SAN FRANCISCO — Internet Explorer is finally heading to the pasture.
Starting Wednesday, Microsoft will no longer support the once-dominant browser that legions of internet users loved to hate — and a few still claim to love. The 27-year-old app now joins BlackBerry phones, dial-up modems and Palm drivers in the dustbin of tech history.
IE’s demise was no surprise. A year ago, Microsoft announced that it would end Internet Explorer on June 15, 2022, pushing users to its Edge browser, launched in 2015.
The company has made it clear that it’s time to move on.
“Not only does Microsoft Edge provide a faster, more secure, and more modern browsing experience than Internet Explorer, it’s also able to address a key concern: compatibility with older legacy websites and apps,” Sean Lyndersay, general manager of Microsoft Edge Enterprise, wrote in a May 2021 blog post.
Users marked Explorer dead on Twitter, with some calling it an “unstable and insecure outlet” or “the best browser to install other browsers.” For others, it was a time for nostalgic 90s 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, the antediluvian era of web browsing dominated by the first ever popular browser, Netscape Navigator. Its launch marked the beginning of the end for Navigator: Microsoft then tied IE and its ubiquitous Windows operating system so tightly that many people simply used it as the default instead of Navigator.
The Justice Department sued Microsoft in 1997, claiming it violated an earlier consent decree by requiring computer makers to use its browser as a condition of using Windows. It finally agreed to settle the antitrust battle in 2002 over its use of its Windows monopoly to crush competitors. It has also tangled with European regulators who said tying Internet Explorer to Windows gave it an unfair advantage over rivals such as Mozilla’s Firefox, Opera and Google’s Chrome.
Users, meanwhile, complained that IE was slow, prone to crashing, and vulnerable to hacks. IE’s market share, which in the early 2000s was over 90%, began to fade as users found more attractive alternatives.
Today, the Chrome browser dominates with around 65% of the global browser market, followed by Apple’s Safari with 19%, according to internet analytics firm Statcounter. IE’s heir, Edge, lags around 4%, just ahead of Firefox.
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