It looks like Microsoft is done with Platform Preview releases of the next major iteration of Internet Explorer. There’s now approximately a month until the first Beta development milestone of Internet Explorer 9 will be made available for download to the public. Microsoft has confirmed this officially, during the keynote at the annual Microsoft Financial Analyst Meeting. According to Microsoft Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner’s announcement on July 29, come September 2010, users will be able to download and start test driving IE9 Beta. A specific availability deadline for IE9 Beta was not delivered.
“The most beautiful thing about our browser story is the message is getting out with IE8, the safest most secure browser in the marketplace. We're really excited about IE9 which will be beta and coming out in September. Yes, we had a little headwinds, we had several things we had to do with IE8 this past year but guess what per external data in the marketplace, in May and June, we grew share in the browser space for the first time in a very long time,” Turner said. (emphasis added)
“So, the momentum on that has turned and it's a whole new day. And where we're going with IE9 and what we're going to do from an HTML 5 standard standpoint and where we're going from a speed standpoint, we're really going in a big way in this space this next year and have a great story to tell including around safety and security in the browser space,” he added.
At this point in time early adopters and developers can download IE9 Platform Preview 3. Over 2 million downloads of the developer previews of Internet Explorer 9 have already been confirmed by Microsoft a while back, and this number is bound to have increased since them.
Recently, leaked screenshots of IE9 Beta emerged in the wild. Although they looked completely fake to me, it seems that I might have been mistaken. A variety of sources are now confirming the validity of the screenshots and the IE9 leak. It seems that Microsoft has already shared the code of early pre-Beta Builds of Internet Explorer 9 with select testers and partners. The leaked IE9 screenshots do not contain a new UI for the browser but they do indicate that the successor of IE8 will feature a download manager.