more support in the same markup.” That JavaScript integration, apparently, allows IE9 to achieve greater speeds than its predecessors.

The IE9 Platform Preview 4 can be downloaded here.

Holding Its Own

While rival browsers such as Firefox and Chrome offer strong challenges in the browser space, Internet Explorer has managed to make incremental gains with regard to overall users. Analytics firm Net Applications estimated Internet Explorer’s share of the July browser market at 60.74 percent – a slight increase from June’s 60.32 percent – followed by Firefox with 22.91 percent, Chrome with 7.16 percent, Safari with 5.09 percent and Opera with 2.45 percent.

Internet Explorer 8 has seen an increase in user adoption, while the respective market shares for Internet Explorer 6 and 7 continue to decline. Microsoft executives keep suggesting that the latter versions’ market erosion is a natural trend. Despite their encouraging users to migrate to the browser’s newest versions, however, the company also intends to support the increasingly antiquated Internet Explorer 6 through April 2014.

Privacy Concerns

Despite those user gains, Internet Explorer faces some controversy over its privacy policies. An 1 August article in The Wall Street Journal alleged that company executives had killed the IE development team’s attempt to create software that counteracts common tracking tools, apparently because such programming would interfere with their online-ad selling operation.

As the issue gained traction online, Microsoft insisted in an 1 August corporate blog posting that “browsing the web is fundamentally an information exchange” and that “your web browser offers information in order to get information.” Executives have also called attention to Internet Explorer’s InPrivate Filtering, which lets users regulate their privacy settings.