Internet Explorer 9 Nearing Completion

Dennis Faas's picture

Despite being available exclusively in beta form, Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) has been downloaded more than 20 million times, Microsoft reports. It comes as one set of figures puts the browser behind Mozilla Firefox among European users for the very first time.

Internet Explorer 9 Download Remains At Strong Pace

It's tough to know exactly how many people have downloaded the IE9 beta, as the figure Microsoft gives may well include multiple downloads by the same user. But it's likely that the figure runs into many millions of people, which suggests that the audience goes beyond web developers testing pages and applications, and hardcore tech enthusiasts.

Considering Microsoft reported 10 million downloads in November, the pace has barely slowed, a good sign considering many of the people who'd be interested in a beta edition would be expected to get it shortly after release. (Source:

Another potential indicator of interest in the beta is market share figures that put Internet Explorer 9 at between 0.46 per cent and 0.5 per cent depending on the source, meaning approximately 1 in 200 Internet users are already running the browser.

Internet Explorer 9 Nears Release Candidate Stage

It appears the testing program is progressing relatively quickly. Rumors suggest the Release Candidate (a version where the developer has finished making substantial changes) of Internet Explorer 9 could appear as soon as late January, 2011.

The final release date remains officially unknown, though there are predictions it could tie in with MIX, Microsoft's annual conference for website developers in April.

IE9 European Losses Concerning

But not all is well for Microsoft's Internet Explorer.

The browser's market share decline has been fairly consistent for several years and there's recently been a symbolic breakthrough in Europe. Analyst firm StatCounter reports that for the first time ever more people are now using Mozilla's Firefox browser than Internet Explorer, albeit it by a slim 38.11 per cent to 37.52 per cent margin. (Source:

On a worldwide basis, Microsoft is still far ahead, with more than twice the number of users as Firefox. However, its share fell below 60 per cent for the first time during 2010, and it critics suggest that it may even dip below 50 per cent this year.

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