IE most influential tech product in last 25 years?

Despite the ubiquity of the iPod, Microsoft's Internet Explorer is the 'most influential' tech product of the past 25 years, according to a survey of IT professionals.

Despite the ubiquity of the iPod, Microsoft's Internet Explorer is the 'most influential' tech product of the past 25 years, according to a survey of IT professionals.

The survey was carried out by the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), a 25-year-old trade body which certifies IT professionals and is funded by major vendors, including Microsoft. Out of the top five products in the poll, only one -- the iPod -- is not a Microsoft product.

Internet Explorer, which garnered two-thirds of the vote, was launched in 1995. Originally based on the little-known Spyglass Mosaic browser, its main competitor at the time was Netscape. By the time Internet Explorer version 5 was released in 1999, it had become the world's most popular browser.

It still holds that position today, although it is facing steadily increasing competition from the open-source browser Firefox, seen by many as a more stable and secure product.

Second place in the poll went to Microsoft Word, selected by 56 percent of respondents. Windows 95 was third (50 percent), followed by Microsoft Excel and Apple's iPod in joint fourth place (49 percent). Respondents were able to vote for multiple technologies.

Microsoft and CompTIA have traditionally been closely aligned, particularly in the fight against open-source software -- both are key members of the Initiative for Software Choice, which frequently takes an anti-open-source stance

Earlier this year, CompTIA threw its weight behind Microsoft in Redmond's fight against an EU report which allegedly favoured open-source software. On another occasion, when the European Commission fined Microsoft last year for not sharing or licensing protocol information with its rivals, CompTIA called the US$357m fine "arbitrary and capricious".

CompTIA's survey was completed by 471 IT professionals and was carried out in May and June of this year. Other products which made the top 10 include (in order from sixth to tenth): the BlackBerry, Photoshop, McAfee VirusScan, Netscape Navigator and the PalmPilot.

David Meyer reported for ZDNet UK from London

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