These 10 applications best represent the top trends in downloading over the past decade.

When CNET opened its doors in 1996, it was home to 3,000 small shareware and freeware applications. Online software distribution was still in its infancy. What a difference a near-decade makes! Since 1996, we’ve watched the rise of instant messaging, digital audio and the MP3 format, file sharing, spyware and antispyware, and the open-source movement, just to name a few. And we’ve watched as online software distribution has gone from pipe dream to reality.

!.) ICQ

2.) Winamp

3.) Napster

4.) Firefox

5.) Winzip

6.) iTunes

7.) Adware

8.) Skype

9.) RealPlayer

10.) Adobe Acrobat Reader

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