Internet Explorer 9 may get a beta release with a heavy HTML5 emphasis at Microsoft's MIX 2010 developer conference in mid-March, according to escaped details. Hinting that IE9 will have comprehensive support for HTML5 is a scheduled briefing at MIX 2010 titled "HTML5 Now: The Future of Web Markup Today." Opera Software’s Molly Holzschlag will present the party and has said to expect Microsoft to bring browser storage and other HTML5 features.
Another session will focus on scalable vector graphics (SVG), a technology supported by most other browsers and especially those that recognize HTML5. IE Senior Program Manager Patrick Dengler will be the head speaker at the talk, known as "Future of Vector Graphics for the Web."
Currently, IE8 gets HTML5 capabilities like plugin-free video playback and SVG only thanks to add-on features from third parties. Google's Chrome Frame is the most conspicuous example and inserts the web engine from Chrome on top of Microsoft's browser.
These changes should bring Microsoft's browser more in line with more modern competitors that include Safari as well as Chrome, Firefox and Opera, all of whom either already use a pre-final version of HTML5 or otherwise follow web standards more closely. Observers have often criticized Microsoft for being slow to adopt standards, as IE's presence on all Windows PCs means that developers often have to write with it in mind even when it produces errors or lacks certain features.
IE8 currently ships with Windows 7 systems but is only roughly current with features supported in 2007, including CSS 2.1 and a few HTML5 tools, mainly offline storage elements. Microsoft has usually justified the absence of modern features like HTML5 by claiming that they aren't finished and ratified by the W3C, which governs software on the web. The software giant has thus far only supported firmly set standards but has also been chastised for falling short of these in some areas as well.