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Definition: Internet Explorer


Microsoft's original Web browser, which was included with Windows from 1995 to 2022. Commonly called "IE," versions of Internet Explorer for Mac and Unix were also available for a number of years. IE was superseded by Microsoft's Edge browser, and the last IE version (IE 11) lost support in 2021.

At one time, Internet Explorer was the most widely used Web browser on PCs. Many browser innovations were introduced in IE, including CSS style sheets, drag and drop and rich text editing. However, Chrome and Firefox along with several Chromium-based browsers eventually took the lion's share. See Chromium and Edge browser.

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 overtook Netscape. See Web browser and World Wide Web.