Internet explorer, arguably the most recognisable desktop icon as well as many people’ introduction to the world wide web is being shut down by Microsoft on June 15th, 2022, 27 years after its release. The shutdown has come to the surprise of nobody; Internet explorer (IE) has become suitably old fashioned with Microsoft not only having released a sleeker, more refined version called edge but IE being the butt of many memes because of its common issues with sluggishness.
Despite its impending demise and its bad pop culture image IE was THE way to view the internet for the longest time, nearly 95% of all web browsers used IE as their web browser in its peak around 2002. Originally intended for Windows as an add-on to Windows 95, it eventually made its way to Apple Mac and later in its life, smart phones, especially the Windows phones released by Microsoft in late 2010.
The downfall of IE began with the rise of Chrome and Firefox as Internet Explorer’s 6th edition was considered very lacklustre. Slow, sluggish, lacking extension support and overall a horrible tool for surfing the web; chrome and Firefox managed to overtake IE in popularity due to their ability to innovate in the web browsing space. IE did try to compete however, but it was too little too late as IE7 was released in 2006 and unfortunately for IE, other browsers had a foothold in the market and they were not going anywhere.
Internet explorer 7 in all its glory.
To this day IE11, the most recent revision released in 2013 still does not support extensions, does not sync on other devices and is not available on non-Windows devices. Microsoft themselves have stated “Customers have been using IE 11 since 2013 when the online environment was much less sophisticated”. When the creator of something speaks about their product like that it is fair to say that its discontinuation is not only inevitable but well needed.
Despite its failure later in its life, Internet Explorer will forever live on in the minds of those who grew up using the internet in the early to late 2000s. The nostalgia of loading up early YouTube, posting onto Myspace or asking a question using Jeeves will hopefully act as IE’s legacy as it gets retired.