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Microsoft Offers IE10 Sneak Peak

Next version of the ubiquitous browser is now available for download from the software maker's developer Web site.

Just weeks after it unveiled Internet Explorer 9, Microsoft provided a preview of the next version of its popular Web browser.

The company provided few details, but pledged that the browser would provide developers with the most seamless support yet for the HTML5 multimedia format, which rivals Adobe's Flash technology. Microsoft officials also touted the capabilities of IE9.

"The only native experience of HTML5 on the Web today is on Windows 7 with Internet Explorer 9," said Dean Hachamovitch, Microsoft's VP for Internet Explorer, during a keynote Tuesday at the company's MIX 11 conference Las Vegas.

"With Internet Explorer 9, Web sites can take advantage of the power of modern hardware and a modern operating system and deliver experiences that were not possible a year ago. Internet Explorer 10 will push the boundaries of what developers can do on the Web even further," said Hachamovitch.

Microsoft is now making a preview version of IE 10 available to the developer community through a free download from its Web site.

Internet Explorer 9, meanwhile, continues to build momentum. The browser was downloaded 2.35 million times during its first 24 of availability in mid-March, according to Microsoft.

With IE9, users will find a design that's less cluttered with toolbars, icons, and controls. While most of the features from previous versions are still present, many are confined to the background as Microsoft sought to create a browser that puts more emphasis on displaying Web content rather than on its own interface.

IE9 also takes better advantage of new chip technologies, as it is able to discretely hand off some elements of Web display, such as rendering HTML5 graphics, to dedicated GPU units on the client side through support for Direct3D and other graphics standards. AMD has said its Fusion APU and Radeon GPU chips are fully compatible with IE9 hardware acceleration.

In terms of privacy, IE9 adds a feature Microsoft calls Tracking Protection Lists, which allows users to control how Web sites share their viewing histories with other sites. Tracking Protection Lists works in concert with software from Web privacy organizations such as Abine, Privacy Choice, TRUSTe, and EasyList.

Microsoft shares were off 1.31%, to $25.64, in Tuesday trading.

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