Microsoft will launch its public beta of Internet Explorer 9 on Sept. 15, with a high-profile event in San Francisco.
The IE9 Platform Preview 4 can be downloaded from this Website.
While rival browsers such as Firefox and Chrome offer strong challenges in the browser space, Internet Explorer has managed to make incremental gains with regard to overall users. Analytics firm Net Applications estimated Internet Explorer's share of the July browser market at 60.74 percent-a slight increase from June's 60.32 percent-followed by Firefox with 22.91 percent, Chrome with 7.16 percent, Safari with 5.09 percent and Opera with 2.45 percent.
Internet Explorer 8 has seen an increase in user adoption, while the respective market shares for Internet Explorer 6 and 7 continue to decline. Microsoft executives keep suggesting that the latter versions' market erosion is a natural trend. Despite their encouraging users to migrate to the browser's newest versions, however, the company also intends to support the increasingly antiquated Internet Explorer 6 through April 2014.
Despite those user gains, Internet Explorer faces some controversy over its privacy policies. An Aug. 1 article in The Wall Street Journal alleged that company executives had killed the IE development team's attempt to create software that counteracts common tracking tools, apparently because such programming would interfere with their online-ad selling operation.
As the issue gained traction online, Microsoft insisted in an Aug. 1 corporate blog posting that "browsing the Web is fundamentally an information exchange" and that "your Web browser offers information in order to get information." Executives have also called attention to Internet Explorer's InPrivate Filtering, which lets users regulate their privacy settings.