Microsoft announced Wednesday it has passed an early milestone for the next version of its iconic Internet Explorer. An early version of the pre-beta code for IE 8.0 has successfully passed the so-called Acid2 browser compatibility tests, Dean Hachamovitch, general manager on Microsoft's IE team, said in a blog post.
While Acid2 is not a standards compliance test per se, it is looked to by many developers as an indication that a browser that passes should properly render graphics and other visual elements correctly on the Web.
"Acid2 is a test of modern browsers that determines how well a browser works with several different Web standards," a Microsoft spokesperson told InternetNews.com in an e-mailed statement. "Passing Acid 2 is an important landmark for IE8 as it highlights the interoperability, standards compliance, and backwards compatibility that we’re committed to for this release," the statement continued.
IE8 will be the first major update to Microsoft's venerable browser since IE7 shipped in October 2006.
The company has been consistently dunned by critics over the past dozen years for not making IE entirely compliant with various Web standards. Due to its sheer dominance of the browser market that lack of compliance, say critics, has helped to prevent consistent behaviors between competing browsers – and thus discouraged the use of any browsers other than IE.
Indeed, IE7's inability to completely pass the Acid2 test was one of the criticisms hurled at Microsoft last week by Opera Software when it filed an anti-trust claim against the company with the European Commission (EC).
Whether the latest news will have any impact on Opera's EC complaint is unknown. However, it will be a while before customers get a chance to put their hands on IE8 in any event..
"[We] will release a beta of IE8 in the first half of calendar 2008," Hachamovitch said in his post. The company did not disclose when IE8 might be commercially released.