Microsoft has confirmed rumors that it is releasing the next version of its Internet Explorer browser on March 14. The company will hold a launch party in Austin, Texas during the South by Southwest Interactive Festival (SXSWi), but not before a press briefing where IE senior director Ryan Gavin says there will still be "a few surprises."
Microsoft is hoping to stop the bleeding of browser market share to competitors like Google's Chrome and Mozilla's Firefox. With beta and RC versions of Internet Explorer 9 reportedly getting some 36 million downloads over the past seven months, the company seems fairly optimistic about the upcoming release -- not to mention it appears likely that they'll manage to beat Mozilla to the upgrade punch after the numerous Firefox 4 delays.
The browser will be available for download Monday from Microsoft's servers beginning at 9 a.m. Pacific Time. It will be offered only to users of Windows Vista and Windows 7, leaving users of XP behind with Internet Explorer 8.