Microsoft’s Internet Explorer is now 20 years old

Remember the days of screeching dial up modems, fat CRT monitors with crappy resolutions, and 16-bit operating systems? That was so long ago. August 16th, 1995, the day Microsoft released Internet Explorer 1.0 as part of Windows. Microsoft first released Internet Explorer 1.0 as part of a special $49 package known as Plus! for Windows 95, which featured an assortment of screensavers, themes, games, and more (oh how the little things made us happy!).

Internet Explorer caused Microsoft a lot of heat over the years, especially with antitrust issues. Internet Explorer, having been released during a time when America Online and Netscape were dominating the internet, caused the birth of the browser wars. Internet Explorer 1.0 was a mere 1MB in size and didn’t really do too much, except surf the internet — minus the ability to see graphics, access dynamic content, and more.

Internet Explorer 1.0

Internet Explorer 1.0

Internet Explorer 2.0 hit the net later that year, with Internet Explorer 3.0 arriving in 1996. That fancy blue “e” logo made it’s debut with Internet Explorer 3.0, which also supported some CSS, the ability to display images in the browser, and more. It wasn’t until Internet Explorer 4.0 that Microsoft introduced the Trident engine, which has been used in the browser until now. Internet Explorer 4.0 was bundled with Windows 98, which ended up skyrocketing the browser’s market share and being a catalyst in the death of Netscape.

Internet Explorer 5.0 was rolled out in 1999, while Internet Explorer 6.0 was made available with Windows XP in 2001. Internet Explorer 6 survived nearly six years as the big dog in the yard — mainly because if you purchased a new Windows XP computer, you got Internet Explorer 6.0 too. Internet Explorer 7 was released in 2006, and featured the introduction of tabbed browsing (wow!), support for RSS, and protection against phishing attacks. This is the time when Firefox emerged from the fine people at Mozilla.

Internet Explorer 8.0 was released in 2009, now going head to head against both Mozilla Firefox and Google’s own browser Chrome. Around this time, Microsoft faced issues in Europe about browser bundling and eventually had to offer a “browser ballot” to let consumers decide what browser they wanted to use in Windows 7.

Internet Explorer 9 was launched in 2011 and was the first browser since the release of Internet Explorer 2.0 to not be bundled with a new operating system. Instead, when Internet Explorer 9 was released, you could simply download it seperately for your operating system. Internet Explorer 10 hit the web in 2012, and was the default browser in Windows 8 — eventually being made available to Windows 7 users too.

Finally, in late 2013, Microsoft released the final version of Internet Explorer — version 11. Oh how times have changed. Here we are in 2015 with Microsoft Edge, the Redmond giant’s new browser for Windows 10, having dethroned Internet Explorer as the new browser of choice for Windows. Even the Trident engine has been forked into something new called EdgeHTML. After 20 years of service, Internet Explorer is finally retired.

 


As Internet Explorer celebrates its 20th birthday today, lets take time to reflect on the early days. Internet Explorer was an integral part of the evolution of the internet, so here’s to a browser that may be retired, but will never be forgotten. Share your memories about Internet Explorer in the comments below.

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