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Internet Explorer 9 primed for March 14 launch

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(Read caption) Internet Explorer 9 is cleared for launch.

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Internet Explorer 9 – the next iteration of the most popular browser in the world – will launch on March 14, Microsoft reps announced today. Among the niceties expected to be included in final version of Internet Explorer 9 are increased support for hardware-accelerated graphics, support for HTML5, plenty of improved processing power, and an address bar search (a feature already included on the Google Chrome browser).

The new Microsoft browser will make "a more beautiful web for all of us," Ryan Gavin, Microsoft's Senior Director for Internet Explorer Business and Marketing, wrote in a blog post today. Gavin said IE 9 would get a full roll-out – complete with performances from several rock bands, including Yeasayer – at the SXSW festival in Austin next week.

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Internet Explorer 9 was first announced in 2009 – an "amazingly fast" turnaround for Microsoft, notes Paul Thurrott of Windows IT Pro, an independent Windows site. Still, as Thurrott notes, "it's not all good news. During that time, overall IE usage has fallen dramatically (though the most recent version, IE 8, has actually gained share on rivals). And Microsoft's faster-moving competitors are squeezing out new releases at a much faster clip."

Google, for instance, recently launched Chrome 10, which has won raves among reviewers. "Chrome may have only 10.9% of the browser market by the latest figures, but this version may help change that," Computerworld's Preston Gralla points out in a review of Chrome 10 today. "If you don't yet use Chrome, you may want to try it out for the speed improvement alone."

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