A Microsoft General Manager broke Microsoft's silence regarding Internet Explorer 8 by sharing details on a blog post of the company's new web browser that will launch in the first half of 2008.

For IE 8, we want to communicate facts, not aspirations, Dean Hachamovitch said. We're posting this information now because we have real working code checked in and we're confident about delivering it in the final product. We're listening to the feedback about IE, and at the same time, we are committed to responsible disclosure and setting expectations properly.

Microsoft conducts a test called Acid2 Browser Test before releasing a new browser in the market, which determines how well a browser adheres to Web standards. Hachamovitch reported the browser passed the test last week.

With respect to standards and interoperability, our goal in developing Internet Explorer 8 is to support the right set of standards with excellent implementations and do so without breaking the existing Web, Hachamovitch said.

The design of the IE 8 will have similar characteristics to Office 2007. The browser will use a single main menu button in the upper left corner and a Quick Access Toolbar in the out space area to the right of this button.

Microsoft responded to the criticism of its current IE 7 for its non-customizable and non-standard toolbar layout by removing its Command Bar and returning all toolbar buttons to the main toolbar where they were originally in its IE6 version.