Microsoft officially retired its first browser, Internet Explorer, after nearly 30 years, and it couldn’t have come sooner.
If you were around in the late 90’s you wouldn’t have been able to avoid the ‘e’ icon that was on every Windows 95 machine. Some would just call it ‘internet’ instead of its name as for most users , was the only web browser available.
While Opera also arrived in 1995 (opens in new tab) as a project and not the web browser we see today, it was the Microsoft browser that took the world by storm, mainly due to the fact that it was pre-installed on millions of PCs.
However, we are in an age where you can choose from a variety of web browsers, from Opera to Firefox, all with their own features and interfaces. But Internet Explorer started something that continues to this day, and for that, let’s see what it got right and wrong.
he inspired tabs
When the millennium began, Internet Explorer 6 (opens in new tab) was gearing up for release, but it wasn’t until 2006 that version seven arrived with tabs.
The internet had outgrown the dot-com bubble of the late 1990s, and instead users were going to websites for news, chatting with others on forums about their interests, and online shopping was becoming the norm. .
However, this also meant that a collection of Internet Explorer windows would be on the taskbar, with no way to organize them.
that’s when Firefox arrived in 2004 (opens in new tab), touting tabs as a way to keep multiple windows in one. Nowadays it’s a common feature, but in 2000, you had to manage many windows before crashing due to using up all your PC’s memory.
Privacy has become a right, not an amenity
Pop-ups, banners, Napster, dial-up – all flashbacks to a simpler, slower internet age. But there was also a lot of irritation as it was usually up to third-party security software to enable a pop-up blocker and firewall to protect your PC from any hackers.
When Windows XP Service Pack 2 arrived to overhaul the operating system’s security in 2004, Internet Explorer also received some features, such as a built-in pop-up blocker and more.
Over the years, other browsers have ensured that privacy is as important a feature as tabs, multiple downloads, and more. Internet Explorer paved the way for its successor, Microsoft Edge, to work with it, just as Opera, Firefox and Safari had for years.
Moving on to the next g(edge)neration
That’s why we said goodbye to Internet Explorer and finally allowed Microsoft Edge to be the company’s only browser.
Sometimes with apps, there comes a point where a starting over approach is better than improving on a decades-old foundation, which is where Edge comes in. While not as popular as Internet Explorer, with Google Chrome currently leading the web browser market share, Edge is focused on privacy and features for the modern age.
Microsoft sees its apps as services now – from Xbox, Edge and even Windows. She wants her products to be on as many devices as possible, giving the user choice. It’s a far cry from the Microsoft of the 1990s where you had to be on a Windows PC to browse a worldwide network that primarily supported Internet Explorer to view images and web pages properly.
Fortunately, times have changed and the internet has morphed into something entirely different in the last 30 years.
Cheers to the other 30, with healthy competition between browsers and remembering what Microsoft started in 1995.
Goodbye, Internet Explorer.