July 31, 2007 11:49 AM PDT

CompTIA: IE voted 'most influential' tech product

The most influential technology product of the past 25 years is Microsoft's oft-derided Web browser, Internet Explorer, 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 that certifies IT professionals and that 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 IE version 5 was released in 1999, it had become the world's most popular browser. It still holds that position today, though 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, tied for 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 that allegedly favored 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 $357 million 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 that made the top 10 include (in order from sixth to 10th): the BlackBerry, Photoshop, McAfee VirusScan, Netscape Navigator and the PalmPilot.

David Meyer of ZDNet UK reported from London.

See more CNET content tagged:
CompTIA, IT professional, survey, open-source software, Netscape Communications Corp.


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Do you disagree?
You make it seem like a Microsoft conspiracy. Do you have anything else that might be on that list above IE? Only thing I can think of MIGHT be AOL. Just because a product isn't the best anymore doesn't mean it was not very influential in the past. I would say AOL is definatly more important in computer history than the iPod.
Posted by spiffy1001 (53 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Tech, not Comp
This is about the most influential technology products, not
computer history makers. Otherwise (hopefully) the list would be
much different.

I do disagree with the fact that "CompTIA's survey was completed
by 471 IT professionals..." who decided that they get to decide?
but, who said we have to agree..
Posted by drumby04 (19 comments )
Link Flag
Absolutely I disagree
Netscape was on the scene way before IE ever was. Micro$oft was playing catch-up (no surprise there) when they introduced IE. If any browser is should be "most influential" it should be Netscape as that is what influenced IE.
Posted by whargoul (52 comments )
Link Flag
Well, here's my list:
...and this time, let's not stop at 1999 like CompTIA did:

- Eudora (email)
- Netscape Navigator (where IE got _all_ of its influences - Navigator also included email and NNTP/USENET access as well, while IE did not).
- Novell NetWare (which brought Small-Biz networking into the picture)
- Doom (which brought gaming to networks)
- FreeBSD and Linux (which most early ISPs used as servers)
- The Palm Pilot
- Word Perfect, which was the de-facto standard for businesses for a long time
- Lotus (Notes and 1-2-3) for lots of reasons.

...after that, perhaps I would put MS Powerpoint.

Sorry, but it isn't a MSFT conspiracy or anything (pro or con), it's that MSFT was late to the game and ran at the lowest common denominator, with very few influences beyond its UI.

Posted by Penguinisto (5042 comments )
Link Flag
As a matter of fact - I do disagree
The article mentions the most influential technology which the voters obviously paid no attention to. If they hadn't then my choice for most influential "technology" would be the "HyperText Markup Language" or HTML. However the thing that made it the most influential wasn't so much the language itself but the fact that it was free/open and anybody could develop using it. it became the de-facto standard because so many people began using it.
Posted by clumpkin (46 comments )
Link Flag
If by influential you mean...
most disruptive, then you may have something.

Let us glorify Microsoft's attempt to destroy a competitor
Netscape by bundling it's third rate browser.
And now that they've reached version 7, IE can finally view
standards compliant web sites. All those years of trying to
pollute standards and half-support the rest.
Yes, congratulations MS, you stalled the development of the real
internet for at least 7-8 years. Bravo.
Posted by catbutt5 (91 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I don't know. It all sounds a little suspicious to me. I might be a little more willing to accept it if it hadn't be done by a group that is obviously very pro Microsoft and very anti Open Source.

With that said though I would at the very least agree with Windows 95. Crap it might have been, but it did change the face of desktop computing. I have trouble with IE though.
Posted by System Tyrant (1453 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I hate to agree, but....
They're right.

IE brought a browser to the masses that was relatively easy to use, and allowed millions to go online. Word took the act of word processing and simplified it greatly, allowing error correction, different fonts, formats, pictures and more to be integrated onto a document. Windows 95 was a great OS for the time that did change to computing landscape, Excel saved time and money for businesses with its spreadsheets. The iPod gave the average consumer any easy-to-use, no frills music player with plenty of space and effectively started the MP3 player era.

Is IE the best browser any more? No. Has its ability to read standards-compliant pages been great as well? No. There are flaws in every product on the list, from Win95 to the iPod, but that doesn't change the fact that they changed the face of the tech industry.
Posted by ~Canuck~ (71 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Here's what you do
Take all of Microsoft's products off this list and bundle them into
one package and place it back as a technology business model.
Posted by drumby04 (19 comments )
Link Flag
"IE brought a browser to the masses that was relatively easy to use, and allowed millions to go online."

I disagree with this statement. IE didn't do that. Cheaper and more available Internet service did that. Netscape was easy to use, but it didn't come preinstalled on Windows.

Personally, IE's biggest influence on the web was it allowed for the creation of horribly coded websites and sites dedicated to IE only. Which completely destroys the idea that the web is a place agnostic to browsers or operating systems. IE, in my opinion, has done more damage than good. So it's influence has been a bad one.
Posted by System Tyrant (1453 comments )
Link Flag
Who cares? Who is CompTIA? A group that no one has heard of, wow, I'm dazzled and impressed.

And technically it was the Netscape product that launched the web browser revolution (actually it was Mosaic first, but I'm not sure that counts as a product). So they can have their mutual lovefest... but I doubt many of us in the real world care what CompTIA thinks.
Posted by R. U. Sirius (745 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Foggy lines
There were 2 keys to this story. One it was the vote for the most influential "PRODUCT." The second key was the vote was by COMPTIA (Computing Technology Industry Association). This is a trade group of people who benefit from the creation, implimentation, and sale of technology products. These aren't scientists and visionaries, just middle men making bucks off products.

Most of us geeks would not claim IE is the most influential technological achievement. But for the opportunist service drones who make up the compTIA its a platform to leverage for dollars.

The only hair I have to split is that IE is arguably not a product as it is "free" as part of Windows.

If I had to vote for the most influential technology, I'd probably vote for an Internet search engine. Presentation is great, but content is king. However content is useless if you cant find it.
Posted by bwvla (166 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Influential Good
My subject says it all. Hitler was extremely influential after all...
Posted by MadKiwi (153 comments )
Reply Link Flag
what marketing snivel
"The survey was carried out by the Computing Technology
Industry Association (CompTIA), a 25-year-old trade body that
certifies IT professionals and that is funded by major vendors,
including Microsoft."

So this "survey" was done by a company that was funded my M$
and the "news" is that they found M$ products to be "most

Gimme a minute to stop laughing here ...

I didn't bother to read the rest of the article. What's the point?
There is no objectivity and no facts in this, it's just another M$
commercial wrapped up to look like it's not a commercial.

Besides, as has been mentioned by a few others, IE is the plague
of the internet, birthed for no other reason than to take down
Netscape. It's only now trying to be standards complient, 8 years
after the fact. It has spawned multiple "IE only" websites, despite
the fact that the web is supposed to be system agnostic. It's
security can easily be compared to the protection you get from
swiss cheese and alongside of M$ office, it has spread more
diseases (viri, trojans, worms and the like) than any other
organism on the earth (possibly including other planets as well).

Bottom line - IE is pure junk, enjoyed by slaves who know
nothing and like being ignorant. Some sponsored group
claiming otherwise doesn't make it so.

I can tell you the sky is green all I want, but it doesn't make it
so. Does it?
Posted by Dalkorian (3000 comments )
Reply Link Flag
IE is a very useful tool for those who choose to use a Microsoft OS.
IE is quite useful for people who use Windows. It lets them download Firefox or Opera.
Posted by ralfthedog (1589 comments )
Reply Link Flag
People deriding IE are missing the point
IE has influenced a generation of virus and worm writers and have made companies like Symantec rich. If not for IE and ActiveX, the internet would be a much safer place. Who wants that?

If that isn't influence, then what it?
Posted by The_Decider (3097 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Am I missing something?
The number of people in the survey was 471? Some high school
student could have accomplished practically the same thing by
polling the students at their school. Granted they would not have
been "IT Professionals." This was a **** poor survey and not much
better of an article for burying a key fact such as only 471
Posted by TheMusicMan12 (10 comments )
Reply Link Flag

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