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Firefox 3.1 vs IE8: 'Alpha, beta testers step forward, please'

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Microsoft is looking for additional testers for the second beta of its upcoming Internet Explorer 8 browser, while Mozilla has reached the first developer milestone of the next release of Firefox.

The two firms have been feverishly pitting their browsers against one another over the past few months.

On Wednesday, Microsoft said that beta two of IE8 was “right around the corner and we are expanding our reach!”. The software giant wants beta testers to step forward and contribute, er, “great bug reports”. Microsoft also has a vetting method in place to determine who gets to test drive the beta.

Somewhat creepily, the company’s IE8 program manager Allison Burnett wants you to tell Microsoft “a little about yourself including why you’d be a great beta tester”. Presumably to qualify you’ll need to have some kind of MS-endorsed developer-ish jiggery-pokery up your sleeve.

Early this week Mozilla announced that the next release of Firefox – codenamed Shiretoko Alpha 1 – was now available for download. It cautioned that the pre-beta version was for hardcore developers and testers only.

Shiretoko, essentially a very early preview of Firefox 3.1, is built on a pre-release version of the Gecko 1.9.1 rich internet apps platform.

Firefox 3 landed in June, grasping a tiny bit of Microsoft’s dominant market share thanks to its heavily-marketed “Download Day” to score a record number of downloads in one day. The PR stunt paid off, with Mozilla clocking more than eight million hits. ®

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