Fellow surfers of web 2.0, we’re gathered here today to say goodbye to a browser that was loved and hated in equal measure.
Presumably, the browser will be sent to a farm upstate, where it can spend the rest of its days running security vulnerabilities and leaking all the memory it wants.
“If you’re a web developer working on a modern website or app, we know you’ve been waiting for this day for a long time,” Microsoft wrote in a blog last spring announcing the change. “Internet Explorer has increasingly been difficult to support side-by-side with modern browsers.”
The browser was birthed in 1995 and, to the great concern of rival Netscape Navigator, soon became an integral part of Microsoft’s Windows operating system. The package deal gave Microsoft a massive advantage as it sought to steal market share from its older, more established rival.
In 1997, with the Browser Wars in full swing, Microsoft engineers celebrated the launch of Internet Explorer 4.0 by sneaking a car-sized version of the program’s logo, a giant “e,” onto the front lawn of Netscape’s headquarters. Netscape retaliated by knocking over the structure and placing their mascot, a six-foot dinosaur named Mozilla, on top.
A Netscape spokesperson at the time told the San Francisco Chronicle they were surprised that the largest software company in the world would resort to “immature fraternity tactics.”
By 1999, thanks to its mandatory inclusion with Windows, Internet Explorer had 99% of the market ― and the attention of antitrust regulators around the world. A European commission ordered Microsoft to offer other web browser choices, later hitting the company with a fine of 561 million euros for failing to comply.
The internet has changed dramatically in the intervening years; arguably, much of that innovation stems from antitrust action that prevented Microsoft from wholly controlling its development.
Internet Explorer is survived by Microsoft Edge, a younger sibling born in 2015.