Internet Explorer 9 arrives for Vista, Win7

Almost a year to the day after the release of the first platform preview, Microsoft's new-and-improved web browser is out in completed form. You can grab Internet Explorer 9 now from both the IE website and, a site Microsoft put up to pimp the new browser. Only Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows Server 2008 users need apply, though; there's no version out for XP.

IE9 makes several notable strides over prior releases, bringing with it features like Direct2D-accelerated rendering, HTML5 video support, a completely re-thought UI that mirrors the minimalistic design of Chrome and Firefox 4, and much-improved performance thanks in part to a new JavaScript engine. Integration with Windows 7 has gone a step further, as well, with the ability to pin individual sites to the Win7 taskbar.

It's nice to see Microsoft take pride in having a new, bleeding-edge browser rather than simply playing catch-up with Google, Mozilla, and Apple. IE9 is actually the first non-beta web browser to feature full Direct2D acceleration, and the level of polish that has gone into it almost makes me want to switch over from Chrome.

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