IE8 may launch on March 19, outrun other browsers

The completed version of Microsoft's next major web browser could come out on March 19, according to Neowin. The site points to a report by Taipei Times, which says IE8 will debut in Taiwan on March 20. Extrapolating from that, Neowin believes the browser may launch a day earlier at MIX09—a Microsoft conference taking place in Las Vegas.

Either way, IE8 should definitely be out next week, which is pretty close to the anniversary of the first public beta. The new, more standards-compliant rendering engine left much to be desired in that version, but Microsoft has made considerable progress since then. The RC1 build that hit the web in January looked quite polished, in fact. The code many web designers use to circumvent IE6 and IE7 bugs can break rendering in IE8, however, so early adopters may still face problems on some sites.

Speaking of rendering, Ars Technica notes that Microsoft has published some performance tests that show the new browser in a favorable light compared to Firefox 3 and Google Chrome. Instead of running synthetic JavaScript and HTML benchmarks, Microsoft simply recorded loading times in comScore's list of the world's top 25 websites. The company shows some of the testing in a promotional video that, amusingly, uses as the first test case.

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