Microsoft’s web browser Internet Explorer was launched 15 years ago. While it had its ups and downs over the years – version 6 was plagued by countless security issues, which made it one of the most hated browsers around – it’s still the most popular browser in the world, with the last couple of versions improving dramatically on their troubled predecessor.
The first version of the browser, Internet Explorer 1, debuted on August 16, 1995. It was based on Mosaic, a web browser Microsoft had licensed from a company called Spyglass Inc. Starting with version 3.0, Microsoft started bundling Internet Explorer with Windows, increasing its market share dramatically and ultimately squeezing once dominant browser Netscape Navigator out of the market completely.
Internet Explorer’s market dominance started to wane with the rise of popularity of Firefox, a free, open source browser which was launched in 2004, largely as an answer to the problematic IE6. After a couple of years of (somewhat inexplicable) negligence, Microsoft started working hard on improving Internet Explorer again, with version 7 being a big improvement on IE6 when it comes to security and stability.
According to the latest data from Net Applications, Internet Explorer now has a combined market share of 60.74% and Firefox is at 23.75%, followed by Chrome, Safari, Opera and others.
Right now, Microsoft is preparing for the launch of the next chapter in Internet Explorer history: Internet Explorer 9. The first public beta of the new browser is scheduled to be launched at an event in San Francisco on September 15. With the competition being as strong as it is, IE is one of Microsoft’s most important products; we’re keen to find out what the Internet Explorer team has prepared for us this time.