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Microsoft Previews IE9

Fully hardware-accelerated HTML5 in the next version of the browser runs web applications at or beyond desktop performance levels, Microsoft claims.
Microsoft, which has promised an Internet Explorer 9 Platform Preview every eight weeks, has released the fourth version of the company's next generation web browser.

The latest release, introduced Wednesday, shows "the opportunity of fully hardware-accelerated HTML5," Dean Hachamovitch, Microsoft general manager of IE, said in the IEBlog.

With Preview 4, developers can run new test drive samples that show scalable vector graphics and native JavaScript integration in action. SVG is an XML-based file format for describing two-dimensional interactive or animated vector graphics.

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.

However, 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," Hachamovitch said in a previous blog post.

"By using more of the underlying operating system, and taking advantage of the power of the whole PC, IE9 enables developers to do more with HTML5," Hachamovitch said. "Running through Windows, instead of just on Windows, makes a big difference; the web runs more like a native application.

Microsoft's browser development is apparently having some impact. The latest figures from web metrics firm NetApplications show that IE's share of the global market grew in July at the expense of Firefox. IE is the world's leading browser, followed by Firefox and Google Chrome, respectively.

Microsoft has not said when IE9 would be generally available.