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Microsoft's IE regulatory date with fate extended

End of 'traditional' IE suggested

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Microsoft's been given additional time to rebut European regulator's findings it broke the law by shipping Internet Explorer with Windows.

The European Commission has reportedly given Microsoft until April 21 to file a response, following a request by Microsoft's legal team.

Microsoft was in January judged by the Commission to have broken the law and given eight weeks to respond. That deadline was up this week.

The extension will mean Microsoft is forced to revisit more than 10 years of history on IE just as the company seeks to have people look ahead with the release of IE 8.

IE 8 is expected to be released at Microsoft's Mix 09 conference next week, with Microsoft Taiwan giving the release date as March 20. Version eight is Microsoft's attempt to make IE compatible with current web standards, a major break from past editions.

Microsoft has not given a date for IE 8's availability, but the fact that browser general manager Dean Hachamovitch is due to deliver a keynote at Mix suggests strongly a release is on the cards. Microsoft would not comment on the potential launch date but said the IE 8 timeline is being "driven by the quality of the product".

One tech web site, meanwhile, has claimed version eight will be the last "traditional" version of Microsoft's browser. SiliconRepublic.com said it was "understood" the next version would be based on the Microsoft Research project Gazelle that recently hit the headlines.

Gazelle offers the prospect of secure browsing but at the expense of speed and performance.

SiliconRepublic.com did not provide details. However, such a change - if true - would be a radical departure and represent yet another major disruption in the IE roadmap, following the overdue embrace of web standards.

Microsoft was unavailable for comment on a potential move to Gazelle. ®

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