“Microsoft on Thursday said it would launch Internet Explorer 8 [for Windows XP and Vista] at 12PM Eastern. The app is the company’s first significant web browser release since 2006 and is partly meant to address gaps in its feature set compared to other, newer browsers: a new rendering engine makes it more compatible with true W3C web standards while still having support for IE-specific pages. It also has shortcuts to perform context-sensitive tasks through specific websites (such as a Facebook search), visual search suggestions, and a WebClip-like feature known as Web Slices that lets users bookmark specific sections of websites and see them at a glance,” MacNN reports.

“The release comes just as the company faces increased competition as well as a potential blow to its control of the browser market. While significantly faster and more standards-ready, IE8 is already believed to be outperformed by Apple’s Safari 4,” MacNN reports.

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]