Dead the king, long live…?  

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June 15, looking back at archival events, is quite an interesting day in the history of the world. This year, the date had a special significance for the IT world, as support for Internet Explorer ended.   

Who among us hasn’t made a joke, hiding the browser icon on the desktop only to hear later “it’s broken – I don’t have Internet, call the provider!”.   

How many of you have called someone Internet Explorer just because he was doing something slow?   

However, one thing is indisputable – want it or not, Internet Explorer was the king. The ruler of browsers, to which we always returned in times of need.   

Chrome won’t let you view a page classified as unsafe? Rest assured, IE will even open that door.   

Firefox doesn’t support a tool that worked in an earlier version of a particular program? IE says “hold my beer”. 

Each of us has launched IE at least once only to download another browser.   

Unfortunately, the creator of Internet Explorer – Microsoft – has decided to end support for this browser, betting on the Edge version, which has been in development since 2015. Launching IE, we are redirected to Microsoft Edge, where (fortunately) there is information about an important feature. What is it? If necessary, we can still launch problematic pages thanks to a feature that allows us to load a page in IE mode. Many users were heartbroken. Many services are still running on the MSHTML engine, despite the fact that Microsoft has long announced the phasing out of IE (hence the introduction of such a mode to MS Edge).  

Internet Explorer, based on the Mosaic source code, the most popular graphical browser, came out in 1995 as one of the components of the Microsoft Plus! After a few months, it was published as one of the core software of Windows 95. The beginnings were not easy, as the most popular browser on the market was the previously released NetScape Navigator.  

The following years saw the introduction of additional features that allowed Internet Explorer to slowly chase the leader. 1998 proved to be the key year. The introduction of Windows 98 with IE as the main browser was a critical blow to Netscape. Neither the rewriting of Netscape’s browser nor the lawsuit pointed at Microsoft by the U.S. Department of Justice for its monopoly practice (the main charge was implementing a default browser into the system) caused users to move away from our hero. What’s more, Microsoft’s browser not only came close to its competitors, but also significantly overtook them. At the end of the year, market share was 68% to 33% for IE.   

For the next 14 years, Internet Explorer was the undisputed leader. The appearance of other browsers did little to change the hierarchy. In 2008, when Google Chrome was introduced, there was no indication of the slow-moving decline that was coming. By adopting the use of browsers not only on computers, but also on mobile devices, Googel’s product was becoming a bigger and bigger player in the market.   

By early 2012, the former hegemon had fallen below 50% in share. However, no one expected that already at the end of the same year Google Chrome would not only overtake Firefox, but also dethrone Internet Explorer! Many had predicted the doom of the world, as the Mayan calendar was ending at that time, meanwhile, the real apocalypse befell Internet Explorer in particular. At the beginning of 2013, the market share was as follows:  

– Chrome 40%  

– IE 30%  

– Firefox 22%  

– Safari 5%  

The appearance of the final (11) version of Internet Explorer did not change anything. Thanks mainly to smartphones, Chrome was the most popular browser used not only on mobile devices, but also on computers. The world was changing, and Chrome like Microsoft once did took over the browser market by inserting its software on Android devices.   

Microsoft is still fighting for as much market share as possible. The introduction of a successor (Microsoft Edge), the change to Chromium, however, does little. Yes, it may come as a surprise to some that Edge is more popular than Firefox, among others, but these are still not knock-down figures. At the end of May 2022, the share looked as follows:  

– Google Chrome – 65%  

– Safari – 19%  

– Microsoft Edge – 4%  

– Mozilla Firefox – 3%  

Internet Explorer was in the 9th position with a 0.6% share.   

14 years of being the market leader, for most of us the first and best (until) browser. Maybe it’s sentiment, but I think it’s really important to appreciate and pay tribute to the departed Internet Explorer.  

This post is also available in: Polski (Polish)