Microsoft has begun to compile final versions of Internet Explorer 9, WinRumors has learned.
The software giant has started compiling RTM escrow versions of Internet Explorer 9. The escrow builds mark the final stage of Internet Explorer 9′s development. Microsoft’s latest Internet Explorer 9 escrow build is 9.0.8110.16409. Microsoft historically RTM’s products less than a month after they hit the RTM-escrow stage. Microsoft kicked off the RC-escrow stage of Internet Explorer 9 in early January before releasing a final RC version on February 10. The escrow stage means Microsoft is well on the way to releasing Internet Explorer 9 at the company’s MIX11 conference next month.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has previously hinted at Internet Explorer 9′s launch date. Speaking during a developers day at Microsoft Switzerland in mid-February, Ballmer revealed that Internet Explorer 9 would be available very soon. “There’s a lot of great things going on broadly, enhancements that we’ve made, not only in Windows but Internet Explorer 9 which will be available here in the next month or so.” Ballmer said Internet Explorer 9 is a “great piece of work” and that “it will be the best browser…that you’ve ever used.”
Microsoft’s Indian MSDN team tweeted a launch date of March 24 earlier this week. Tech-Ed India 2011 as a launch date for Internet Explorer 9 is possible but unlikely due to the time escrow time frames. Microsoft’s general manager of Internet Explorer and Windows Live, Brian Hall, is due to keynote on March 24 at Tech-Ed India. Hall has worked at Microsoft since 1995 in a variety of marketing and engineering positions. Previously, he led the worldwide launch of Windows XP and worked as a product manager on Windows 95, Windows 98 and Internet Explorer versions 3 through 5.
Microsoft revealed on Tuesday that users have downloaded 36 million copies of Internet Explorer since its beta release in September. The software maker launched its final development milestone version of Internet Explorer 9 on February 10. Microsoft’s main change in Internet Explorer 9 RC is the addition of Tracking Protection. The new privacy feature allows consumers to address their concerns about being tracked on the web. Internet Explorer 9 RC offers users a new opt-in mechanism to identify and block many forms of undesired tracking such as cookies, web beacons, advertisements and trackers. Tracking protection involves lists that can be published online. Microsoft’s second security enhancement is the ability to block ActiveX controls. Internet Explorer 9 RC includes an “ActiveX filter” option. The filter allows users to switch off ActiveX elements within their session, furthering Microsoft’s commitment to security within its browser.