Computer Advice: The Demise Of Internet Explorer

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Heard On The Larry Meiller Show
Larry Meiller finds out what it means that the Microsoft web browser Internet Explorer is being retired. Plus, answers to your computer questions.

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  • What The Phasing Out Of Internet Explorer Means For Users

    The history of web browsers for public use goes back to the very early 1990s. But while Microsoft was already a significant player in the software world by then, providing Internet access was not its biggest priority.

    Peter Greene is an independent computer consultant with He explained that in 1994, Microsoft Word did provide a plug-in that allowed users to surf the Web. That was a precursor to what users today think of as the Internet Explorer web browser, which itself was part of the release of the Windows 95 operating system.

    And while not the first browser out there, Microsoft’s dominance in the software world propelled IE to claim a huge market share as a web browser. By March 2015, several concurrently used versions of IE represented 55 percent of browsing traffic.

    Greene said that one way that Microsoft has guaranteed that IE is at least one of the browsers that customers use is by making Microsoft software updates available only through IE.

    “So if you try to do those (updates) with something like Firefox or Chrome, they’re going to bounce back to you and say, ‘Hey, you need to be using Internet Explorer to do this,” Greene said.

    While that may just seem like good marketing strategy, Greene said that Microsoft did face pushback for trying to tie IE too closely to the Microsoft operating systems.

    “It was looked at as the ‘information super-highway,’ and they were controlling the on and off ramps,” Greene explained.

    Users have had a conflicted relationship with IE over both performance and security issues. The browser has had such a contentious reputation that Microsoft recently launched a fake “IE hate site” to take aim at Internet trolls who disparage their product.

    According to PC Magazine, there will be some overlap between IE and its as-yet unnamed replacement. And because many businesses have built custom features for their web sites on top of the IE technology, Microsoft is likely to support IE well after it is officially put out to pasture.

    Greene predicted that, for users, the retirement of IE will feel more like a renaming and rebranding than a complete replacement. He likened it to when a car company takes one model out of production in one class, but produces another vehicle that is slighter larger or smaller.

    “It’s not like they’re not going to be in the web browser business,” Greene said.

Episode Credits

  • Larry Meiller Host
  • Judith Siers-Poisson Producer
  • Peter Greene Guest