Back in July, Microsoft indicated that there would be one more beta of Internet Explorer 8 and that the final version would ship before the end of 2008. Beta 2 was duly released in August, but yesterday, Microsoft’s Dean Hachamovitch revealed that based on the results from Beta 2, the new date for IE8 is sometime in 2009:
We will release one more public update of IE8 in the first quarter of 2009, and then follow that up with the final release. Our next public release of IE (typically called a “release candidate”) indicates the end of the beta period. We want the technical community of people and organizations interested in web browsers to take this update as a strong signal that IE8 is effectively complete and done. They should expect the final product to behave as this update does. We want them to test their sites and services with IE8, make any changes they feel are necessary for the best possible customer experience using IE8, and report any critical issues (e.g., issues impacting robustness, security, backwards compatibility, or completeness with respect to planned standards work). Our plan is to deliver the final product after listening for feedback about critical issues.
Hachamovitch wants concerned developers to download Beta 2 and wring it out, because Microsoft plans to make only the most critical changes to the release candidate before it ships.
Every Web developer wants IE8 to be solid, if only in self defense, but I can’t help but think that Microsoft is ill served by this monolithic release model while nimble Firefox ships updates and new versions at a furious pace. Perhaps Microsoft can adopt that model after they get IE8 out the door.