Washington: Microsoft on Thursday released Internet Explorer 8, a new version of its ubiquitous Web browser, adding features which the US software giant claims makes it safer and loads pages faster.
Internet Explorer 8 was available for downloading in 25 languages starting on Thursday at www.microsoft.com/ie8, the Redmond, Washington-based computer software giant announced in a statement.
Microsoft said IE 8 was faster than previous IE browsers and included “leading-edge security features in direct response to people’s increasing concerns about online safety.”
“Customers have made clear what they want in a Web browser — safety, speed and greater ease of use,” Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer said.
“With Internet Explorer 8, we are delivering a browser that gets people to the information they need, fast, and provides protection that no other browser can match,” he said in a statement.
Microsoft said page load times had been speeded up in IE8 and the new version of the browser blocks “two to four times as many malicious sites as other browsers on the market today.”
According to the Internet research firm Net Applications, IE had a total browser market share of 67.5% in January.
Mozilla’s Firefox was next with 21.53%, followed by Apple’s Safari with 8.29% and Google Chrome with 1.12%.
Microsoft’s dominance of the browser market through IE and operating systems through Windows has drawn the attention of anti-trust authorities in the United States and Europe.
Earlier this month, Microsoft said a control panel in its next-generation of Windows will let users shut off IE8 and other built-in programs.
The announcement came less than two months after the European Commission accused Microsoft of unfairly tying IE to Windows.
Opera Software filed a complaint with the commission in 2007 accusing Microsoft of denying Windows users “a real choice of browser.”
Mozilla and Google also objected to the bundling of IE with Windows, with Google calling the IE-dominated browser market “largely uncompetitive.”