Internet Explorer 9 beta next month, no XP users allowed

Posted by Mark Raby

The next generation version of Microsoft's venerable Internet browser will be available for users to try out on September 15, but those people still clinging to Windows XP will be shut out of the latest software.

Around 68% of Windows users are believed to still be running the two-generations-old version of the operating system, according to estimates. Many of those are corporate customers who can't afford a large-scale upgrade, but there are also a number of individuals who simply don't need to or are confused with the process of how to upgrade.

The new version of Microsoft's Web browser has been going through developers in a preview build for the last few months.

Internet Explorer, once so dominate that it handled more than 90% of the country's Web browsing, has been on a roller coaster of market share as it lost substantial amounts of users to Firefox and other options. However, it has been gaining back market share slowly as users become disenchanted with the alternatives.

Microsoft has also been luring users back with increased functionality and a stronger relationship with Web content developers.

Details known so far about what IE9 will bring to the table include support for HTML5 and a new Javascript engine known as "Chakra." What the browser will actually look like, though, is anyone's guess. It is assumed that Microsoft will throw away all of the clutter than was in IE8 and give the new browser a fresher, more simplistic interface. But we won't know for sure until the beta goes live next month for Vista and Windows 7 users.