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Did Microsoft Russia leak the new Internet Explorer 9 user interface?

This time the leaked Internet Explorer 9 image we're looking at is a bit more trustworthy than the mock-up we received back on April 1st. As Mary Jo Foley reports, the image above was posted by Microsoft's Russian PR site, though the post has since been pulled from the server and now returns a 404 error.

If this is the new interface, it's certainly been simplified from the IE8 incarnation. A few things look odd to me, however. First, there's the way the back button is cut off by the Bing Web page -- it seems like the UI element should float on top rather than being cropped by the content below. I'm also not convinced that placing the tabs next to the address bar is a good move -- the bar will be quite cramped when multiple tabs are open.

I do like the look of the favorites, home, and history(?) button on the far-right side and the introduction of a unified address/search box. Too often I've had a circular conversation while trying to instruct users to type into the address bar and not the search box in IE. This is one change I'd be really happy to see.

It's only two and a half more weeks until we find out if this is our first look at the IE9 beta interface. Even then, it'll be a beta version -- and could very well change before the final version ships early next year.

Tags: ie9, image, interface, internet explorer 9, InternetExplorer9, leak, screenshot