Internet Explorer

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Windows Internet Explorer (formerly Microsoft Internet Explorer; commonly abbreviated to IE), is a series of graphical web browsers developed by Microsoft and included as part of the Microsoft Windows line of operating systems starting in 1995. It was first released as part of the add-on package Plus! for Windows 95 that year. Later versions were available as free downloads, or in service packs, and included in the OEM service releases of Windows 95 and later versions of Windows.

IE has been the most widely used web browser since 1999, attaining a peak of about 95% usage share during 2002 and 2003 with IE5 and IE6.[citation needed] Since its peak of popularity, its usage share has declined in the face of renewed competition from other web browsers to 55%, and is slowly trending downward. Microsoft spent over $100 million per year on IE[1] in the late 1990s, with over 1000 people working on it by 1999.[2]

Since its first release, Microsoft has added features and technologies such as basic table display (in version 1.5); XMLHttpRequest (in version 5), which aids creation of dynamic web pages; and Internationalized Domain Names (in version 7), which allow Web sites to have native-language addresses with non-Latin characters. The browser has also received scrutiny throughout its development for use of third-party technology (such as the source code of Spyglass Mosaic, used without royalty in early versions) and security and privacy vulnerabilities, and both the United States and the European Union have alleged that integration of IE with Windows has been to the detriment of other browsers.

The latest stable release is Internet Explorer 8, which is available as a free update for Windows XP with Service Pack 2 or later, Windows Server 2003 with Service Pack 1 or later, Windows Vista, and Windows Server 2008, and is included with Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. Internet Explorer was originally planned to be omitted from Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 in Europe but Microsoft later dropped the plans, and instead included a browser ballot screen with the products, allowing users to select a different web browser if they wish.[3][4][5][6]

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