Microsoft launches new web browser
The new IE9 browser contains a range of new features, many of which are designed to make the browser perform more like an application commonly found on smartphones, which offer a customised and intuitive way to interact with a website. IE9 is designed to help blur the boundaries between applications and the browser.
To do this, Microsoft has adopted technology that allows the browser to tap directly into a computer's graphics chip, rather than just its processor. This "hardware acceleration" makes web pages more nimble and behave more like software running directly on the computer. IE9 also supports forthcoming global web standards, such as HTML5, which allow web developers to create rich and immersive web sites with graphics and video.
The browser also introduces new functions, such as so-called Pinned Sites, a user's favourite websites that can be accessed directly from the Windows Taskbar, without having to open the browser. Other features, such as a combined search and address bar and a simplified menu, reflect the functionality already seen on Firefox and Chrome.
However, the new browser cannot be used with the Windows XP operating system which is still the dominant Microsoft version used by many computers. Therefore there is no firm release date for the full version of the new browser, which may allow competitors to gain an advantage, as this date may not be until sometime next year.