March 15th, 2011
The final, consumer-ready Internet Explorer 9 is available for download starting at 9:00 PM PDT at www.BeautyOfTheWeb.com in 39 languages. With this set of browser releases, the best experience of the Web is on Windows. IE9 shows how your Web experience and browser are only as good as the operating system they run on:
Fast. With IE9, the Web delivers a new level of performance by unlocking the power of the PC hardware through Windows.
Clean. With IE9, consumers can keep sites at the center of their browsing experience, pinning them to the taskbar and interacting with them the same way they do applications.
Trusted. IE9 offers industry-leading protections (like SmartScreen) for the real-world threats (such as malicious sites and phishing scams) that consumers face every day on a sometimes-hostile Web.
Interoperable. With hardware-accelerated HTML5, developers can use the same markup across browsers to deliver a new class of Web experiences that feel more like apps than sites.
IE9 went from early preview to final release in less than a year, and in that time became the fastest growing beta of IE ever, with over 40 million pre-release downloads and 2% usage share on Windows 7. An important factor was the Web community’s engagement as the IE team took a more open and transparent approach across the nine platform releases of IE9.
Our new approach started with a regular cadence of meaningful platform previews. We also regularly released “test drives” to illustrate what the platform makes possible, along with comprehensive tests that we submitted to Web standards bodies. We blogged—a lot—to make sure that developers had the right information to succeed. We delivered site-ready HTML5 in the product and treated more emerging technologies as part of HTML5 Labs in order to get your feedback and respect your time. We appreciate the community’s response. Your help and feedback were crucial and informed the changes we made.
Acting on your feedback has been a key part of this release. With the Release Candidate, for example, we took to heart over 17,000 pieces of feedback about IE9. We want to thank the millions of people who have installed and used Internet Explorer 9 during pre-release testing. The value of your feedback in developing the product is hard to overstate. The final release continues the pattern of acting on your feedback. Some of the changes that RC users will find when upgrading to the final version include
Fast. We’ve made more performance improvements, especially on low-end machines. For example, we did additional tuning for low-end GPUs, where you will find that the Speed Reading test drive is even faster.
Clean. We’ve improved site pinning with multiple pinned targets per page. Now, a site can offer users the ability to pin a site on another domain. For example, a company with four distinct properties can offer all of them for pinning on one page.
Trusted. We’ve made a variety of improvements to Tracking Protection. For example, we’ve added a link in the product to a gallery of Tracking Protection Lists to improve discoverability and enabled ActiveX controls like Adobe Flash to participate in Tracking Protection.
Interoperable. We addressed many issues that the community reported (for example, in SVG text anchoring and WOFF font embedding) to enable the same markup to work consistently across browsers.
There are many overviews of the product available online. A recap of the last year of engineering blog posts on IE9 is available here. At the site Beauty of the Web, you will find an interactive product guide here. Release notes for developers and the Guide for Developers, are available here and here.
IE9 will be available to Windows customers via Windows Update. Machines running the IE9 beta or release candidates will be upgraded to the final release automatically. As this post about Windows 7 explains, no software project is ever really done. We will continue to monitor and act on the real world experience with IE9. The Beta and RC process showed servicing in action, and we have every intention to continue delivering on this important aspect of the product.
The Web is beautiful and powerful because of the developers and designers who build it. For some time, the people who build the Web have had better ideas for their customers than browsers have been able to deliver. Enabling developers to build rich and immersive sites that feel like native applications on your Windows 7 PC is at the heart of our approach with IE9.
On behalf of the individuals and companies who have worked with us to deliver this product, and the many people at Microsoft who have built it, thank you for visiting www.BeautyOfTheWeb.com and using IE9.
—Dean Hachamovitch, Corporate Vice President, Internet Explorer
Note: The IE team extends our sympathies to those affected by the massive earthquake in Japan. Out of respect for the situation, we are delaying the rollout of the final Japanese language version of IE9 to reduce load on network bandwidth at such a critical time.