Today, finally, Microsoft is officially stopping supporting Internet Explorer. Goodbye and goodbye to the most annoying web browser among them.
When I wrote the first story about this new thing called WEB in 1993, I knew it would be big. More than Bill Gates thought at the time. In the 1994 Comdex, Gates stated, “I see very little commercial potential for the Internet for the next 10 years.”
Oh well, he finally got it right. But neither he nor Microsoft released the first web browser. Get away from it!
The first popular graphical web browser came from the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. It was called mosaic. It was created by Mark Andreessen and Eric Bina, but although everyone remembers it, it was not the first graphical web browser. This honor goes to ViolaWWW, a Unix browser, when Cello was the first Windows graphical web browser.
Mosaic, however, is the first browser to enable you to view images between pages. It was a game-changer. Previous browsers could only display images as separate files. It was no competition: Mosaic won the first and foremost browser battle.
One day late and one dollar short
By 1995, Gates had realized that Microsoft needed something to offer to all users who desperately wanted a web browser. In May 1995, Gates began to say, “The Internet is the most important single development since IBM PC was launched in 1981” and likened it to a tidal wave.
A tidal wave or not, Microsoft was not ready yet. The quick fix was to adopt Spieglass, a commercial version of the successful Mosaic web browser. This was the basis of Internet Explorer (IE) 1, which debuted in August 1995 as part of Microsoft Plus for Windows 95, a Windows software add-on package.
IE 1 was a flop. It also made bad blood with Spieglass, which promised a percentage of Microsoft’s profits from IE. But Microsoft has started bundling IE with Windows – and so to no avail. Microsoft will finally settle with Spyglass in 1997 for 8 million.
This Spyglass / Mosaic codebase will remain part of IE until IE7 is released. The “About” window from IE1 to IE6 contains the text “Distributed under license agreement with Spyglass, Inc.” There are claims that Microsoft has invented with IE. That did not happen.
At the same time, Andreessen took the mosaic code and turned it into the first widely successful web browser, Netscape. Andresen boasted that Netscape would “reduce Windows to a set of poorly debugged device drivers.”
Netscape in its spectacular
Microsoft has taken the threat seriously. Netscape CEO James Berksdale later testified that at a June 1995 meeting, Microsoft proposed that the two companies split the browser market, with Internet Explorer being the only Windows browser. If Netscape does not comply, Microsoft will crush it.
“I’ve never been to a meeting in my 33-year business where a competitor said so explicitly that we should either stop competing with it or the competitor would kill us,” Microsoft said during a 2001 no-confidence motion against the Berksdale department.
But long after Netscape became history, we’re just saying goodbye to IE today, which is that Microsoft has used its illegal PC / Windows monopoly to block Netscape from computers. Microsoft’s powerful armed PC vendors have installed new operating systems and browsers on all their PCs. The goal of killing other PC operating system vendors was not so much; There was no real OS competition in the mid-90s. The goal was to destroy Netscape.
The court agreed. DJ won its lawsuit against Microsoft because the company’s PC exclusive Netscape made it impossible for it to compete with IE. Unfortunately, the government has slapped Microsoft on the wrist instead of splitting it into separate companies or making its code open-source. And Netscape died, just as Microsoft threatened again in 1995.
So it was that many of you grew up with IE as a browser that you knew and loved. You don’t know better.
Not with a bang but with a whimper
Microsoft has stopped innovating with IE, especially since the release of IE6 with Windows XP in 2001. Why bother? Users weren’t going anywhere. They had no real alternative. Until the mid-2000s, IE’s market share continued to exceed 90%.
But in the end, Firefox, starting with Netscape’s old code, became an effective alternative in 2005. The real consequences of IE began, however, when Google decided in 2008 to build a modern, fast, and efficient web browser, Chrome.
Microsoft never caught on. Today, Microsoft’s modern browser, Edge, is based on Chromium, Chrome’s open-source code base. In fact, with the exception of Firefox, all current major Windows web browsers are based on Chromium. Edge offers a feature called IE Mode, which uses the Chromium engine for modern websites and the Trident MSHTML engine from IE11 for legacy sites built to work with Internet Explorer.
IE itself? Left to die of negligence. Despite the fact that people are still using IE, may God help them! The US Federal Government’s Digital Analytics Program (DAP) shows an average of 300,000 IE site visits to government sites in the last 7 days.
Although support for IE11 in Windows 10 expires on June 15, Microsoft isn’t just killing it directly. No, the IE11 Desktop Client will hang on Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 (and even Windows 10 Enterprise, version 20H2), with enhanced security updates.
Also, IE mode on Microsoft Edge will still be supported until at least 2029. So, yes, those unfortunate IE-only websites and apps have been around for years now. That means you don’t want to uninstall IE yourself. Edge will still use that functionality when it runs on an ancient website. Microsoft also said that IE desktop applications will be gradually redirected to Microsoft Edge.
When will IE actually be buried? We do not know. Microsoft is not saying. Someday, though, you’ll get a Windows update that deletes IE once and for all.
I can’t wait!
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