Microsoft Internet Explorer 9 Beta Now Available

Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft has made the beta version of its upcoming Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) web browser available for download. However, those interested in downloading Internet Explorer 9 should remember that it is restricted to Windows Vista and Windows 7 users only. Windows XP users are not eligible.

Microsoft on Wednesday introduced a beta-test edition of IE9, a browser it hopes will overcome the company's steadily declining market share.

Consumer mistrust of Microsoft's browser started a few years ago with the buggy and insecure Internet Explorer 6, and although recent updates Internet Explorer 7 and 8 have made marginal improvements to that formula, competitors Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome continue to build in popularity.

IE9: WinXP Users Need Not Apply

Internet Explorer 9 Beta is available only for users of Microsoft's last two operating systems, the much-maligned Windows Vista and the very popular Windows 7.

The exclusion of support for Windows XP is hardly going to improve consumer good feeling towards Internet Explorer or Microsoft, but it may help build the popularity of Windows 7 by less-than-subversively forcing users into an OS upgrade. (Source:

Microsoft says upgrading to the new browser (and, by extension, OS) is worth it. The company says it has vastly improved IE's support for web standards as well as its overall performance and maintenance tools.

Internet Explorer 9's features a more streamlined interface than its predecessors, an interface that closely resembles one of its major competitors in this market space, Google Chrome.

CPU and Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) Integration

The real allure of IE9 may be the advances in graphics integration between processor (CPU) and graphics technology (GPU).

According to Dean Hachamovitch, a Microsoft executive, IE9 should be considered a "browser that uses the whole PC and puts sites at the center of the experience." It's PR lingo referring to the way IE9 uses Windows' graphics processing power. (Source:

It's also a reference to new technology that has kept Windows XP users on the outside looking in.

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