The longest waited retirement in the browsing world
Almost 20 years on, it seems that Internet Explorer is finally being given its marching orders, and heading to the tech graveyard. IE may not be the most popular of modern-day browsers, but it’s certainly the longest serving and until recently wore the crown for the most used browser, for many years.
Internet explorer’s glory days have been over for quite some time now, but it seems that Microsoft just haven’t been able to shake the browser we all grew up with. This isn’t down to nostalgia though, simply convenience more than anything. If you’re a son, daughter, grandson or granddaughter then you’ve probably experienced first-hand the pain felt when seeing a relative navigate through IE to simply show you a photo on Facebook or a video on YouTube.
Microsoft are completely aware of the mockery that IE has been subject to since the rise of Google Chrome in 2008, or even Mozila Firefox all the way back in 2002. Competition has slowly pushed IE out of contention with those savvy enough to download a different web browser. The stats show that until 2010, IE still held around 50% of the market. Though this has now dropped dramatically to 20 % according to Google’s GOOGL TECH30, which now places Chrome’s share of the market as the majority holder with 48%.
IE’s main problem has been its failure to maintain the high standards set by the other mainstream browsers such as Chrome, Firefox and even Apple’s Safari. Its ‘heavy’ tasking and constant bugs destroy the sense in using it. It’s become “the browser that you use to download another browser”. Microsoft aren’t completely oblivious to this though, in March 2015 they released the “The Browser You Loved To Hate” video on YouTube, which basically mocked themselves prior to the release of IE 9 and promised a much improved system next time.
On the 21st of this month, in Redmond, Washington, Windows 10 will be exhibited for the first time. Along with many new features, IE will be scrapped. ‘Spartan’ will be the new, improved windows browser.
So far it’s unknown whether Spartan will hold its codename or whether it’s just temporary. What we do know though, is that Spartan will essentially try to take on the giants of the browsing world due to its performance, rather than the fact that it just comes installed (which was arguably IE’s route to success. Unknowing and unsavvy users are unaware of the ability to change or even the need to change).
A welcomed upgrade for loyal Microsoft fans will be the introduction of extensions, which have indisputably reshaped and reformed the way in which we browse. Extensions from 3rd parties on browsers like Chrome make browsing a lot more customizable, aiding the user’s desires.
Popular extensions like Adblock, Hola or AlienTube (for those of us who are sick of the pre-pubescent comments on YouTube videos) make our browsing experiences a whole lot more enjoyable and make our experiences that little bit more personal. Whether you’re just looking for a cool South Park theme for your browser or a widget a quick and easy application to screen shot your work, the Chrome Web Store caters to all needs. If Microsoft and Spartan can match or surpass this, they may well be on to a winner.
There is however, a rumour running the mill that IE might not get the full axing. IE 11 (the current version) could be thrown into Windows 10 alongside Spartan in order to cover programs requiring a browser requiring backwards compatibility. Presumably with a few bug fixes here and there to meet minimum requirements.
Not many will grieve over the long-awaited retirement of Internet Explorer. The last 10 years have slowly seen the spiralling decline of its popularity and current browser quality. Whereas the big dogs constantly update and regulate their browsers in order to create the best experience for their users, Microsoft seemingly showed users the two middle fingers and really never showed much intent on fixing the many existing problems.
Hopefully this means that we will no longer have to explain to our older relatives why their browser simply isn’t good enough. No more conversations about whether or not Grandpa’s email will be deleted if we opt for Chrome over IE,or whether your Aunt’s internet banking is now visible to all the scallywags of the dark internet.
January 21st will hopefully shed more light on Spartan as well as Windows 10 as a whole. The new ‘lightweight’ browser has a lot to make up for and will face fierce competition from industry leaders if Microsoft want the new IE to experience the former glory of its ancestor.