Happy Birthday Internet Explorer!
A year is a long time
in technology. Although it feels like it’s been around forever, Facebook
is just six years old. YouTube is even younger, having turned five in
February. So we can be forgiven for thinking that Internet Explorer
must be a fully paid-up member of AARP by now. Surely we started using
Microsoft’s flagship browser right around the time Regan left office?
quite. Internet Explorer officially turned 15 on Monday – old by
technology standards but young enough to be able to keep pace with a
constant stream of Web-driven innovation.
The first version of IE
appeared in August 1995, a month after Microsoft released Windows 95.
(By the way, Bill Clinton was just half way through his first term!) At
first, the browser was not part of the operating system. Microsoft would
later spend years in court and millions of dollars in legal fees trying
to bundle IE with Windows against a non-stop barrage of antitrust
But first, Microsoft had to battle Netscape, another
stand-alone browser. Through sheer persistence, an overwhelming
advantage in R&D spend – and more than a helping hand from computer
and notebook manufacturers – Microsoft eventually saw off its major
competitor and IE enjoyed years of dominance, as Web-based computing
grew in importance at work and at home.
More recently, IE has
endured a second phase of “browser wars”, this time against much better
funded opposition. Although it still retains over 60 percent market
share, it has ceded ground to Mozilla’s Firefox (23 percent), Google’s
Chrome (7 percent) and Apple’s Safari (5 percent). IE is now firmly
embedded into Windows and is part of Microsoft’s continuing bet on the
future relevance of the PC.
Of course, it’s unlike Microsoft to rest on its laurels. Although Internet Explorer 8
is less than 18 months old, a new release is expected in beta version
later this year, with a final release date sometime in 2011.
Improvements are expected to include better handling of text and
graphics and updated tools to handle the overwhelming amount of
Whatever the future, Internet Explorer has
demonstrated tremendous staying power. We suspect that the computing
landscape and the Web will look very different in another 15 years, but
don’t bet against Explorer still being around to help show us the way!
Comment by Cassandra_IE_Team, posted 8/17/2010, 11:39 AM:
Thanks for recognizing Internet Explorer's 15th Birthday! And, yes, 15 is a long time by technology standards :)
The beta release of IE9 that you mentioned is set to go live on September 15, 2010. For updated information about the beta, be sure to follow us at www.twitter.com/IE.
IE Outreach Team