Internet Explorer (IE), is one of the oldest browsers and was at one time among the most dominant on the internet. The Microsoft offering is retiring after 27 years as the company is now pushing its newer, more efficient browser – Edge. IE, which became the butt of jokes in recent times, was nonetheless widely used before people gradually began shifting to more efficient alternatives like Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. Here’s a look at the Internet Explorer’s journey through the years.
The Internet Explorer made its debut in 1995, as part of Windows 95, and was quickly pitted against the dominant browsers of the day – Netscape and Navigator. The Microsoft browser ended up seizing the top spot.
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Its popularity, and Microsoft’s investment, continued through the 1990s with reports noting that the company spent over $100 million per year on Internet Explorer in the late 1990s and over 1,000 people were involved in the project by 1999.
The browser’s peak came in 2002 and 2003 when it had 95% shares. However, this began dwindling with the arrival of Firefox in 2004 and Chrome in 2008. The switch to mobile phones over desktops and laptops for browsing, also ate into IE’s popularity, since the browser wasn’t compatible with phones.
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Explorer saw very few updates since then, and at the time of retirement, accounts for around 0.38% usage share, as per Outlook.
The browser’s market share fell below 50% in 2010, and in May 2012, Chrome overtook IE to become the most used browser. Microsoft attempted a rebranding during this time. ‘The Browser You Loved to Hate’ campaign indulged in self-mockery, accepting that IE was the browser people used to download other browsers. However, the damage was done and revival was difficult. The Windows phones that failed to take on Android and iOS also didn’t do any favours to popularize IE as a browser among mobile users.
Now, full support for IE is being discontinued as of June 15, 2022, and only the IE mode will continue on Edge, which can be used for legacy sites.