ie9sJohannesburg, South Africa - 15 September, 2010 -- Microsoft has unveiled what it calls its "fastest, safest" internet browser yet, saying Internet Explorer 9 will redefine the way ordinary consumers interact with the web.

The beta version of IE9 is available for free public download from tonight at midnight, with Microsoft South Africa's Colin Erasmus describing the new browser as a "game-changing" release.

"IE9 will change the web forever. People think of the browser as a utilitarian tool and it's evaluated by how it performs in speeds, feeds, and basic functionality. We want to change the terms of the debate. The future web needs more than just speed," said Erasmus.

Microsoft says IE9 is built around the premise that the browser is critical to the way people interact with their computers. "We know that most people spend more than half of their time on the PC in the browser. We want to define a new frame of reference for what a browser is, what it does and how success is measured. Our goal with IE9 is to deliver the best browsing experience out there," said Erasmus.

The company says IE9 will make websites and web applications look and perform as though they were part of the computer, using the full capabilities of Windows and hardware so that websites are fast, responsive, and interactive.

The release is a powerful statement of intent by Microsoft to reestablish itself in the browser market against rivals like Mozilla's Firefox and Google's Chrome. Results from the company's IE9 test site, http://ie.microsoft.com/testdrive/, suggest the new browser is significantly faster than its rivals.

As part of the IE9 launch, Microsoft partnered with numerous organisations to provide a new experience for people who actively use the web. People who download IE9 now will start to see this re-imagined web on international sites like CNN.com and BBC.co.uk, and will soon be able to experience it on several local websites.

The new features include:
• Pinned sites. With pinned sites, a user's favourite websites can be accessed directly from the Windows taskbar with having to first open the browser, making it quick and easy to get to the content you care about.
• One Box. Whether you want to search or enter a web address, the One Box provides a single simple place to start and minimises the space the browser takes up keeping the focus on your sites.
• Enhanced tabs. Internet Explorer 9 provides improvements to the New Tab page, and the ability to "tear off" a tab from within a browsing session allows you to easily comparison-shop online or watch a video while scanning the news.

IE9 also has a robust set of built-in security, privacy, and reliability technologies that keep customers safer online.
• Download manager. This integrated Download Manager includes a streamlined user interface and provides security for downloaded content.
• Reliability features. Tab isolation, automatic crash recovery, hang recovery, and Add-ons Advisor help ensure your information isn't lost and keep you browsing when a website isn't working correctly.
• Automatic Updates. Getting the latest browser updates helps keep users protected over time. After Internet Explorer 9 is installed, users can choose to have important updates installed automatically, once they are made available.

Erasmus said Microsoft was generating a high level of interest in IE9 from external software developers, thanks to new capabilities and a more open approach towards third parties. With HTML5, a new Web standard gaining in popularity, Microsoft also hopes to be able to deliver powerful visuals via a single mark-up language readable by all browsers, simplifying the life of developers and improving the user experience.

Contributed by:
Microsoft South Africa

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