Ryan Gavin, Microsoft’s senior director of Internet Explorer, disclosed yesterday that Internet Explorer 9 had already been downloaded 2.35 million times in the first 24 hours since its release on Monday. That’s almost 98,000 downloads per hour, or more than 27 downloads per second.

IE 9′s numbers aren’t quite as impressive compared to other browsers, though. In 2009, Firefox 3.5 saw more than 1 million downloads only a few hours after becoming available, and by the end of its first 24 hours the year before, Firefox 3.0 had been downloaded 8 million times.

Firefox, which is set to release the final version of Firefox 4 on March 22, will become the competitor of IE9.

The release candidate of Firefox 4 which was launched last week is likely to be the final test version of the browser, unless the developers find any problematic bugs. If a significant issue should arise before March 22, the release date for the final version would be moved and Mozilla would launch an RC2 (Release Candidate two) version instead.