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Definition: Internet Explorer


Microsoft's original Web browser, which has been included with Windows since Windows 98. Commonly called "IE," versions for Mac and Unix were available for a number of years but then discontinued. At one time, IE was the most widely used Web browser on desktop computers. However, Chrome and Firefox eventually took the lion's share. In 2015, Microsoft introduced Windows 10 and a new browser (see Edge browser), although IE is still included for compatibility.

The Browser Wars
In the mid-1990s, Netscape's Navigator browser, which was paid software, became the de facto on-ramp to the Web. Recognizing the Internet's potential, Microsoft quickly developed IE for Windows and gave it away. As a result, Netscape was forced to make Navigator free, and both browsers vied for top place, each new version one-upping the other with new features. Since it came with every Windows PC, IE eventually trumped Netscape. See Web browser and World Wide Web.