Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser turns 16 years old today.
The software giant originally launched Internet Explorer 1 on August 16, 1995. Microsoft licensed the Spyglass Mosaic browser for $2 million and modified it to create Internet Explorer. The two firms later settled an auditing dispute for $8 million in 1997 and Internet Explorer 7, released in 2006, was the first version without any Mosaic code. Microsoft’s Internet Explorer market share rose alongside the adoption of its Windows operating system on personal computers worldwide. The United States Department of Justice prosecuted Microsoft in 1998 accusing the company of bundling Internet Explorer with Windows to restrict competing web browsers such as Netscape Navigator.
Despite Microsoft’s brush with justice, Internet Explorer held over 90% market share until the end of 2004. Microsoft’s browser share has been in steady decline over the past few years and now stands at just over 50% worldwide. The software maker has focused its efforts on Internet Explorer 9 and Internet Explorer 10 recently to regain important market share. Microsoft’s browser has seen a number of changes over the years from Internet Explorer 3 in 1996 with ActiveX controls and Java Applets to Internet Explorer 7 in 2006 with tabbed browsing support. Microsoft has been accused of falling asleep in the browser wars after shipping Internet Explorer 6 in 2001. The company left Internet Explorer largely untouched for five years before shipping Internet Explorer 7 in October 2006. Microsoft then shipped Internet Explorer 8 three years later in March 2009. The company upped the ante for Internet Explorer 9 and introduced an improved user interface and hardware accelerated HTML5 support.
Looking to the future, Microsoft has promised that the next version of Internet Explorer, version 10, will support even greater standards and run as the default browser in Windows 8. Internet Explorer 10 will only install on Windows 7 and Windows 8 and is expected to be released in 2012. Microsoft is believed to be preparing a full developer preview build of Internet Explorer 10 for release at its BUILD conference next month, which will pave the way to the future of a “reimagined” Windows on a variety of new and old devices.
Happy Birthday Internet Explorer.