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Internet Explorer® is an Internet browser that dates back to the dawn of public Internet in 1995. Created by the computer giant Microsoft®, Internet Explorer®, or IE®, has released 9 versions between its first program and the 2010 program, called Internet Explorer 9®. Originally part of an additional package that ran with the Windows 95® operating system, the web browser is now available as a free online download.
According to Internet experts, the original program was heavily based on the features available in a web browser called Mosaic™, which was developed at the University of Illinois by the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA). The distributor of this early browser allowed Microsoft® to adapt the program to better suit its new operating system. Microsoft® quickly retooled the browser and released it as Internet Explorer®.
Modern users may be surprised to discover how few features were available on the original product. The Internet of 1995 was a barren place compared to the high-speed wonders of 21st century web browsing. Not until the third version did Internet Explorer® even include applications for Internet mail and address books. In the early years, many computer experts considered the Microsoft® to be inferior to competitive products, but technological advances and the success of the operating system soon allowed Internet Explorer® to catch up.
The 4.0 release of Internet Explorer® began to raise serious anti-trust concerns throughout the legal and computer industries. By incorporating the browser into the operating system, it soon became virtually impossible to run a Windows® system without Internet Explorer® as the sole web browser. Concerns over restraint of trade soon lead to an expansive lawsuit, known as The United States vs. Microsoft®. Though an original ruling called for the computer giant to be split into two sections that would separately handle software and operating systems, this ruling was eventually overturned and the case settled with some concessions from Microsoft®.
Internet Explorer® remains one of the most popular Internet browsers on the market; however, it is not without its detractors. Many feel that security flaws in the programming leave it quite vulnerable to viruses, spyware, and other system attacks. Despite multiple patches released to cover discovered holes in security, some computer experts warn against using the browser without superior anti-virus software. In 2010, the German government issues a warning against using the browser after a link was discovered between holes in IE® security and extensive attacks on Internet behemoth Google™.