With a Firefox 3.0 release impending, Microsoft prepares to reveal its new firepower with a keynote on the status of IE8.
MIX, an annual Microsoft-hosterd conference for web developers held each spring at the swank Venetian in Las Vegas, has often drawn exciting news. At the first MIX conference, held in '06 Dean Hachamovitch, leader of Microsoft's Internet Explorer team gave an exciting presentation of the future of the browser, which highlight the improvements found in IE7 that would help the browser regain competitiveness against a more full-featured Firefox browser. Internet Explorer 7 released several months later in October, and stayed very true to the form of Hachamovitch's presentation, adding tabbed browsing, antiphishing and more.
This year's MIX conference, held on March 5th through 7th, promises a similar preview at what kind of heat Microsoft is planning to unleash on the next generation browser arms race. Hachamovitch will be giving an exclusive look at the state of Internet Explorer 8 and key features of the browser.
Microsoft's browser is currently in the alpha release stage. It will be going to an initial Beta release by mid '08. This will preceed a late '08 launch. Little is known about the features at this time so the announcement of Hachamovitch's keynote is creating considerable excitement in developer circles.
What exactly Hachamovitch has in store and the reception of the browser are critical to Microsoft's fight to stay competitive in the browser market sector. While browsers are only one key segment of Microsoft's business, Microsoft takes them very seriously. The company is not above doing a little trash talking about bitter rival Mozilla's Firefox browser.
The next generation browser war should be intense. Microsoft has been bleeding marketshare to the Mozilla Foundation's browser throughout the IE6 and IE7 era. Mozilla should get the jump on Microsoft when it releases Firefox 3.0, codenamed "Gran Paradiso", early this year. The browser is currently on its second beta, with two more betas planned. Initial reports are very enthusiastic and state that the browser is noticably faster, leaner and more intuitive. Microsoft is sure to have some cards up its sleeve as well though, and MIX '08 should give a preview of them.