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Microsoft IE 8 to Debut in August

Microsoft Corp said it plans to test-release, IE 8 Beta 2, a feature-complete version of its Internet Explorer 8 Web browser in August.

Microsoft released a first test version of IE 8 in March, providing developers and Web designers a preview of the latest update to the world’s most widely-used browser. One feature is called “Activities,” which lets users highlight text on a Web page and then take that passage into another Web service.

The next test release will be targeted more at ordinary Web users. It will come with all the features that the browser will have when it is officially launched — although it may still contain bugs, since it is a test version.

However, Microsoft has not set an official release date for IE 8.

Microsoft has pledged to deliver more regular updates of Internet Explorer, which has seen Mozilla’s Firefox browser cut reduce its lead.

Firefox released a test version of Firefox 3, an updated version of its Internet browser, promising better security, more speed and stability, along with new features like a “smart” location bar that remembers and redirects users to Web site addresses they have visited before.

Firefox is closely affiliated with Google Inc, which provided around 85 percent of the revenue of Firefox’s parent organization, the Mozilla Foundation, according to filings published last October.