A week shy of their self-imposed 8-week deadline, Microsoft delivers Internet Explorer (IE) 9 Platform Preview 2, a second developer-oriented release of its next web browser. Here's the word from Dean Hachamovitch:

When we started planning IE9, we recognized the need for a better feedback loop with developers. The developer community was clear that they wanted pre-release builds of the browser platform in a consistent rhythm, with a good feedback mechanism.

Seven weeks ago at the MIX Conference, we released the first IE9 Platform Preview. We committed to updating the Preview approximately every eight weeks. Today, we’re releasing the second Platform Preview of Internet Explorer 9, available now atwww.IETestDrive.com.

Today’s release builds on the first Platform Preview, delivering improvements to IE9’s performance, support for standards, and hardware acceleration of HTML5.  We’ve also updated the test drive site with a new set of developer samples to show what developers can do with GPU-powered HTML5. As part of our commitment to enabling developers to use the Same Markup – the same HTML, CSS, and script – on the web, we have contributed many new tests to the W3C for HTML5, as well as CSS3 Media Queries and DOM. The Developer Tools in this preview include some new features to make finding and fixing markup issues easier.

Developers should expect much more from browsers in order to deliver the graphically rich, interactive applications that HTML5 will enable. In IE9, our goal is to provide professional-grade, modern HTML5 support on top of modern hardware through Windows. The IE9 Platform Preview and the samples at the test drive site show the significant performance gains that web pages enjoy when a browser takes full advantage of the PC’s hardware capabilities through the operating system.

Check out the post for more. It's unfortunate that Microsoft feels the need to even discuss pointless industry benchmarks, but that's the world we live in, apparently, and as you might expect, IE 9's scores are indeed improving. I'm more intrigued, however, by Dean's discussion around "same markup":

Web browsers should render the same markup – the same HTML, same CSS, and same script –the same way. That’s simply not the case today. Enabling the same markup to work the same across different browsers is as crucial for HTML5’s success as performance.

Exactly. :)