After months of beta testing, Microsoft has finally released the final version of Internet Explorer 9 to the masses.
Microsoft debuted the new browser at a launch event at South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, Texas. Dean Hachamovitch, the corporate vice president of Internet Explorer, told the story of how Microsoft built IE9 from scratch.
Microsoft launched the IE9 beta last year to generally positive reviews. Last month, Microsoft unveiled the IE9 release candidate. In total, the IE9 Beta and release code have already been downloaded more than 40 million times.
IE9 is not just an update to IE8, but a complete rebuild of Microsoft’s popular but maligned browser. It boasts radical speed and graphics improvements, thanks to its increased adherence to web standards and use of hardware acceleration. On stage, Hachamovitch touted its advanced support for HTML5 and its UI improvements. Everything from the back button to the taskbar has been revamped.
Microsoft is also touting IE9′s security features. Hachamovitch outlined the company’s take on privacy earlier this year at CES. IE9 includes tracking protection (its implementation of the “Do Not Track” list) and stronger filters against malware.
The final version of Internet Explorer 9 will be available for download at midnight ET/9:00 PM PT at beautyoftheweb.com.