Goodbyes are always hard. But after years of “Internet Explorer is not responding” error messages, this one may be a little easier.
Microsoft is finally pulling the plug on its first-ever internet browser after more than 27 years in action.
For many, this is a long time coming. Internet Explorer’s reputation as the most archaic and slow browser became a meme—for it being the platform to download other web browsers on. But others are still deeply attached to the browser that first introduced them to the web.
Internet Explorer was first released in 1995 as part of an add-on package for Windows 95, and in eight years became the most widely used web browser in the world, with a 95% usage share in 2003. But over the years, its share of users slowly slumped with the launch of Firefox and Google Chrome, and with the popularity of mobile phone operating systems Android and iOS, which did not support the browser.
Internet Explorer’s market share in 2022 is now at 0.38% across all platforms, according to web traffic analysis website StatCounter.
Microsoft first announced in May 2021 that it was planning to discontinue the web browser, saying at the time that “customers are encouraged to move to Microsoft Edge, which provides support for legacy and modern websites and apps.”
People online are getting nostalgic.
“I’m still trying to process it,” Sam Maumalanga, a 31-year-old Polynesian dance instructor in Euless, Tex., told the Wall Street Journal. “I’ve used it for so long—it’s the first thing I get on on my laptop.”
“It’s crazy,” he adds. “All these years everyone has been using it, and all of a sudden they are going to take it away.”
Meanwhile others are taking one last crack at the browser on its way out.
“This is so sad I'm going to tell Internet Explore that [it] can not be my default browser one last time,” one user wrote on Reddit.
Still others argue that Explorer's death makes the internet a bleaker place for serious reasons.
“I don't exactly have fond Internet Explorer memories, but I really don't like the idea that Google practically has a monopoly on both the browser and search market,” another user wrote on Reddit, linking to a story on a $5 million class-action lawsuit against Google for tracking users even in incognito mode.
Google Chrome has two-thirds of the user share for web browsers, according to StatCounter, and controls 90% of the online search market.
But while most online commenters are watching the burial of Internet Explorer from a distance because they haven’t used the browser for years, there is an air of panic in Japan. With its aging population, Japanese businesses and government agencies are still heavily dependent on Explorer. A survey conducted by Keyman's Net in March found around 49% of companies in Japan are still using the browser.
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