Microsoft today launched the release candidate of Internet Explorer 9 (IE9), saying that the browser is now feature complete and that the final build would ship shortly.
IE9's release candidate, or RC, features faster performance, a small memory footprint, new support for additional Web standards and the opt-in Tracking Protection that Microsoft has touted as its answer to calls for a Do Not Track feature in all browsers.
"With the Release Candidate, we've taken to heart over 17,000 pieces of feedback about IE9," said Dean Hachamovitch, the executive who heads the IE team, in a blog post today. "You will find the product has made progress on all fronts -- performance and standards, user experience, and safety and privacy."
Tracking Protection is Microsoft's response to growing concern on the part of consumers, privacy advocates and government regulators about online privacy, particularly how advertisers track users' movements and their purchasing habits.
Although Microsoft has promised to complete IE9 this quarter, it has not set a launch date for the final version. Microsoft is betting that IE9 will bring back some of the users who have abandoned Internet Explorer for rivals like Mozilla's Firefox and Google's Chrome.