(Computerworld) - Microsoft Corp. launched the Internet Explorer 8 today, beating its closest competitor, Mozilla Corp., in the race toward final code.
The new browser will be available to coincide with a keynote speech at Mix09, the Microsoft-sponsored conference where IE8 Web Developer will be introduced, said James Pratt, a senior product manager IE development team.
"We will be releasing IE8 [release to manufacturing] in 25 languages for Windows Vista, XP, Server 2003 and Server 2008," said Pratt.
Windows 7 users, most of them running the beta version that premiered Jan. 10, will not see the final version of IE8 Microsoft provides to the public in March next operating system, said Pratt. He refused to promise that the last bit of the browser would make Windows 7 Release Candidate, which Microsoft has strongly hinted will be offered to the general public. "But that would be ideal," he said.
People already use an earlier version of IE8 - Microsoft issued two bands and a release candidate in the last 12 months - will be offered the final code through the Windows Update "over the coming weeks," said Pratt. "We want them to have the most up-to-date version."
In some yet-unspecified later date, Microsoft will "connect" IE8's automatic download and installation through Windows Update for the older people running IE6 or IE7 browsers. In January, the company issued a set of tools that the corporate IT administrators can use IE8 to block the installation when the Microsoft Windows Update pulls the trigger.
Pratt was confident that Microsoft's servers would get up waiting to load when users start hitting your site to IE8 today. In January, Microsoft had to postpone and restart the public beta release of Windows 7 after crushing overwhelmed its servers. "An operating system and browser are different size packages," he noted. "We had a lot of experience releasing browsers, and I am confident that he will be available to all users who want to."
As the company promised last November, Microsoft used what for him was a fast-paced cycle development near the end, sticking to his promise, then the only issue a "Release Candidate" building, which he did in late January 2009, before moving on to the final.
But does not mean that Microsoft has its foot on the gas. "We are very deliberate in how we release a product," Pratt said, when asked if Microsoft would pick up the pace of the game faster cycles of some of its rivals such as Mozilla Corp. and Google Inc. "When we build a browser , we must balance the needs of a number of customers, "he said, including companies that are traditionally reluctant to change the software.
Ironically, Microsoft Mozilla nimble slow beat in the race for the next major update. Had to postpone the Mozilla Firefox 3.5, formerly called 3.1, several times over the past eight months and has yet to issue a release candidate.
Still, Mozilla welcomed the IE8 launch. "We are happy to see that Microsoft is not standing still," said Mike Beltzner, director of Firefox. "But we are not standing still either. Browser makers have to keep it [because] people expect more of the Web today."