Microsoft offers tabbed browsing--in IE 6

Weeks after promising tabs in Internet Explorer 7, Redmond makes the feature available in a toolbar for the older version of the browser.

Weeks after promising tabs in its upcoming IE 7 release, Microsoft made the long-awaited browsing feature available for IE 6 through its MSN toolbar.

With the version of MSN Search Toolbar made available Wednesday, IE 6 gains the ability to open numerous Web pages within a single window, each selectable by a small tab at the top of the window.

The feature--long offered by IE competitors like Opera, Safari and Firefox, and by browser shells built to run on top of IE--is one of many that Web surfers have said they missed in the aging IE 6.

IE has not had a major feature upgrade in more than three years. Last month, Microsoft confirmed speculation that it would offer tabbed browsing in the upcoming IE 7.

Microsoft was not immediately available to comment on the new toolbar.

The MSN toolbar tabs for IE 6 were first reported by BetaNews.

Microsoft in November raised the possibility of updating IE 6's features through add-ons like the toolbar, though it disavowed any specific plans to do so.