Microsoft has announced that in two days, over 2 million people worldwide have downloaded the Internet Explorer 9 Beta. The software giant says the number shows great user interest, especially when compared to the Internet Explorer 8 Beta, which launched in August 2008 and had just 1.3 million downloads over the first five days. Redmond also revealed that it has seen 9 million visits and over 26 million page views on its Beauty of the Web website since the beta release last Wednesday, while the developer-focused IE Test Drive Site has had 4 million page views in the same timeframe.

Microsoft released the IE9 beta last week and even we noticed that users were particularly interested: it was one our most highly-trafficked and most-commented articles. Readers had mixed opinions: some complained that the beta crashes often and is completely unusable while others were surprised at its sheer speed and simplified interface. The biggest complaints were the inability to install IE9 on Windows XP as well as the lack of space for having many tabs open.

Microsoft is fighting a very difficult battle with Internet Explorer. IE9 not only needs to be a huge improvement over IE8 (which it is), but it needs to compete well with the third party browsers on Windows if it's going to reverse the overall downward market share spiral IE has been experiencing over the last few years. The software giant still plans on releasing at least one more Platform Preview and a Release Candidate build before the final IE9 release. Have you tried Internet Explorer 9 Beta? What's your take?