IE9 beta hits two million downloads in 48 hours

Microsoft's Internet Explorer 9 may still be in early beta, but it's already gaining a cult following, with over two million people downloading it in its first two days.

The next-generation Internet Explorer brings some shiny new features - including Windows 7-style user interface enhancements and HTML5 support - and in the first two days that the beta was made available, over two million downloads were registered.

That's an impressive figure, and beats out Internet Explorer 8 - which only managed 1.3 million downloads over its first five days - and even popular open-source browser and market share runner-up Mozilla Firefox - which barely reached 100,000 downloads per day for the beta edition of Firefox 4.

The number of downloads doesn't necesarilly represent the number of people who will actually end up using the browser, of course - a high percentage of beta testers will be web developers, who need to ensure that the next release of Internet Explorer doesn't make their sites fall over.

Even so, it's encouraging news - and that's something Microsoft's browser division needs right now, having seen Internet Explorer's market share gradually decline to the point where it no longer holds an overall majority.

Whether the popularity of the IE9 beta will translate into a gain in market share come the final release remains to be seen.