Microsoft has announced that the release candidate for Internet Explorer 9 has already been downloaded 11 million times since its launch on 10 February.

The next generation browser from Microsoft hit the RC stage in February, and has been a big hit – with the Redmond-based giant adding the 11 million total to the beta downloads to bring a total of 36 million.

"Last month, we saw share of both Internet Explorer 8 and 9 grow, and we're pleased to see that momentum continue in February with the availability of the IE9 Release Candidate," blogged Microsoft's Roger Capriotti.

11 million

"Since its release on February 10, the IE9 RC has already been downloaded over 11 million times," he added

"Together with the IE9 Beta, IE9 has been downloaded over 36 million times since its initial availability on September 15, 2010.

"As of February, IE9 has now surpassed total combined downloads of IE8 Beta and IE8 RC, and Net Applications reports that IE9 now represents 0.66 per cent of all worldwide browser usage share on Windows with 2.09 per cent usage share on Windows 7."

IE9 - flashy

IE9 represents a key product for Microsoft as it battles against some serious competition from the likes of Apple with Safari, Google's Chrome and Mozilla's ever-popular Firefox.

The latest incarnation of Internet Explorer has been well received by critics and the public alike – and it will be fascinating to see if the browser can arrest the overall decline of IE in the global market in the coming months.