More than 2.5 million IE previews have been downloaded, according to Microsoft. The company introduced the latest release, Preview 4, last week.
With IE9, Microsoft is focused on delivering HTML5 support that runs web applications at a level that meets or exceeds the capabilities and user expectations of desktop applications. Microsoft's browser rivals, Apple, Google, Mozilla and Opera, are pursuing the same goal.
HTML 5 is the next major revision of the HTML standard. The new standard incorporates features that were previously available only through third-party browser plug-ins. Such features include video playback and drag-and-drop.
Microsoft is particularly focused on having IE9 perform best on Windows, arguing that the only way to deliver optimum performance. If the company focused more delivering a cross-platform browser, like Mozilla's Firefox, that it would be forced to take a "least common denominator approach to implementing HTML 5," Dean Hachamovitch, Microsoft general manager of IE, said in a recent blog post.
After years of dormancy, Microsoft jumpstarted its IE development with version 8, and is apparently keeping the momentum going with IE9.
To date, Microsoft has seen some progress in the browser market. In July, IE snatched market share from Mozilla's Firefox, the number two browser in the market, for the second consecutive month, according to web metrics firm NetApplications said. IE has the lion's share of the market with more than 60%.