Microsoft has launched the new version 9 of its Internet Explorer Web browser, promising “a faster, richer and more immersive Web experience” – but consulting group Ovum has labelled it a non-event, at least as far as most business users are concerned.”This is largely because IE9 does not run on Windows XP – the operating system running on 67 percent of corporate desktops,” said Ovum principal analyst Richard Edwards in a statement rushed to media.

He added: “New browser versions are also expected from the competition, but we believe the next battleground for the ‘browser wars’ will be fought not on the desktop, but on the smartphone and tablet, and this is where Microsoft’s existing browser offering still has a lot of catching up to do.”

Microsoft says that, as the only browser with fully hardware-accelerated HTML5, Internet Explorer 9 enables “faster, more visually compelling Web experiences and applications”.

It is also highlighting security features including “tracking protection” to limit exchange of information with third parties.

Meanwhile, Google has developed a WebM plug-in for Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 9. The preview plug-in is now available to download for IE9 on Windows 7 and Windows Vista, though the release seems rushed to happen on the day of the IE9 launch. For example, the “known issues” page is, at time of writing, “not yet available”. The developers did, however, comment on the download page; “They said elephants couldn’t ride flying dolphins. They said that one of the world’s most popular browsers couldn’t play WebM video in HTML5. They were wrong.”

The release of the plug-in comes after Microsoft released HTML5 H.264 plug-ins for Google’s Chrome in February and Mozilla’s Firefox back in December of last year.

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