Microsoft finally retiring Internet Explorer

The 27-year-old browser still has some devoted fans, but not everyone was sad when he left.

SAN FRANCISCO — Internet Explorer is finally on the pasture.

Starting Wednesday, Microsoft will drop support for the once-dominant browser that legions of web surfers loved to hate — and some still claim to love. The 27-year-old application now joins BlackBerry phones, dial-up modems and Palm Pilots in the dustbin of technology history.

IE’s demise came as no surprise. A year ago, Microsoft announced it would be ending Internet Explorer on June 15, 2022, pushing users to its Edge browser, launched in 2015.

The company made it clear that it was time to move on.

“Microsoft Edge not only offers a faster, safer, and more modern browsing experience than Internet Explorer, but is also able to address a key concern: compatibility with older, outdated websites and applications,” said Sean Lyndersay, general manager of Microsoft Edge Enterprise , she wrote in a May 2021 blog post.

Users have flagged Explorers Passing on Twitter, with some calling it a “bug-ridden, insecure POS” or the “top browser for installing other browsers.” For others, it was a moment for ’90s nostalgia memes, while The Wall Street Journal quoted a 22-year-old TikToker as saying goodbye to the browser.

“It’s sad that it’s going,” Matt Linkert told the newspaper.

Microsoft released the first version of Internet Explorer in 1995, the old era of web browsing dominated by the first widely used browser, Netscape Navigator. Its introduction signaled the beginning of the end of Navigator: Microsoft tied IE and its ubiquitous Windows operating system so tightly together that many people just defaulted to it instead of Navigator.

The Justice Department sued Microsoft in 1997 for violating an earlier consent order by requiring computer manufacturers to use its browser as a condition of using Windows. It eventually agreed to settle the 2002 antitrust dispute over the use of its Windows monopoly to suppress competitors. It has also tangled with European regulators, who said tying Internet Explorer to Windows gave it an unfair advantage over competitors like Mozilla’s Firefox, Opera and Google’s Chrome.

Meanwhile, users complained that IE is slow, prone to crashes and prone to hacks. IE’s market share, which exceeded 90% in the early 2000s, began to dwindle as users found more attractive alternatives.

Today, the Chrome browser dominates the global browser market with a share of about 65%, followed by Apple’s Safari at 19%, according to internet analytics firm Statcounter. IE’s heir, Edge, is just ahead of Firefox at about 4%.

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