Microsoft released Internet Explorer 9 RC (Release Candidate) today, and after finishing up some work hacking up a Windows installer script, I downloaded and installed the new version to take it for a spin. IE hasn’t been my default browser for awhile now, and I wondered whether MS could regain that coveted slot in the system registry. I switched to Google Chrome over a year ago simply because it was faster to start up, and faster to render sites than IE8. I think most people who have used both would agree with those impressions, although Microsoft always contended that their own tests showed IE8 had a small performance edge. Whatever side of that argument you support, my experience today navigating a number of complex sites with both IE9 and Chrome lead me to conclude that Microsoft has leapfrogged the competition.