Microsoft to release IE9 Monday night

Beats Mozilla's Firefox 4 to the upgrade punch

Microsoft will launch Internet Explorer 9 (IE9), the first upgrade to its browser since 2009, Monday night at 9 p.m. PT.

Last week, Computerworld incorrectly pegged the release of IE9 as 9 a.m. today.

The company will post IE9 to its download sites several hours after Dean Hachamovitch, the head of IE's engineering team, rolls out the new browser during an event at SXSW (South by Southwest Conferences and Festivals) in Austin, Texas. Hachamovitch's presentation will be Webcast by Microsoft.

The launch of IE9 comes one year after Microsoft delivered the browser's first "platform preview," a bare-bones early build that lacked an interface and basic navigation tools. IE9 follows its predecessor, IE8, by two years, a slightly shorter cycle than the two years and five months between IE7 and IE8.

Microsoft has not yet set a schedule for delivering IE9 automatically to users running Windows Vista or Windows 7. If Microsoft delivers IE9 on its usual timetable, the upgrade offers will begin to appear about six weeks from today.

As it did with IE9 RC, or "release candidate," Microsoft will give users the opportunity to reject or delay the installation of the new browser. Corporations can deploy a blocking toolkit to insure that IE9 doesn't make it onto company PCs.

Windows XP users will not see the IE9 upgrade offer or be allowed to download the browser later today because IE9 does not work on the still-dominant operating system, an omission that rivals like Mozilla have touted.

According to the latest statistics from Web metrics company Net Applications, Windows XP accounts for 61% of all copies of Windows now in use.

With today's release of IE9, Microsoft beat Mozilla to the upgrade punch. According to recent statements by Mozilla, its Firefox 4 will not ship in final form for another 1-2 weeks.

IE9 will be available for manual download from several locations on Microsoft's site, including its Download Center and the IE page.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His e-mail address is gkeizer@computerworld.com.

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