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Internet Explorer (commonly abbreviated IE) is one of the world's leading internet web browsers.


As early as Windows 95 PLUS special edition, and officially as of Windows 98, Microsoft began shipping IE as the default browser, pre-installed on most versions of its Operating System[1]. While seemingly acting innocent and claiming to simply have wanted to provide its users the easiest, most user-friendly internet experience possible on Microsoft's OS', it proved to be a business decision which would cause much uproar in the more tightly restricted and regulated markets, such as the EU.[2]

The main argument against this practice was that Microsoft was effectively monopolizing both the Browser and OS markets, thereby participating in anti-competitive practices. They were subsequently hit with multiple anti-trust lawsuits, particularly in the aforementioned regulative EU. Certain countries[3][4] even refused to allow Microsoft OS' to be deployed in their schools, instilling bans, so as to not have their youth grown and thus heavily dependent on Microsoft products for productivity with a computer.

As a result of these pressures and mounting court costs, Microsoft made the wise business decision to ship their latest Windows 7 OS without IE.[5]


Apart from legal considerations of Microsoft installing IE as the default browser, there are a number of ongoing technical complaints from web-based software developers, webmasters and software companies worldwide.[6][7][8] Typical complaints include (but are in NO way limited to):

- slow download times
- slow page load/render times
- HTML and xHTML implementations are non-standard (some elements missing, some extra elements added which are not part of W3C DOM and similar specifications)
- AJAX's XMLHttpRequest (which Microsoft ironically enough invented[9][10]) is not handled in a standard way[11]
- since XMLHttpRequest became a de facto standard[12], IE oddly enough chose not to follow it and instead use their own[13]
- DHTML implementation causes display/layering/page functionality errors
- less than full support for latest CSS style/design standards
- look&feel of standard FORM elements is ugly
- memory leaks, causing performance issues
- security leaks, causing privacy issues
- subsequent releases/patches/updates of IE often break previously working web applications/pages in new IE browsers
- difficult to debug JavaScript in IE (possibly due to non-standard implementation/handling, also lack of good developer tools until IE8)



Major Versions

IE 1-5

Early versions of IE (1 through 4) were seen as inferior and weak offerings which were being heavily developed to compete with then industry leaders Mosaic, Netscape Navigator, and Safari. IE 5 was the first version of the Microsoft browser to ship with new versions of Windows (then Windows98), which drew numerous lawsuits (due to monopolistic practices of forcing/tricking users to use their browser over that of competitors'). IE 5 also had several major issues with security as well as in following then-growing Web Development standards and best practices for rendering/processing and attempted to "patch" these shortcomings with several patch releases, up to IE 5.5 SP2 after which came the upgrade to IE 6.

IE 6

IE 6 was the first IE version to surpass Netscape Navigator (and other competitors) as the most popular browser in the world and for a brief period enjoyed massive dominance in browser market share. Though the security issues were not nearly as bad as those in IE 5.x it still suffered from a number of major exploits and weaknesses as well as from being completed before a number of the leading Web Development standards and best practices were finalized. As a result of these shortcomings, like IE 5 before it, the IE 6 team attempted to release a number of patches and fixes up to IE 6.0 SP3, before finally settling on a new development stream with the release of IE7.

IE 7

A once widely used version of IE that came bundled with WindowsXP and introduced a number of primary styling/formatting issues which required IE-specific web development workarounds, shims and fallbacks. It is widely criticized as being one of the worst browsers ever released by Microsoft due to the fact that it failed to follow leading Web Development standards and best practices (which by the time of its release had already been codified and finalized as easy-to-follow specifications).

IE 8

The last update to the "old stream" of IE, some major improvements in support for XML, JSON and Web Services in general. Good "compatibility mode" which reliably presents web sites and applications as they would appear in lower versions.

IE 9-11

Considered to be the "modern" IE stream of development (in terms of features, speed, security, etc), but also has compatibility modes and support for web sites and applications developed against older standards like ActiveX, VBscript, etc.


Microsoft Edge (codename "Spartan" during development) is the latest browser from Microsoft, and is meant to permanently replace the Internet Explorer line of browsers, thus ending the IE version numbers (although from force of habbit it was originally referred to as "IE 12" when it first launched in Windows 7/8/10 in July 2015). It is also designed to be perpetually updated (like FF and Chrome have switched to), thus it will continually be improved and likely have a rapidly increasing version number for the latest release.


[32] [33] [34] [35] [36] [37] [38] [39] [40] [41]

Edge Chromium

On 2019-04-08 Microsoft released their first "Developer preview" version of Edge running on Blink as a Browser engine, forked from "Chromium" (with some improvements/features being shared back potentially). This ended the Spartan/EdgeHTML line (for that reason some colloquially refer to it as lucky number IE 13).

[42] [43] [44] [45] [46]

IE Mode







External Links



  1. Internet Explorer (Windows):
  2. Microsoft IE 8 Default Browser Controversy -- Trickery or Much Ado About Nothing?:
  3. Windows Vista, Office 2007 Expelled From British Schools :
  4. Down with Windows! Russian schools turn to free software:
  5. Windows 7 to be shipped in Europe without Internet Explorer:
  6. IE Sucks:
  7. Microsoft flooded with complaints after IE 8 release:
  8. DOJ Rebuffs Complaints About IE 7 Search Box :
  9. The story of XMLHTTP:
  10. IXMLHTTPRequest:
  11. Weird XMLHttpRequest error in IE – just one call allowed:
  12. Dynamic HTML and XML: The XMLHttpRequest Object:
  13. Native XMLHTTPRequest object:
  14. wikipedia: ActiveX
  15. ActiveX plugin dropped from FF:
  16. The Amazing ActiveX (1999):
  17. What are ActiveX controls?:
  18. wikipedia: History of Internet Explorer
  19. Modern Browser Development Timeline:
  20. wikipedia: Internet Explorer versions#Microsoft_Internet_Explorer_5
  21. wikipedia: Internet Explorer 6
  22. wikipedia: Internet Explorer 7
  23. wikipedia: Internet Explorer 8
  24. wikipedia: Internet Explorer 9
  25. wikipedia: Internet Explorer 10
  26. wikipedia: Internet Explorer 11
  27. wikipedia: Microsoft Edge
  28. Project Spartan and the Windows 10 January Preview Build:
  29. Microsoft's Project Spartan is being armed for assault in the browser wars:
  30. Screenshots of Microsoft’s upcoming Project Spartan browser leak on Web:
  31. Inside Microsoft’s New Rendering Engine For The “Project Spartan”:
  32. Modern IE - Feature development status:,iedev&browserstatuses=notsupported,indevelopment,implemented&browsers=chrome,firefox,opera,safari&ieversion=11
  33. Microsoft Edge -- Dev Tools - Device Emulation in the Browser:
  34. 11 Tips and Tricks for Microsoft Edge on Windows 10:
  35. Microsoft to Reportedly Dump Edge for Chromium-Based Browser; Chrome OS-Rival Windows Lite Said to Be in the Works:
  36. Microsoft is building a Chromium-powered web browser that will replace Edge on Windows 10:
  37. The end of the browser wars? Microsoft to kill off its Edge browser and create new app based on the same technology as Google's Chrome:
  38. Goodbye, EdgeHTML:
  39. Developer tools in windows Edge browse localstorage:
  40. Storage: (Storage tab available in Edge 42+)
  41. How to Set up and Use Kids Mode in Microsoft Edge:
  42. Microsoft Edge -- Making the web better through more open source collaboration:
  43. Microsoft Edge, Chromium, and Blink FAQ -- Everything you need to know:
  44. Microsoft’s Chromium Edge browser is now officially available to test:
  45. Chromium-based Edge -- Hands on with Microsoft's new browser:
  46. Why Microsoft Built Its New Browser On Google Chromium:
  47. Using IE Developer Tools as replacement for Firebug (as in Mozilla Firefox):
  48. IE9+ PowerTips - "Pinned Tabs":
  49. IE6 Transparent PNG problem:
  50. How To Install Microsoft Internet Explorer on Linux in Two Easy Steps (without WINE):
  51. Trash All IE Hacks:
  52. CSS hacks to target latest IE 11 & Edge versions:
  53. IE 11 CSS hacks still an option if absolutely necessary:
  54. Microsoft Outlines End-of-Support Dates for IE 11 and EdgeHTML Browsers:

See Also

Microsoft | Windows | Operating System | Browser