SEATTLE (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp said on Tuesday it plans to test-release a feature-complete version of its Internet Explorer 8 Web browser in August.
Microsoft released a first test version of IE 8 in March, providing developers and Web designers a preview of the latest update to the world’s most widely-used browser.
The next test release, IE 8 Beta 2, will be targeted more at ordinary Web users. It will come with all the features that the browser will have when it is officially launched — although it may still contain bugs, since it is a test version.
Microsoft has not set an official release date for IE 8. The company released Internet Explorer 7 in October 2006.
Microsoft, based in Redmond, Washington, has pledged to deliver more regular updates of Internet Explorer, which has seen Mozilla’s Firefox browser chip away at its lead.
Last month, Firefox released a test version of Firefox 3, an updated version of its Internet browser, promising better security, more speed and stability, along with new features like a “smart” location bar that remembers and redirects users to Web site addresses they have visited before.
Firefox is closely affiliated with archrival Google Inc, which provided around 85 percent of the revenue of Firefox’s parent organization, the Mozilla Foundation, according to filings published last October.
In March, Microsoft provided a glimpse at the new features in IE 8. One feature is called “Activities,” which lets users highlight text on a Web page and then take that passage into another Web service.
For example, a user can highlight an address on a Web site and, then in one click, call up a map of that location.
Shares of Microsoft fell 11 cents to $27.69 in afternoon Nasdaq trade.
Reporting by Daisuke Wakabayashi, editing by Gerald E. McCormick