Internet Explorer 9 takes back the web -- 2.35M downloads during first 24 hours

Way back when, Mozilla used slogan "Take back the web!" to promote Firefox. Internet Explorer 9 aims to do just that. Today at Microdoft's Windows Team Blog, Ryan Gavin pronounced, not 1, not 2, but 2.35 million IE9 downloads in 24 hours. It's an impressive number. Internet Explorer 9 has exploded onto the web, as Microsoft makes a grab to take it back from upstarts. We'll see if Mozilla can do as well when Firefox 4 officially launches next week.

Internet Explorer 9 is by far Microsoft's most ambitious browser since v3 launched to great fanfare in summer 1996. Microsoft browser development was ferocious and fast as the software giant sought to take the web away from Netscape. Microsoft would later win the browser wars but lose the fire in its belly. All realistic browser development stopped with IE6's release in October 2001 and didn't resume until after Mozilla launched Firefox in late 2004.

IE9 is the first Microsoft browser released in nearly a decade that finally breaks off the shackles locked on by Internet Explorer 6. Microsoft technologies like ActiveX and lacking CSS support made IE6 the web's unwelcome uncle. He wasn't very compatible. Uncle often forgot to lock the door, too, letting in thieves (e.g. IE6 security problems). Microsoft needed two transitional browsers -- IE7 and IE8 -- to get to a more modern browser, largely free of the legacy and primed for emerging standards like HTML5.

While Microsoft touts customer benefits -- and I'm sure Microsoft corporate VP Dean Hachamovitch is sincere discussing them -- renewed Internet Explorer development is really about competition, like it was in the late 1990s. For example, it has been a busy month for web browsers. Apple's Safari 5.04 and Google Chrome 10 released last week. In February, Internet Explorer usage share was 56.77 percent, according to NetApplications, down from more than 90 percent before Firefox 1.0 launched nearly seven years ago. There's a lot of the web for IE9 to take back.

Microsoft has resurrected its "better together" slogan to promote the benefits of running IE9 on Windows 7. But I'd like to see more. There's nothing unique about an application supporting features like Jump Lists or Thumbnail Previews. Still, the "better together" marketing concept is a good way for showing potential users of both products why they should want both.

There are plenty of Betanews readers that are IE9 fans. Last week I asked: "Which web browser do you use?" Alexei Youditsky: "IE9 from now, on my Windows 7 machines. IE8 at my work XP." Internet Explorer 9 doesn't support Windows XP. Jigar Mehta describes IE9 "an awesome and stunningly fast browser!" Paul Richter also is an IE9 fan. "This browser just feels right," he writes. "Tracking Protection is a great function as is the ability to link/send to OneNote."

Are you using Internet Explorer 9? Is it your primary browser? Did you switch from another browser as your primary? Please answer in comments, or email joewilcox at gmail dot com.

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