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RIP Explorer: removal of Microsoft’s web browser

Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser has been retired after more than a quarter of a century from computer screens around the world – Copyright AFP Jade GAO

Internet Explorer, Microsoft’s once-dominant web browser that some users love to hate, was retired Wednesday after 27 years on the world’s computer screens.

The tech giant will no longer offer patches or updates to the existing version of Explorer and users will be directed to its replacement, Microsoft Edge.

It was a moment marked by genuine nostalgia – and plenty of jokes at the expense of what was many people’s first gateway to the internet.

“You took a long time to download stuff, kept freezing, and got replaced pretty easily by other browsers,” @Zytrux_1 tweeted, under the hashtag #ripinternetexplorer.

“But it was one of the first browsers I ever used, and I have lots of fond memories of it.”

Twitter was inundated with Explorer memes, including tombstones or coffins with the browser’s blue “e” signature and occasional screenshots of error messages saying the app had stopped working.

Microsoft announced the change last year, and on Wednesday in a blog post it explained the need to start fresh with a different browser – Microsoft Edge.

“Internet Explorer (IE) is officially retired and no longer supported at this time,” the company wrote.

“The Web has evolved and so have browsers. The incremental improvements to Internet Explorer couldn’t match the general improvements to the web as a whole, so we started over,” he added.

– Antitrust battle –

The first version of Internet Explorer was released in 1995, in a challenge to Netscape Navigator, the rising star of the Internet.

The ubiquity of Microsoft’s operating system has also become a pathway for Explorer to gradually become the default for many users.

In 1997, US authorities claimed that Microsoft, by incorporating its Internet Explorer into the Windows operating system for the first time, was trying to crush competition from Netscape.

The case ended in a settlement in November 2001 that imposed no financial penalties, but forced billionaire Bill Gates’ software giant to disclose more technical information and prohibited anti-competitive agreements on Microsoft products.

However, users gradually got more alternatives to the browser that many loved to hate for its slowness and technical issues.

Microsoft’s market share in the browser industry has fallen from over 90% in the 2000s to low single digits this year.

Google’s Chrome, with nearly 65%, is the market leader, according to Statcounter, a web traffic analysis site.