Internet Explorer 9 launching March 14

Internet Explorer 9 finally has a release date -- March 14.

No more platform previews, betas, or release candidates: the final version of Internet Explorer 9 is launching on March 14.

Microsoft announced the launch date on its Windows Team Blog on Wednesday. IE9 will be available for download at 9 p.m. Pacific, so for east coasters the launch date is technically March 15 at midnight.

Internet Explorer 9 is Microsoft's biggest Web browser redesign yet. The redesign takes on a minimalist look, which gives the user more browsing room by squashing menu space. It accomplishes this by using a single bar for URLs and searches -- Google Chrome-style -- and by placing browser tabs in a single strip alongside the omnibar.

IE9 also fuses with Windows, allowing you to pin Website shortcuts to the Windows taskbar and create lists of links from within those pinned sites. There's also a download manager -- at last. As for performance, IE9 supports hardware acceleration for HTML5 video.

Since launching the IE9 beta in September, Microsoft has added even more features based on user feedback, including ActiveX filtering and tracking protection.

The vast majority of IE9's features were set in stone with last month's Release Candidate, but Microsoft says it still has "a few surprises left." The company is planning a party for the release of IE9 at the South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas.

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