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Microsoft Says IE9 Beta Demand 'Pretty Overwhelming'

Microsoft is still marveling at the level of demand it has seen in the week since it launched the Internet Explorer 9 beta, and it's offering some surprising statistics to illustrate its early success.

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Microsoft says its "Beauty of the Web" site, which illustrates the aesthetic advantages of IE9's support for HTML5 and hardware acceleration, has had more the 9 million visits and 26 million page views since the IE9 beta launch on Sept. 15. Microsoft's developer-oriented IE Test Drive Site has had 4 million page views during the same period.

All of this has apparently exceeded Microsoft's expectations for how things would play out with the IE9 beta. "The initial reaction has been pretty overwhelming, and we are very humbled by the response our customers have had," said Roger Capriotti, director of marketing for Internet Explorer, in a blog post Monday.

These figures are also surprising because the IE9 beta only runs on Windows Vista and Windows 7, and not on XP. This is still a sizable user base: Microsoft in July estimated that 74 percent of businesses are still running XP on their machines.

So if XP users want to experience IE9's speedier performance and its sleek, minimalistic user interface, they'll have no choice but to upgrade. It's Microsoft's position that those who do upgrade will be blown away by IE9's speedier performance, as well as its Website rendering.

By removing the clunky UI of traditional Web browsers, Microsoft is aiming for a browser experience in IE9 that resembles that of Web applications.

"We are encouraged about the very early response to the IE9 release this past week, namely because it signals that the emphasis on making websites shine through Windows is resonating," Capriotti said in the blog post.

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