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Microsoft Rolls Out First IE10 Platform Preview

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After years of being perceived to be the late runner in the browser wars, Microsoft is already ramping up development of the next release of its Internet Explorer (IE) -- releasing the first platform preview of IE10 only a month after delivering IE9 to users.

The announcement came during the first day of Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT) MIX11 Web designers and developers conference in Las Vegas.

Although it remains to be seen whether Microsoft can regain the momentum it lost in previous years, particularly to Mozilla Firefox, the company appears to be doing its best to get its audience pumped up and keep them there.

Microsoft delivered the production release of IE9in mid-March, the first major release of IE in several years.

At the time IE9 was released, at least one tech enthusiast site -- Betanews-- also predicted that Microsoft would hold the first platform preview for IE10 at this year's MIX11. Turns out, the site was right.

There was a certain precedent, after all. At last year's MIX event, Microsoft officials delivered the first platform previewfor IE9.

IE9 provides support for hardware accelerated HTML5 and, according to Dean Hachamovitch, corporate vice president of Internet Explorer, IE10 aims to capitalize on that.

"The first platform preview of Internet Explorer 10 builds on these innovations and includes support for additional standards, such as CSS3 Gradients on background images and CSS3 Flexible Box Layout," Microsoft said in a statement.

"We’re about three weeks into development of IE10, and based on the progress we've made, we want to start engaging the development community now," Hachamovitch said in a post to the Exploring IEblog.

The initial platform preview, which is available for download, will be updated roughly every 12 weeks, the company said.

Microsoft officials also announced the commercial availability of several new Windows Azure features, such as services to accelerate application performance and enable access to Web applications through identity providers like Microsoft, Facebook and Google, according to a post to the Windows Azureblog.

In the meantime, Microsoft also began a community technology preview of a Windows Azure traffic management function to make it simpler to balance application performance across multiple geographies.

Stuart J. Johnston is a contributing editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @stuartj1000.

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