Microsoft has brought its Internet Explorer 8 browser out of beta with the release of IE8 Release Candidate 1 . The program is available to the public as of Monday afternoon.
As a regular user of Firefox, I wanted to see if the browser's updated offering would be enough to cause me to consider switching over. IE has steadily been losing users to Firefox in recent months, with current estimates by Net Applications putting Microsoft at 71 percent of the market compared to Mozilla's 20 percent. Add onto that this week's news that the EU may soon mandate the inclusion of rival browsers within new Windows-based PCs, and it's more important than ever for Microsoft to start winning users back if it wants to reverse the share-slipping trend.
Here, then, are my first impressions following my initial test drive of the software, focusing primarily on the features new to RC1 since the last beta.