Microsoft Internet Explorer

May 20, 2023

Microsoft Internet Explorer, commonly referred to as simply “IE”, was a web browser developed by Microsoft and included as the default browser in various versions of the Microsoft Windows operating system. It was first released in 1995 as part of the Microsoft Plus! for Windows 95 package, but was later made available as a standalone product as well. Over time, it became one of the most widely used web browsers in the world, with a peak market share of over 90% in the early 2000s.

Purpose and Usage

The primary purpose of Internet Explorer was to provide users with a tool for accessing and browsing web content. It offered a graphical user interface that allowed users to enter URLs or search terms, and it displayed the resulting web pages and other content in a format that was easy to read and navigate.

Some of the key features of Internet Explorer included tabbed browsing, which allowed users to open multiple web pages in a single window and switch between them easily, as well as support for various web technologies such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. It also offered various customization options, such as the ability to change the browser’s homepage or add extensions and plugins.

In addition to its core browsing functionality, Internet Explorer also served as a platform for various web-based applications and services. For example, it included built-in support for Microsoft’s own ActiveX technology, which allowed developers to create web-based applications that could be run directly within the browser.


Internet Explorer was first developed in the early 1990s as part of Microsoft’s efforts to create a graphical user interface for the World Wide Web. The first version, known as Internet Explorer 1.0, was released in August 1995 as part of the Microsoft Plus! for Windows 95 package.

Over the years, Microsoft continued to update and improve Internet Explorer, releasing numerous new versions with enhanced features and improved performance. Some of the most notable releases include Internet Explorer 2.0, which introduced support for cookies and JavaScript, and Internet Explorer 3.0, which added support for Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and frames.

In 1998, Microsoft released Internet Explorer 4.0, which included a number of significant new features and improvements. These included the introduction of the “Active Desktop” feature, which allowed users to embed web content directly into their desktop backgrounds, as well as improved support for dynamic HTML and multimedia content.

In 2001, Microsoft released Internet Explorer 6.0, which was included as the default browser in the Windows XP operating system. This version of the browser introduced a number of new features, including pop-up blocking, improved support for CSS, and the ability to save entire web pages for offline viewing.

Despite its popularity, Internet Explorer was not without its controversies. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the browser came under fire from critics who accused Microsoft of using its dominant position in the market to stifle competition from other web browsers such as Netscape Navigator. In 2002, Microsoft settled a lawsuit with the US Department of Justice, agreeing to make changes to its business practices to promote greater competition.

Decline and Discontinuation

Despite its early dominance, Internet Explorer began to lose market share in the mid-2000s as competing browsers such as Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome gained popularity. By 2015, Internet Explorer’s global market share had fallen to less than 20%, and Microsoft announced that it would be phasing out the browser in favor of a new browser called Microsoft Edge.

In March 2015, Microsoft released Internet Explorer 11, which was the final version of the browser to be released. However, Microsoft continued to offer support for Internet Explorer 11 for several years thereafter, releasing security updates and bug fixes as needed.

In 2019, Microsoft announced that it would be discontinuing support for Internet Explorer 11 in favor of Microsoft Edge. While Internet Explorer can still be used on older versions of Windows, Microsoft has advised users to switch to Microsoft Edge for a more secure and modern browsing experience.