In tones that could precede a horror film, Microsoft announced the death of its venerable browser Internet Explorer on June 15.
“Microsoft Edge with IE mode officially replaces the desktop application Internet Explorer 11 on Windows 10,” Microsoft said in a statement. As a result, the Internet Explorer 11 desktop application will be discontinued and discontinued on June 15, 2022, for specific versions of Windows 10.
Or, as veteran technical journalist Steven J Vaughan-Nichols puts it: “Internet Explorer’s Death: Good Relief from Bad Junk.”
Does Internet Explorer play possum: seemingly silent, only to jump up and surprise the audience again?
“The first version [of IE], called Microsoft Internet Explorer, was installed as part of the Internet Jumpstart Kit in Microsoft Plus! pack for Windows 95, ” says Wikipedia in August 1995. Microsoft’s offering was the upstart in the emerging browser market – a pitiful acorn next to the plant that was Netscapes Navigator in a fertile but still barren field for the World Wide Web still caused a lot of media buzz but not much else.
Microsoft Internet Explorer kick-started the browser wars. “Microsoft’s … quick fix was to use Spyglass, a commercial version of the successful Mosaic browser,” writes Vaughan-Nichols. He says that Spyglass was the basis for IE 1, but “IE 1 was a flop. It also created bad blood with Spyglass, which had been promised a percentage of Microsoft’s profits from IE.”
“By including it for free with their operating system, [Microsoft] did not have to pay royalties to Spyglass Inc, resulting in a lawsuit and a $ 8 million settlement on January 22, 1997, “says Wikipedia.
The late nineties were a surreal time for the internet industry. Those who missed the business ventures during the dot-com boom may want to read “Starves to death for $ 200 million”By James Ledbetter, who describes some of the rails. And of course, Netscape and Microsoft were in on it.
“Release Party in San Francisco in October 1997 for Internet Explorer 4.0” featured a ten-foot-long letter ‘e’ logo … Netscape employees who showed up for work the following morning found the logo on their front lawn, with a sign that read the “From the IE Team … We Love You”, described Wikipedia. “Netscape employees knocked it over and put a giant figure of their Mozilla dinosaur mascot on top of it, with a sign with the text” Netscape 72, Microsoft 18 “representing the market distribution.”
IE kick-started the browser wars in the mid-90s
While a market share of 18% seems pathetic for a company whose dominance of operating system software was uneven in 1997, the integration of IE into the Windows 95 browser provided a large installation base. “If you look at Windows 95, it was a quantum leap in the difference in technical capacity and stability,” Gartner analyst Neil MacDonald told CNN 2001.
In retrospect, it seemed inevitable that Internet Explorer would step on its competition as de facto browser embedded in Microsoft Windows. But of course it also had legal consequences.
“United States v. Microsoft Corporation, 253 F.3d 34 (DC Cir. 2001) is a high-profile US antitrust case in which the US government accused Microsoft of illegally maintaining its monopoly position in the personal computer market (PC) mainly through legal and technical restrictions it imposes the ability for PC manufacturers (OEMs) and users to uninstall Internet Explorer and use other applications such as Netscape and Java. ” according to to Wikipedia.
“Many of the tactics used by Microsoft have also indirectly harmed consumers by unjustifiably distorting competition,” U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson wrote in a press release. 1999 statement. “Microsoft’s actions against Navigator hampered a form of innovation that had shown the potential to push the entry barrier of entry sufficiently to enable other companies to compete effectively with Microsoft.”
DOJ’s action against Microsoft was great then, but Redmond is still one of modern technology’s major players. Netscape transformed into Mozilla Foundation, a “US-based non-profit organization that exists to support and jointly lead the open source Mozilla project”. Mozilla is most famous for “Mozilla Firefox, or simply Firefox, a free open source browser developed by the Mozilla Foundation and its subsidiary, Mozilla Corporation.”
Years ago, when Internet Explorer’s market dominance was almost total, a programmer’s friend raged against users who did not stick to Microsoft’s browsers. He said his tasks would be easier if he did not have to create his code for any other browser platform.
Yes, of course, but heterogeneity in technical installations is a best practice. What can go wrong if entire processes depend on a single vendor or platform?
Japan is not known for technical illiteracy, but a widespread dependence on the dying browser remains. “A March survey by IT resource provider Keyman’s Net revealed that a large number of organizations in Japan relied on Internet Explorer, with 49% of respondents saying they used the browser at work,” he said. news article. “They said the browser was used for employee attendance management, cost recovery and other internal tools.”
What type of organizations? “Since April, Tokyo-based software developer Computer Engineering & Consulting has been inundated with requests for help,” the article said. “These customers are mostly government agencies, financial institutions and manufacturing and logistics companies that run websites that are only compatible with Internet Explorer.”
The story of Internet Explorer is a lesson for CDOs
A problem that only applies to Japan? No. South Korea is also having a hard time scrapping Internet Explorer.
“In particular, the Korean court system is embarking on a large-scale project that will cost hundreds of billions won to build a next-generation system that will eliminate their dependence on Internet Explorer,” he said. article from a Korean language school in Singapore. “Unfortunately, the project is expected to be completed in 2023, one year after Microsoft’s plan to shut down the browser, leaving Koreans wondering if they can continue navigating the site after the technical support for Internet Explorer has ended.”
“We strongly recommend that you apply Disable IE policy in your own environment according to your own schedule, “says Microsoft,” so that you can control your own permanent disabling of IE. “
But ActiveX seems to be forever dependent on the now extinguished Internet Explorer. A Microsoft document presents the following in a FAQ about Microsoft Edge distribution: “Microsoft Edge does not support ActiveX controls and Browser Helper Objects (BHOs) such as Silverlight or Java.”
“If you run Web apps that use ActiveX controls, x-ua-compatible headers, or older document modes, you must continue to run them in Internet Explorer 11,” the Microsoft document states. “Internet Explorer 11 offers additional security, manageability, performance, backward compatibility, and standard support.”
The story of Internet Explorer is a lesson for CDOs. The dawn of the 21st century included a browser built by the world’s most powerful software company, with high adoption rates. It’s even transferred to the Mac operating system for Apple users in marketing.
Some of IE’s misery can be linked to the nature of technology, where a “if it works, do not try to fix it” strategy is not always wrong. But such a policy is not suitable for a business environment. Despite Microsoft’s May 2021 the announcement of Internet Explorers EOLa significant proportion of users and institutions seem to be stuck on the dying surfing platform.
Microsoft announced its strategy in advance, built a replacement (Edge) with an IE compatibility mode and published a FAQ about transferring bookmarks and passwords to the new platform. It’s clear that Redmond is doing things right.
In the coming months, we will see how many survivors (like people in a zombie movie who insist on “it’s just a flesh wound”) continue to use IE. The analogy is appropriate, as history shows that obsolete software tends to attract authors of malicious software. We do not yet know if that will be the case with IE.
Meanwhile, if you can migrate to Edge, it seems like a rewarding strategy.
Stefan Hammond is a contributing editor for CDOTrends. Best practices, IoT, payment gateways, robotics and the ongoing fight against cyberpirates arouse his interest. You reach him at [email protected].
Image credit: iStockphoto / Denis-Art
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