AFTER five years of frustration, the 600m of us around the world who, out of sheer laziness, ignorance or corporate decree, find ourselves dependent upon Internet Explorer―the Microsoft web browser that comes pre-installed on every Windows-based computer―have finally been granted some relief. Has the wait been worth it? No, but we’ll take what we can get.

No question that the latest version of Internet Explorer (IE7), released a couple of weeks ago, closes many of the security holes that continued to plague its predecessor, IE6, despite Microsoft’s countless attempts to remedy matters. It also has a snazzy new appearance that previews the look and feel of Vista, Microsoft’s forthcoming replacement for its creaky Windows XP operating system. Better still, for us long-suffering supporters, IE7 includes a number of nifty new features, such as tabbed browsing, integrated searching and support for news feeds, that users of alternatives including Apple’s Safari, the Mozilla organisation’s Firefox and the brilliant little Opera browser from Norway have long taken for granted.

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