Microsoft is planning to announce and celebrate the release of Internet Explorer 9 on March 14, WinRumors has learned.
Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 9 team is planning to host a party during the South by southwest (SXSW) music and film festival in Austin, Texas. The party will be held on March 14 and will include free drinks and music performances from Yeasayer, The Head and The Heart, and Fences. Microsoft has sent several invites for a “special press pre-event” to press and analysts over the past few weeks. Microsoft’s Australian PR company, Howorth, recently sent invites claiming Microsoft is planning a “major announcement.”
Sources familiar with the company’s plans have confirmed to WinRumors that Microsoft intends to launch the final version of Internet Explorer 9 at SXSW on March 14. A number of Internet Explorer 9 team members will participate in the launch and celebration party afterwards. The confirmation of March 14 follows news that Microsoft is currently compiling near final escrow-RTM builds 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 9.0.8112.16416. Microsoft historically RTM’s products less than a month after they hit the RTM-escrow stage.
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.”
WinRumors understands the company will launch core language versions of Internet Explorer 9 initially, followed by additional languages later in the month. Microsoft’s Indian MSDN team tweeted a launch date of March 24 last week. Microsoft is likely to expand its launch plans to other countries once versions are compiled and ready. 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 last week that users have downloaded 36 million copies of Internet Explorer 9 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.