Internet Explorer 8: release candidate should be publicly available in early 2009
Microsoft executive Dean Hachamovitch announced on the blog of the Internet Explorer team that another public pre-release version of Internet Explorer 8 is scheduled for release in the first quarter of 2009. Hachamovitch calls it a "release candidate", which usually refers to a version that is basically finished and only requires a last few bug fixes. The most recent version to become freely available to download was Beta 2 of IE8.
On completion, IE8 will be available as a free download for Windows XP, Vista and Server 2003 and later. It will also be part of the forthcoming Windows 7, although the two products are being developed independently. The blog entry doesn't specify an exact release date.