Today, June 15, Wednesday, Microsoft will no longer be supporting Internet Explorer, the once-dominant web browser that legions of web surfers loved to hate and a few still claim to adore.
Internet Explorer’s demise was not a surprise. A year ago, Microsoft said it was ending Internet Explorer on June 15, 2022, pushing users to its Edge browser, which was launched in 2015.
The company made clear back then that it was time to move on.
“Not only is Microsoft Edge a faster, more secure, and more modern browsing experience than Internet Explorer, but it is also able to address a key concern: compatibility for older, legacy websites and applications,” Sean Lyndersay, general manager of Microsoft Edge Enterprise, wrote in a May 2021 blog post.
Users marked Explorer’s passing on Twitter, with some referring to it as “bug-ridden” or as the “top browser for installing other browsers.” For others, it was a moment for 90s nostalgia memes, while The Wall Street Journal quoted a 22-year-old who was sad to see IE go.
Microsoft released the first version of Internet Explorer in 1995, which marked a new era of web surfing by the masses, which was up until then dominated by the first widely popular browser, Netscape Navigator.
Its launch signaled the beginning of the end of Navigator: Microsoft went on to tie Internet Explorer and its own Windows operating system together so tightly that many people used it by default instead of Navigator. It made it virtually impossible to install Navigator on its systems.
The US Justice Department sued Microsoft in 1997, saying it violated an earlier consent decree by requiring computer makers to use its browser as a condition of using Windows.
It eventually agreed to settle the antitrust battle in 2002 over using its Windows monopoly to squash competitors. It also tangled with European regulators who said that tying Internet Explorer to Windows gave it an unfair advantage over rivals such as Mozilla’s Firefox and Opera.
Then came Google Chrome, a browser-based on the open-source Chromium browser. By its virtue of being a better and more robust web browser, Chrome did to Internet Explorer what Microsoft did to Navigator.
Users complained that Internet Explorer was slow, prone to crashing, and vulnerable to hacks. Internet Explorer’s market share in the early 2000s was over 90% but began to fade as users started looking for more appealing alternatives.
Today, the Chrome browser dominates the browser market with roughly a 65 percent share of the worldwide browser market, followed by Apple’s Safari with 19 percent, according to internet analytics company Statcounter. Microsoft’s heir, Edge, lags about 4 percent, just ahead of Firefox.