The end of Internet Explorer has been a long time coming

Internet Explorer is no more.

Wednesday, Microsoft (MSFT) has officially ended support for its OG web browser, Internet Explorer.

For many people, including me, Internet Explorer represents the dawn of the Web. This tiny Gatorade-colored logo is associated with my earliest memories of the internet, from the Neopets virtual pet website to that utterly terrifying maze game.

However, nostalgia aside, the demise of Internet Explorer has been in the works for years – the browser space has become considerably more competitive since the launch of Internet Explorer in 1995, the rise of Mozilla Firefox which started in 2002 at the open-source browser Brave which emerged in 2019.

Internet Explorer’s rise was rooted in competition, as was its fall. The browser wars, as they were called, saw Microsoft and Internet Explorer mired in an existential standoff with Netscape. Microsoft may have lost an antitrust case brought by the government, but in the markets, the company beat Netscape, because the company has been sold to AOL and the browser itself went below In 2008.

Bill Gates defends Microsoft’s decision to sell Windows98 with Internet Explorer. (Photo by Robert Sorbo/Sygma/Sygma via Getty Images)

“[Internet Explorer] was one of the first browsers to gain prominence because it was on all Windows machines,” Ari Lightman, professor of digital media and marketing at Carnegie Mellon University, told Yahoo Finance.

But with the launch of Firefox in 2002 and the success of other open source browsers, Microsoft began to fall behind.

“You have open source coming out and saying, ‘Hey, if you want to see how this is developed, great, we’ll show you,'” he said. don’t think Microsoft turned around fast enough.”

Justin Cappos, professor of computer science and engineering at New York University, agrees. Since Microsoft existed before open source was proven to be a viable business model, the company did not adapt quickly.

“They were slow to open source because piracy was a big deal and such a big deal for them,” he told Yahoo Finance. “I think early in their corporate culture, they equated open source with free and piracy, which was such a big deal in Windows.”

The launch of Google Chrome in 2008 marked the official beginning of the end for Internet Explorer as the shiny new cross-platform browser grew to dominate the market. Chrome is the result of a full-time press of researchers looking to improve web browsers for years to come. Microsoft’s new browser, Microsoft Edge, has also benefited from this research — the source code that’s in Chrome is also in Edge, according to Cappos.

“It is necessary,” he said. “Internet Explorer has to go. One of the hardest things about being successful is that you eventually have to steer users away from old technology… Since then, we’ve learned a lot about how to improve the architecture of browsers.

Most dead is slightly alive

There is an important nuance here. Internet Explorer, to quote Billy Crystal’s famous line in “The Princess Bride”, is “only nearly dead”. You see, the browser isn’t completely dying – it will live on Edge, where users can open sites that require Internet Explorer 11 in what’s called IE mode.

Microsoft has become heavily invested in Edge, which the company launched in 2015. The decision to focus exclusively on Edge has been a long time in coming and, in large part, it’s a security decision, Microsoft told Yahoo Finance. Internet Explorer simply wasn’t built to the same modern security and privacy standards as contemporary browsers, the company added in background conversations.

Miracle Max hangs over the death of Internet Explorer.  Image: Screenshot/YouTube

Miracle Max hangs over the death of Internet Explorer. Image: Screenshot/YouTube

“If there’s one thing I want to emphasize, it’s that even though [moving on from Internet Explorer] can seem intimidating and challenging for organizations, the key word is feel,” a Microsoft spokesperson said. “There are plenty of resources available to turn to and we are here because we have a promise to offer compatibility support at no cost. We want the switch to Microsoft Edge with IE mode to be seamless.

Internet Explorer has long been the preferred browser for hospitals and Health care entities, as well as other industries like manufacturing. So when creating Edge, Microsoft was keen to address issues that IT admins frequently encounter, from security to design optimization for businesses and everyday users, the company said. This view is consistent with Microsoft’s longstanding identity as a tech giant that focuses on business, Lightman said.

“Microsoft has always been very business-oriented, while Google has always been very consumer-oriented,” he told Yahoo Finance. “A lot of the time when you search for personal reasons, or sometimes for research purposes, all of that data is collected to determine consumer behavior patterns and that kind of stuff. Google uses all of that in a from an advertising perspective, but Microsoft’s business isn’t really about advertising, it’s more about selling software and hardware.”

So if you really need Internet Explorer, you can always visit it through Microsoft Edge.

“There’s a big difference between most deaths and all deaths,” Crystal’s Miracle Max said in “The Princess Bride.” “Most of the time dead is slightly alive.”

Allie Garfinkle is a senior technical reporter at Yahoo Finance. Find her on twitter @agarfinks.

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