Clearly, Microsoft’s bold browser revamp with Internet Explorer 9 is getting noticed. The company announced today that the beta version of IE9, which was made available last week, was downloaded over 2 million times worldwide in two days.
In comparison, the beta version of Internet Explorer 8 saw only 1.3 million downloads in five days when it launched in August 2008. The difference shows that Microsoft has finally succeeded with IE9 at making a browser users are interested in. With its faster browsing engine and streamlined user interface, the browser has landed positive reviews across the web.
Microsoft says it has seen over 9 million visits and over 26 million page views at its Beauty of the Web site, which serves as a showcase for IE9’s HTML5 features and is also where you can download the beta.
After using the browser extensively over the past week, I’m not surprised that it’s been so well received. It looks nothing like previous versions of Internet Explorer; instead, it resembles Google’s minimalist styling with its Chrome browser. Most importantly, it’s fast. IE9 includes hardware acceleration for web-page rendering (it uses your graphics processor to do some of the work) — something that even geek-friendly browsers like Chrome and Firefox have yet to roll out (though it’s coming soon).
The new IE a boon for mainstream users, who would never be motivated to install third-party browsers, and businesses, who may see higher productivity from employees using a faster and safer browser. Unfortunately, IE9 will never support Windows XP — which many businesses are still deploying. But moving forward, it’s a sign that Microsoft can eventually get things right. In this case, it only took nine tries.