Microsoft has asked its software-testing community to participate in beta trials for Internet Explorer 8 (IE8). A public beta will follow once the invitation-only test is complete - in the summer, according to experienced Microsoft watchers.

IE8 will replace Internet Explorer 7.0, Microsoft's current internet browsing software program. IE7 was introduced in October 2006.

No date has been set for the public release of IE8, but according to reports Microsoft will show Internet Explorer 8 at MIX in March.

Following some criticism of IE7, version 8 is expected to more fully comply with World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) standards. W3C attempts to ensure cross-browser and -platform interoperability. Rival browsers such as Mozilla's Firefox comply with W3C standards more the IE.

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