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Microsoft readies IE8 for lift off

But will download servers cope?

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Web surfers across the world will be able to download Internet Explorer 8 later today.

Microsoft’s browser should land at noon Eastern Day Time (16:00hrs GMT), assuming the software giant isn’t hit by any 11th hour problems with its download servers.

The firm will officially take the wrapper off IE8 later today at its web designers and developers MIX09 conference in Las Vegas.

Redmond said the browser would be available in 25 languages that include Arabic, English, Greek, Japanese, Russian and Turkish.

MS boss Steve Ballmer was keen to big up IE8’s security features by claiming the new browser “provides protection that no other browser can match”.

It comes loaded with a private browsing option, the ability to save quick view slices of a webpage and better security features. IE8 will also play nice with web standards to keep developers and regulators happy.

Microsoft is also directly responding to an increasingly crowded market, where it now faces serious competition from open source browsers such as Mozilla’s Firefox and Google’s Chrome.

Its rivals have, in recent months, placed strong emphasis on their respective JavaScript engines, whereas Microsoft has played down the significance of speed in its own browser.

Mozilla is currently working on Firefox 3.15, but it’s not expected to rock up until the summer now. Meanwhile, Google on Tuesday re-betafied its Chrome browser.

The Register has full analysis of IE8’s imminent arrival here, and those interested in downloading the browser should be able to hit the button here in a little under five hours from now. ®

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