IE through the years

As Microsoft's browser turns 15, a look back at how it's evolved.

1995: Internet Explorer 1.0
The first version of IE came in August 1996, a month after Microsoft released Windows 95. The browser was not part of the operating system, but instead was included as part of an "Internet Jumpstart Kit" in the Microsoft Plus add-in.

1995: Internet Explorer 2.0
In November 1995, Microsoft released Internet Explorer 2.0, its first browser to offer both Macintosh and Windows support. IE 2.0 also added support for the Secure Socket Layer (SSL) protocol, HTTP cookies, and Internet newsgroups.

1996: Internet Explorer 3.0
Released in August 1996, IE3 included support for e-mail, the display of GIF and JPG files, and direct playback of streaming audio without the need for additional applications.

1997: Internet Explorer 4.0
IE4 added support for Dynamic HTML (DHTML), which allowed for interactive Web sites where menus could be expanded or images could be moved around. IE4 also brought the arrival of Microsoft Outlook Express 4, an improvement to the mail and newsgroup readers that had been part of IE.

1998: Internet Explorer 5.0
Released in September 1998, IE5 expanded on the support for DHTML and allowed for greater personalization.

2001: Internet Explorer 6
Released as part of Windows XP, Internet Explorer 6 became the standard in Web browsing for years, eventually to the dismay of the entire industry, including Microsoft itself, which has struggled to move customers to more modern and secure versions of its browser.

2006: Internet Explorer 7
Released in October 2006 for users of Windows XP Service Pack 2 and later as part of Windows Vista, IE7 added support for tabbed browsing along with antimalware protection.

2009: Internet Explorer 8
Released in March 2009, Internet Explorer 8 was an attempt by Microsoft to modernize its underlying browsing engine. Other features included support for creating small "Web clips" of a portion of a Web site as well as the use of "accelerators" to take action on a highlighted piece of text. A version of IE8 was also built in as part of Windows 7.

2011?: Internet Explorer 9
Internet Explorer 9 is the next major update to IE, adding improved HTML5 support, a faster JavaScript engine, and the ability to tap a PC's graphics chip to accelerate text and graphics. Microsoft has released several platform previews and a beta is planned for September. Microsoft has not said when the final release will come, but it is unlikely to be this year.

Source: Microsoft and CNET


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