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Microsoft aims to improve performance with the existing web as well as to support new features. For the former challenge, one change coming in IE9 is support for Direct2D and DirectWrite graphics and text acceleration in Windows Vista and Windows 7. This demonstration of whirling browser logos, including drop shadows and occlusion, uses hardware acceleration to speed performance.
Hardware graphics are used to improve text rendering. Specifically, with DirectWrite, the text 'antialiased' with grey pixels to smooth the curves and letters are placed precisely with 'sub-pixel positioning'. Some of this technology in general has been in use for years, but the new implementation adds the grey pixels to account for both vertical and horizontal curves.