The Death of Microsoft Internet Explorer 11 - June 15th 2022


Picture of Internet Explorer version page

At last the day has come, Microsoft has announced the end of the road for Internet Explorer.  In many ways its bittersweet for the venerable browser that has been synonymous with the Windows operating system for 25 years. At one point Internet Explorer had a whopping 95% of the browser market share in 2006. The history of Internet Explorer is a storied one. The first version of the browser was released in August of 1995 alongside the upgrade to Windows 3.1x dubbed Windows 95. The early versions of the browser were buggy, and it was unable to compete with Netscape Navigator that released in 1994 and had captured most of the broad browser market at the time.

Internet Explorer 1.0 running on Windows 95 circa 1995

Picture of Yahoo Homepage 1990's in Internet Explorer

Internet Explorer 2.0 was released in November of the same year as a small incremental update, but was still lagged behind its competitor Netscape Navigator. 

It wasn't until Internet Explorer 3.0 was released in August of 1996 that it began to seriously compete with Netscape Navigator. Internet Explorer 3.0 brought Windows Mail & Newsgroups, Javascript support via JScript, Frames support, and NPAPI support via ActiveX technology. 

Internet Explorer 3.0 Circa 1996

Picture of Internet Explorer 3.0

The release of Internet Explorer 4.0 in October 1997 is what really started the browser wars between it and Netscape Corporation. This war was fierce right from the start. The distribution methods of Internet Explorer became part of the historic anti-trust suit United States v Microsoft that made national headlines! Internet Explorer 4.0 came with new technologies such as Active Desktop, Windows Desktop Update, Outlook Express mail, Front Page Express, and Netmeeting. All these features competed directly with Netscape's Internet Application Suite.

From Internet Explorer version 4 to version 6 saw incremental upgrades to the browser to better suit its user base and better compete with Netscape. Microsoft eventually won the "Browser Wars" as the results of the Microsoft Anti-Trust trial came too late for Netscape who by that point had lost most of the browser market and eventually declared bankruptcy, and released its source code to the community.

Things were looking good for Microsoft and its browser. They had beaten their fierce competitor, and by 2004 had 95% of the browser market. This is where the problems began. The enxt version of Internet Explorer was delayed, as was the relwase of Windows Vista due to work on Windows XP Service Pack 2, which honestly was like a new OS release with the amount of security related changes that were made. When IE7 was finally released, it was much more buggy than previous versions, and more resource hungry and slowed most computers down. IE7 was the default browser that shipped with Windows Vista.

In 2008 Google released the 1st venison of its browser Google Chrome. Google's reasons were mostly due to frustration of IE not supporting certain W3C features, and relying on ActiveX. Google at one point had an add-on for IE called Google Chrome Frame to extend the functionality of IE and its web support. 

During this time, Microsoft made incremental revisions to IE in versions 8-11 bringing some support for certain HTML5 technologies, but at a slower pace. Google Chrome on the other hand was adding more and more support every release, and refining its browser engine for speed and security. Eventually, Google Chrome became the dominate browser and Microsoft stopped developing Internet Explorer, simply staying on version 11, and  only patching security issues.

Internet Explorer 11 on Windows 10

Picture of Internet Explorer 11

Microsoft eventually started a new browser with Windows 10 named Edge, and it used a brand new rendering engine EdgeHTML. It was much better than IE11, but it did not get wide spread adoption. Microsoft eventually decided to take the open source Chromium project (What Google Chrome is based on) and create an new Edge browser out of it with Microsoft Services integrated, and here we are today with the new Edge to replace Internet Explorer.

Edge IE Mode

Going forward, I would recommend getting familiar with Microsoft Edge IE Mode. As after June 22  2022, this will be the only way for legacy corporate web applications, and other sites built specifically with Internet Explorer, and its soon to be depreciated ActiveX Technology driven sites to function. It seems much like Adobe Flash, IE and Active X is going to be retired, and its safe to assume that the IE Mode of Edge won't last forever. Its meant to be a compatibility layer to give time for these applications to be ported to newer technologies.   

We will miss you Internet Explorer, but its time....time to move on to new things. Take Care.

Disclaimer: I am not responsible for anything that may happen to your PC when changing settings or changing registry values. If you choose to make changes, you do so at your own risk.. You are solely responsible for any damage to your computer , data, or other hardware due to user error, inadequate cooling, too high of voltages, incorrect software settings, and any other factors. Please remember to back up your computer before attempting this. If overclocking, Do not Overclock on the stock AMD or Intel CPU Heatsink and fans. Use Aftermarket cooling heat sinks of sufficient TDP or water cooling to ensure best chance of not having premature hardware failure. As always, remember to backup your data before attempting any change. I am not responsible for data loss or damage of any kind.

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