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Definition: Internet Explorer

Microsoft's 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. IE is the most widely used Web browser on desktop computers.

The Browser War History
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. Although still the dominant Web browser on the desktop, over the years, competing browsers have captured a large share of the market. See Web browser and World Wide Web.