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Sat 21 Mar 2009 06:29 PM

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Microsoft launches new version of Internet Explorer

IE8 features enhanced security and browsing functions, although some testers report poor results on speed tests

Microsoft launched the latest version of its web browser, Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) on Thursday.

IE8 has been designed to make web browsing faster and more secure, Microsoft said, with a number of new features including colour-coded tabs, smart address bar and enhanced ‘find on page’ functions.

Speaking at the launch, Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft said: “Customers have made clear what they want in a Web browser — safety, speed and greater ease of use. With Internet Explorer 8, we are delivering a browser that gets people to the information they need, fast, and provides protection that no other browser can match.”

The new browser features have been developed based on extensive customer research Microsoft said, which showed that 78% of people are now more likely to choose a web browser with built in security than they were two years ago. This drove Microsoft’s decision to include new security features such as InPrivate browsing and InPrivate filtering, SmartScreen filtering to block phishing and clickjacking prevention. According to a study by NSS Labs, IE8 blocks two to four times more malware than competitor browsers.

Given a relatively low key launch, with the browser only available for manual download, initial uptake of the new browser was reasonable, gaining around 1.6% of global share by today, giving IE an overall 67.4% share of the browser market. Response to the new features was good, although some commentators said that they had found IE8 to be slower than all of its main competitors in testing .

IE8 is available to download now, in 25 languages including Arabic, at http://www.microsoft.com/ie8

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