IE 8 looking like a November release

According to one well-placed tipster, who requested anonymity, the current plan is for Microsoft to make IE 8 Beta 2 available for download from its Web site on Thursday, August 28. And it sounds like the final release of IE 8 is slated for November.

Seems like all you have to do is mention "porn," and the Internet Explorer (IE) 8 tipsters crawl out of the woodwork. (Just kidding... Sort of....)

IE 8 looking like a November release
I noted yesterday that Microsoft only had 11 more days within which to deliver the more customer-focused IE 8 Beta 2 if it were to hit its August deadline. According to one well-placed tipster, who requested anonymity, the current plan is for Microsoft to make IE 8 Beta 2 available for download from its Web site by August 28. And the final version is tracking for a November release, the tipster added.

Microsoft is expected to provide some previously undisclosed new features as part of the upcoming beta release, including some kind of new private-browsing (a k a "porn mode") functionality.

(To be clear: Microsoft isn't confirming it will have the same kind of "private browsing" functionality that Safari already offers, and some are speculating that all Redmond will end up doing is identifying which sites are porn sites, which won't be very useful to those who are hoping IE 8 will help them cover up their online tracks. )

Microsoft is expected to make the Beta 2 build available to anyone who wants it. The Beta 2 build is the successor to the more developer-focused IE 8 Beta 1, which Microsoft also made available to any interested parties, on March 5. I'm hearing that folks who already have IE 8 Beta 1 installed will get Beta 2 via Automatic Updates.

Over the summer, execs said Microsoft was on track to deliver the final IE 8 bits before the end of 2008, but offered no further particulars.

When it ships, IE 8 will work on Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008 systems only. IE 8 will be Microsoft's most standards-compliant release of its browser to date, the company has said. Because it is undoing a lot of the non-standards-based coding it had done in previous IE releases, it's not known yet how many existing sites and apps won't render correctly with IE 8. But Microsoft has been trying to get the word out to developers to check for compatibility before the final IE 8 release goes live.

The IE 8 team, for its part, isn't talking publicly yet about ship targets and due dates, which isn't too surprising when you remember that the IE team is part of the Windows client organization. The official comment on delivery dates, delivered via an IE spokesperson:

"We've said beta 2 would be in August and the next IE would come within 2 years of the last IE (which shipped with Vista, Jan 30, 07)."

What new features and functionality are you hoping to see in IE 8 Beta 2?

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