Monday, March 14th (and Tuesday, March 15th, depending on time zones and when everyone goes to bed) may come to mark a significant turning point in the browser wars. Microsoft’s announced that it will make the final version of Internet Explorer 9 available for download on Monday, starting at 9 PM Redmond time.
This is an important moment for the company. From a business perspective, Chrome has been gaining market share at a rapid pace, and Firefox also represents a threat of sorts, so the success of IE9 will determine whether or not Microsoft remains dominant in this space.
From a point of view related more to PR and geek cred, IE9 – which is supposed to introduce all sorts of advanced features – will help shape many people’s opinions of Microsoft, since it and Windows probably act as the two biggest points of contact.
Finally, in the event anyone’s just interested in the sheer fun factor of the launch, Ryan Gavin, Senior Director of Internet Explorer Business and Marketing, wrote on The Windows Blog, “We also have a heck of party planned celebrating the amazing developers and designers who are creating a more beautiful web. We’ll feature live music from Yeasayer, the Head and the Heart, and Fences at Austin City Limits Live the night of the 14th.”
So the release of IE9 should be worth monitoring from just about any perspective.
Keep your fingers crossed that everything goes well. After all, a better browser will benefit everyone in the end.