Microsoft ready to deliver another IE 9 developer preview

Microsoft ready to deliver another IE 9 developer preview

Summary: Like Neowin, I'm hearing from my sources that Microsoft is planning to make available for download later today, June 23, its third technical preview (i.e., pre-beta) of Internet Explorer 9.


Like Neowin, I'm hearing from my sources that Microsoft is planning to make available for download later today, June 23, its third technical preview (i.e., pre-beta) of Internet Explorer 9.

Back in March, the IE 9 team committed to providing developers with updates to its IE 9 code every eight weeks.  The team delivered its first developer preview in March, 2010, and made a public commitment to providing more support for emerging HTML5, CSS3 and SVG2 standards with the product. The most recent developer preview was released to the Web in early May. These previews, available from Microsoft's IE 9 test drive site, have allowed developers to measure Microsoft's progress on performance and standards-compliance, as it refines the next version of its browser.

It sounds like today's tech preview will be more of the same. I asked Microsoft officials for comment as to their plans earlier this week and got a no comment.

Here's what I'm more interested in than today's tech preview, however. According to blogger Francisco Martin (who has had a pretty good track record with his internal information about the Softies' schedules), this IE 9 tech preview may be the last. Martin says Microsoft could release an actual Beta 1 of IE 9 in August -- assuming no push backs in the current schedule.

If August really is when Microsoft will deliver a first beta of IE 9, I'd think that would mean we'll see more of what the user interface for its next browser will look like. It also means IE 9 really could be released to the Web in 2011, as my sources have said previously is the goal.

Microsoft supposedly isn't planning to release Windows 8/Windows v.Next until 2012, according to the rumors I've heard. If that really does end up being the ship date, the gap between the next version of IE and Windows will be even lengthier than it was with IE 8 and Windows 7.

Microsoft officials have declined repeatedly to provide official information on the beta or final ship targets for IE 9 and/or Windows 8.

Meanwhile, while on the topic of betas and previews, I've heard from some of the invited testers of Windows 7/Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1 that they are now able to download the Beta bits. A public beta of SP1 for Windows 7/WS 2008 R2 is slated for July, the Softies have said. I hear it's timed to hit around mid-July, the same time Microsoft is holding its Worldwide Partner Conference.

Topics: Software Development, Browser, Microsoft


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Don't Rule Out IE10


    If the gap between IE9 Beta in August and Windows 8 in 2012 would be that great, and taking into consideration Microsofts commitment to faster and mroe frequent releases of IE, surely we should see IE10 before the release of Windows 8 or to be co-released?
    • IE 10

      That would be interesting. But it also would prove something MS doesn't want to acknowledge: That the browser is not really part of the OS. If IE 9 is a standalone release, not to be embedded into any specific version of Windows, it would make this reality a little too obvious for MS' tastes, imho.

      Another possibility I've thought about is whether the "Windows v.Next" is more like a 7.5... If so, maybe that version is what comes out in the near term, with IE 9 as its browser. That is just pure speculation on my part, I admit. MJ
      Mary Jo Foley
      • RE: Microsoft ready to deliver another IE 9 developer preview

        @Mary Jo Foley Did you forget that in Windows 7, they already made it possible to remove the browser. Back in the day they claimed they were tied, but that argument hasn't come up in years.

        Back in the day, you could switch back and forth between Windows Explorer and IE by changing the address bar between file paths and URLs. Now it opens a new window if you try that. Graphically, there are a lot of indications that there may have been some tie-ins before, but look to be gone.

        Also, an out-of-band IE release does not confirm or deny anything. Why could IE 9 not just be an upgrade for all existing OSes and IE 10 be embedded in Windows (and an upgrade for previous OSes)?
      • IE separation anxiety?

        @Mary Jo Foley

        Who is left in Microsoft from the old guard that favoured OS inclusion of proprietary technologies, such as IE (at least as a vehicle for the Trident rendering engine) and Windows Media Player (for Windows Media technologies)? Windows 7 proved that they can add value to the OS by offering more choice by unbundling most add-on programs and offering them as free downloads - ie. Windows Live & Zune.

        Speaking of which, do you think the next Windows won't include "Windows Media Player" and instead only offer a more open Zune player as a free download? It seems that even Microsoft is moving towards H.264 in lieu of VC-1 for HTML5, and Zune was the first consumer software made by Microsoft to include MPEG-4 H.264 and AAC codecs for Windows XP and Vista customers. They ended up including both codecs in Windows 7. Could they make the same move in favour of AAC over WMA?

        I'd like to know how much development they'll put into Silverlight if HTML5 can cover most of the same capabilities. Where do they stand between the two? Is Silverlight just an interim technology until HTML5 is production-ready?
      • RE: Microsoft ready to deliver another IE 9 developer preview

        @Joe Raby

        Silverlight is an application development platform. HTML5 may replace the video portion of Flash and Silverlight but they'll still both be useful going forward. And Microsoft already pointed out that HTML5 doesn't really have a content protection mechanism, meaning that Flash and Silverlight will both likely be go-to choices for premium video services.


        Yes, you can remove IE and Media Player now. It does remove the web browsing parts but the rendering engine, which is what Microsoft said was integrated into Windows, is still there. If you could uninstall Trident it would break a huge portion of the Windows GUI and just about any other application that uses some sort of HTML rendering. Everyone knows Trident will be there on Windows and they count on it when they code.
      • Re: content protection


        What kind of content protection are you thinking of? I'm not just talking about HTML5 for video either. Google thinks that HTML5 is the future of web app development, and that web apps will supplant native apps very soon.

        If Apple is shying away from content protection of music files, why not video too? Also, their music files have user information added into the tags for tracking purposes (Amazon doesn't have any). What's to say that the new accepted anti-DRM "DRM" is to just embed user information into video files?

        Or just use browser-embedded DRM for the MPEG-4 data stream for HTML5?

        I just don't see why Apple couldn't just implement Fairplay DRM into Safari and build iTunes as a web-service/offline-HTML-app. All the other HTML5 stuff that Apple includes in Safari is more than capable of replicating iTunes functionality.

        If you can do that, what other content protection do you need for a premium video service?
      • RE: Microsoft ready to deliver another IE 9 developer preview

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    • RE: Microsoft ready to deliver another IE 9 developer preview

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      • RE: Microsoft ready to deliver another IE 9 developer preview


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  • RE: Microsoft ready to deliver another IE 9 developer preview

    If Microsoft has learned anything from their competitors in the browser market then they will decouple IE releases from operating system releases. Browsers are evolving at a much faster rate than operating systems, so several updates a year as we see from Chrome should be the norm. Microsoft is currently at one release every several years. That's not nearly enough to stay competitive.
    • RE: Microsoft ready to deliver another IE 9 developer preview


      Aside from IE6 which had a long life they release one every couple years it seems.

      IE5 - 1999
      IE6 - 2001
      IE7 - 2006 (August)
      IE8 - 2009 (March)
      IE9 - Late 2010 - 2011?
      • IE6-7 Pause

        @bobiroc This was all about Firefox. Mozilla's purpose is to make the Web better. I'd say they did it. Even if they are crushed between the 200 lb Googrilla and the 200 lb Gorillasoft, their mission will have been accomplished. MS is definitely "back in the game" and looking to compete hard. What we all forget is how much better, in many ways, IE4 and 5 were to Netscape Navigator back in the day. When there's competition, we win.
        x I'm tc
      • RE: Microsoft ready to deliver another IE 9 developer preview


        [i]"This was all about Firefox. Mozilla's purpose is to make the Web better. I'd say they did it...."[/i]

        I agree 100%. I (personally) did not find firefox very usable until version 3 as many sites did not work or work well with 2.x or lower in my experience. It was a wake up call that Microsoft needed and while Microsoft still needs to improve their browser they have made great strides with versions 7 and 8. Using Windows 7 and IE8 along with Firefox 3.6.x I do not notice a speed difference on most sites I browse to regularly. I like some of the enhancements/plugins for Firefox so I tend to switch between IE and FF regularly. So I think that Mozilla did a darn good job of waking up Microsoft and overall Microsoft has been improving their products pretty well lately.

        Tried Chrome and didn't like it. I find the UI annoying and I am not a big fan of most things google anyway. Safari is not for me and use Firefox on my Mac as well.
      • Oh... The horror..!

        Netscape Navigator 4 sucked so hard it's not even funny. I tried printing a mapquest page with it once (and ONLY once). It was STILL churning, trying to download all of the graphics a second time to do the print job, after 20 minutes. The printer hadn't even warmed up.

        Meanwhile I was able to boot my Win 98 box, do the same mapquest request, and print it using IE 5.0 in about 30 seconds. I couldn't wait any longer for the box with Navigator 4 to do it's thing.
      • RE: Microsoft ready to deliver another IE 9 developer preview

        @bobiroc: you right on most of the IE versions except IE7. IE7 final was first released October 2006. IE7 was re-released in August 2007 that no longer includes WGA checking. Those I know for facts.

        IE5.5 - early July 2000 -- first version to include the overdue "Print Preview" option that Netscape had for so many old versions of that browser
    • RE: Microsoft ready to deliver another IE 9 developer preview


      Chrome updates too fast and should not be the norm. They don't wait for standards to become standards or even mature close to that point. I can only imagine the nightmare Chrome would be in an enterprise environment. You don't want to have to test your company's web apps every couple months because Google keeps pushing out new browsers. 2 year is an acceptable schedule for an enterprise browser. 3-6 months of testing and correcting issues after release and then 2 years of using the browser. Everyone seems to forget that Chrome and Firefox target consumers and can play by rules for consumers. IE has the bulk of its users in corporate environments and has to play by different rules.
      • RE: Microsoft ready to deliver another IE 9 developer preview


        I agree as far as the enterprise segment is concerned, and that's exactly the reason why IE7 and IE8 contain the old IE6 rendering engine. But the world outside of enterprise intranets moves at a faster pace, and IE8 still does not support a lot of standards that web designers would like to use. And in that context, the fact that the market leader updates it's browser only every couple of years hinders innnovation.
      • RE: Microsoft ready to deliver another IE 9 developer preview


        Well said about schedule of browser releases and corporate environments requirements. This basic point is missing in all reviews which are against Microsoft and favouring Firefox and other browsers. Microsoft has to think of lot more user base than any other browser providers. For this reason Microsoft's strategy about browser release schedule seems good.