Internet Explorer 9 coming March 14

It took Microsoft a while to nail down an official date for the release of its next Web browser, but it has done just that now in setting March 14 as the official launch date of Internet Explorer 9.

The date was set to correspond to the SXSW show in Austin, Texas, where Microsoft is hosting an event on March 14. It barely fits into the company’s earlier promise to release IE9 in the first quarter of the year.

Microsoft says the new browser will go live on its servers at noon (EST) sharp on the 14th, and shortly thereafter it will try to push the download to Windows Vista and Windows 7 users.

One noteworthy thing about IE9 is that it will not run on Windows XP, which remains the most widely used form of Microsoft’s operating system.

Speaking of widely used, Internet Explorer has remained the most common Web browser, though it has lost market share to competing products like Mozilla’s Firefox and Google’s Chrome. The tough competition has forced Microsoft to stay ahead of the game and ensure its browser is as up-to-date as possible.

IE9 comes at the same time Mozilla is planning to update its browser as well, though numerous delays have caused some uncertainty as to when Firefox 4 will actually be available. It had at one point been slated for a November 2010 release.