Microsoft set to unveil new IE

US software giant Microsoft is giving its Web browser software its first major upgrade in years, amid signs that Internet Explorer's market share is eroding, an Associated Press report said.

The report said the release brought Microsoft's browser more in line with competing products such as Opera Software ASA's Opera and Mozilla's Firefox.

Internet Explorer 7, or IE7, added features such as tabbed browsing, which allowed people to open several Web pages without cluttering their desktop with multiple open browser windows, the report said.

Microsoft has been heavily testing the new browser, releasing five beta versions over 14 months, and has periodically offered security updates for IE6, first released in 2001.

Still, a lag of more than five years between official releases had cost the company. Web analysis company WebSideStory estimated that Internet Explorer's US market share was about 86%, while Firefox commanded about 11% of the market, and smaller offerings accounted for the rest.

Two years ago, IE had about a 93% share, the report further said.