It's been a long time coming, but after nearly a year in beta and following its release candidate milestone last month, it appears that Internet Explorer 8 is finally ready to hit RTM in the next few weeks. In development parlance, this would mean that the browser has been finished and Microsoft is ready to ship it to the public.

According to TechARP, a site that has accurately predicted the company's moves in the past, Microsoft plans to announce final details of the IE8 RTM schedule by March 5 and will most likely make it available sometime over the next three weeks. Among the features it will be promoting with IE8 are extensive improvements in the areas of performance and reliability, monetization opportunities for OEMs, security enhancements and more.

While this is good news all by itself, TechARP also believes this means that Windows 7 might be ready much sooner than the software giant has previously stated, given that IE8's final version was anticipated to be released when Windows 7 hits RTM.