Microsoft Reveals Beta Release Plans

Two new web-related beta releases are on the way for Microsoft. The company announced timelines for Silverlight 2 beta 2 and Internet Explorer 8 beta 2 at its TechEd conference in Orlando this morning.

Silverlight 2 beta 2, seen as Microsoft's answer to Adobe's long-standing Flash platform, builds upon the.Net framework introduced in the first beta release. The new version adds extra controls, improved networking and data handling capabilities, and enhanced error handling. It also features enhanced templates and integration with Expression Blend and Visual Studio as well as added cross-domain support and several other modifications. The beta is expected to be made available for download by the end of the week with a full version slated to be completed by the year's end.

IE 8 beta 2, on the other hand, may be the company's attempt at competing with the upcoming Firefox 3. The new beta will be targeted more at average end-users as opposed to the developer-heavy focus of the first beta release earlier this year. Microsoft says beta 2 will come out this August. A final product release date has not yet been set.