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Internet Explorer 9 RC May Arrive in February

Friday Microsoft reportedly sent out media invites for an Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) event taking place in San Francisco on February 10, indicating that the Release Candidate (RC) of IE9 has been delayed from its previously targeted January 28 launch.

Although unconfirmed, the company is expected to reveal IE9 RC during the press event, sporting built-in support for GPUs, HTML 5 and a number of new enhancements including location privacy. Microsoft is also expected to introduce its new Tracking Protection feature in the new browser which will allow users to prevent site-tracking cookies from revealing their surfing habits.

According to unnamed sources, the RC build will include an ActiveX filter that allows users to control what ActiveX elements are displayed on websites they visit. The Redmond company is also said to have improved the user interface with enhancements to the address bar buttons and adding square tabs. The download manager has also been updated to display the transfer speed of files without the need for hovering the mouse over individual downloads.

Winrumors reports that Internet Explorer 9 RC build 9.0.8073.6003 has already appeared on numerous file-sharing sites. The leaked browser is an escrow version and not expected to represent the final shipping version of IE9 RC. Screenshots of a later build have also surfaced--9.00.8073.6018 (WIN7_IE9_Partner.110121-2300)-- which can be seen here.

Earlier this month, Microsoft stated that the beta version of IE9 had been downloaded over 20 million times since it became available in September. "IE9 now accounts for 0.46-percent of internet users worldwide at year end," said Roger Capriotti, director of Internet Explorer Product Marketing. "In the three months since the beta launch, we have also released two platform previews and became the leading browser in JavaScript performance as measured by WebKit SunSpider."

Haven't tried the Internet Explorer 9 beta? You'd best head here to find out what the buzz is all about.

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