SAN FRANCISCO--Microsoft launched the beta of Internet Explorer 9 on Wednesday, promising to use the whole power of the PC to set Web sites free from the constraints previously imposed on them.
"The Web is about sites," Corporate Vice President Dean Hachamovitch said at an event here. "Browsers should be too. Today, Web sites are boxed in."
The new browser features a minimalistic user interface, hardware acceleration, and broader support for Web standards including HTML 5 and CSS 3.
For Microsoft, the arrival of IE9 is an attempt to compete more fully with Mozilla's Firefox, Google's Chrome, and other browsers. Although various flavors of Internet Explorer are still used for one in three Web site visits, Microsoft has been losing share for years as rivals have moved ahead technically.
With IE9, Microsoft is trying to change that, while also bringing more of Windows 7's capabilities to the browser. The new browser allows users to pin a Web site to the Windows 7 taskbar, much as a user can do already with applications. Sites that are pinned in this fashion can then program "jumplists" that allow surfers to quickly move through various parts of the Web site.