Initially released back in 1995, Internet Explorer was, for many people, their first gateway into the online world. – This was, of course, back in the day where having a browser wasn’t a particularly common thing. If you didn’t have an internet connection, after all, you clearly didn’t need a program to access it. – More so the fact that, in something that may surprise many of you, although introduced in 1995, Internet Explorer wasn’t actually a packaged part of the original Windows 95 operating system. (It was later applied in the revised release and as part of the ‘Plus!’ expansion pack).
With this in mind, therefore, Internet Explorer did initially struggle to capture the market. Its chief competitor, Netscape Navigator, generally leapt ahead as the first big browser of the emerging internet world. Admittedly though, this was largely thanks to the fact that it was the browser predominantly (if not exclusively) bundled in with those masses of AOL CD-ROMs their marketing team gave out like candy!
Internet Explorer – Slow Start to Dominant Success!
With it becoming a standard and integrated part of Windows 98, however, and especially so with more homes buying PCs and gaining online access, Internet Explorer exploded and by 2003 (just 2 years after the launch of Windows XP), it had a collosally huge 93% market share.
Things were going great, and at the time there was very little sign of anything coming along to even mildly offer some kind of comparison, let alone competition.
Following the release of Google Chrome back in 2008, however, Internet Explorer had a huge problem. – Put simply, while fresh and innovative competition had popped up, IE had… Well… Stagnated. There was honestly very little new about it and many people decided to see what all this ‘Google’ fuss was about. And when they made the move, very few ever decided to come back!
Edge Comes In – And Doesn’t Do Well!
By 2015, Microsoft was very much aware that Internet Explorer had hit its limitations. As such, following the release of Edge, they hoped that not only would their current users make the transition, but also (all going well) that those who had previously moved to Google Chrome might have seen it as a fresher and fancier alterantive. – There was, however, one major problem. Edge wasn’t that great. Well, actually, that’s not entirely true. It would be more accurate to say that unlike what Google had done 7 years earlier, Edge didn’t offer consumers anything overly new or innovative.
While Edge was a lot less RAM hungry than Chrome, in terms of comparative speeds, it ran like molasses. – While the subsequent release of their new Chromium Edge in 2020 certainly helped get things back on track, however, the writing was undoubtedly on the wall for Internet Explorer and last year Microsoft officially confirmed that it was in its ‘end of life’.
RIP Internet Explorer – You (Mostly) Served Us Well!
So, as given away in the title, today is the day that, in terms of support from Microsoft, Internet Explorer is officially retired. It is dead, expired, gone to see the choir invisible, slipped from this mortal coil, if it wasn’t built into Windows 95 and XP it would be pushing up the daisies. It is, an ex-browser! – Well, unless Microsoft decides to give it an exceptionally late reprieve!
Now, of course, Internet Explorer will still work. They key factor in this date, however, is that security updates will no longer be provided for the browser. In other words, it’s a wild internet and if you plan to see using it, well, you’re on your own from this point on! – On the plus side though, a recent update to Edge does provide IE legacy support, so it’s dead, it’s certainly not gone.
More than anything though, while times and trends move on, it’s always a little bit sad when we see once huge parts of the internet eventually die. RIP Internet Explorer. While you won’t be missed, we thank you for your work during the dial-up years!