SEATTLE (AP) — The final version of Microsoft Corp.'s newest Web browser will be available for download on Monday night.
Starting at 9 p.m. Pacific, people around the world in can download Internet Explorer 9, which works on computers running Windows Vista and Windows 7 operating systems. It's not compatible with Windows XP. Microsoft had planned to launch the software in 40 languages, but is postponing the launch in Japan to avoid bogging down networks already affected by the earthquake there.
IE9 follows in the footsteps of Google Inc.'s Chrome browser, cutting way back on the number of buttons, icons and toolbars taking up space on the screen.
But the most significant changes are under the hood. IE9 can take advantage of multicore microprocessors to crunch website code faster. It also uses the PC's graphics processing unit — the same chips that make the images in elaborate video games run smoothly — to make movie clips and other visuals load and play faster.
IE9 also lets website developers take advantage of some of the new features in Windows 7. PC users can "pin" favorite websites to the taskbar, making permanent shortcuts at the bottom of their computer screen that get equal billing with favorite desktop applications.
The new browser gives people more control over what websites they share information with as they surf and shop online, and attempts to block more malicious software before people download it.
Competitors including Google and Mozilla, maker of the Firefox browser, are also working on similar technical upgrades to their software.
Microsoft had released a near-final version of IE9 in February.