Internet Explorer was replaced years ago, but the company could not completely part with it. Now he is officially retired. It’s a symbol of Microsoft’s lost battle for the web.
It is one of the last relics from an era in which Microsoft ruled the Internet: Internet Explorer was hated by many users with passion, but nobody could get past it completely. Even Microsoft did not manage to make it disappear completely in the moth box for years. But that is now changing: IE has finally received an expiry date.
The time has come on June 15th next year. Anyone who does not then use one of the long-supported corporate versions of Windows can no longer use Internet Explorer, the group just announced in a blog post. The end comes harder than expected: IE then not only receives no more updates. Instead, the browser is completely deactivated and redirects to its successor, Edge, when it is opened. The era of Internet Explorer is finally over.
If it had been up to Microsoft, that would have been the case much earlier. When the group released its current Windows 10 system in the summer of 2015, it contained a newer, heavily redesigned browser called Edge. After the rather mixed past years of Internet Explorer, the group wanted to wipe the table clean and take on the new top dog Google Chrome with a more modern program.
But Edge never got going. Instead of gaining market share with the new browser, they just kept going down. It took Edge four long years to overtake Internet Explorer among users, and it wasn’t until August 2019. And there, too, it wasn’t because of the success of the new browser. But because of the fact that the IE was lubricated more and more: Both were only just over two percent market share. Since then, Edge has only grown at the expense of IE. Together they make up just under 4 percent of Internet users; if you look at desktop computers alone, it is at least 10 percent.
A browser to rule them
That would have been unthinkable for Microsoft a few years ago. In 2009 Internet Explorer, introduced in 1995, appeared to be almost invincible. Almost two thirds of Internet users accessed the Internet via the pre-installed program, almost three times as many as Mozilla Firefox, which came in second. But then came the ever faster descent. And the end of Microsoft’s rule over the Internet.
That was noticeably shaped by the group. More than it looked. When Microsoft introduced the browser in 1995, the network was still in its infancy. Unlike Netscape Navigator, the only competitor worth mentioning at the time, Internet Explorer did not have to be installed separately. Most of the new users began to see the net through Microsoft’s glasses for the first time, at the height of the market share in 2003 was 95 percent.
The company took advantage of this mercilessly. If a website wanted to be displayed correctly, it had to submit to the somewhat crude standards of Internet Explorer. This made the development of competitors much more difficult. Because many sites pointed out that they only work correctly in IE, many users preferred to forego switching to slowly emerging alternatives such as Mozilla Firefox or Opera.
Sleep through the change
Still, Microsoft was slowly losing ground. The competitors were faster and scored points with smart additional functions. In addition, version 7 of Internet Explorer became a real image problem: just as the dangers on the Internet increased, it looked like a piece of Swiss cheese with its countless security gaps. He was also slower than the competition.
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Above all, Microsoft almost completely slept through the next level of the Internet: Microsoft’s missed the era of the smartphone, even founder Bill Gates had already described as his greatest failure. Because with the rise of the iPhone and Android came new browsers. And those who were used to Google Chrome or Safari rarely wanted to use IE.
Crash into insignificance
This can also be observed in the usage figures. Just three years after the market launch in summer 2007, IE fell below 50 percent market share for the first time in autumn 2010, while Chrome was only slowly gaining momentum. Another 18 months later, the two met at just under 30 percent – and the end of Microsoft’s hegemony was sealed. Today around two thirds of Internet users worldwide use the Google browser.
Since the end of last year, Microsoft has officially handed over the crown of the browser king to the competitor: The latest version of Edge runs on the basis of Chromium – the engine of the Chrome browser. It has become so standard that even the last ghost of Internet Explorer, Edge’s Explorer mode, is now based on it. You can hardly lose a competition more clearly.