As Microsoft celebrates the 15th birthday of Internet Explorer, lets dive into the past and see how it all started…
Internet Explorer 1
Internet Explorer 1.5
Several months later however, IE team (which began with just about 6 people) has released Internet Explorer 1.5, bringing support for basic table rendering.
Internet Explorer 2
Internet Explorer 2.0 hit the streets back in November 22, 1995, followed by Mac OS release in 1996, including everyone’s beloved cookies, SSL and Internet newsgroups support.
Internet Explorer 2 for Mac OS used IE 2.1 rendering engine that not only improved stability, but also included a support for NPAPI (Netscape Plugin Application Programming Interface) and support for QuickTime VR.
Secure Socket Layer (SSL) protocol
Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML)
RSA (algorithm for the public-key cryptography)
Internet newsgroups (NNTP)
HTML Frames element support
Internet Explorer 3
Internet Explorer 3 was released on August 13, 1996, it was the first IE version that no longer relied on Spyglass Mosaic’s codebase. Microsoft has also included it free of charge with Windows 95 OS. Mac version was released a half year later, on January 8, 1997.
“Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.0 adds many new features which are great for HTML authors and demonstrates our accelerating commitment to W3C HTML standards”, company said.
IE3 was actually the very first commercial browser that partially supported CSS. Also, it included features such as:
Internet Mail and News 1.0
Windows Address Book
Netscape’s plugins technology (NPAPI) support
Platform for Internet Content Selection
HTML Layout Control
Quick Links toolbar
During the lifetime of Internet Explorer 3, Microsoft integrated NetMeeting and Windows Media Player into the browser itself.
As browser wars continued, IE3 made a significant difference, increasing Internet Explorer market share from just 3-9% in early 1996 to 20-30% by the end of 1997.
According to Wkipedia:
Microsoft thus made no direct revenues on IE and was liable to pay Spyglass only the minimum quarterly fee. In 1997, Spyglass threatened Microsoft with a contractual audit, in response to which Microsoft settled for $8 million U.S
Internet Explorer 4
Tod Nielsen, the general manager of Microsoft’s developer relations group said that “he wanted to launch Internet Explorer 4.0 for Unix at the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! museum in San Francisco” because of skepticism from those who suspected IE for Unix was vaporware.
Microsoft has bundled it with the Windows 95 OSR 2.5, Windows 98 operating systems and marketed it as “The Web the Way You Want It”.
Integration with Windows part became the subject of concern that lead to the United States v. Microsoft case.
According to Wikipedia:
On November 2, 2001, the DOJ reached an agreement with Microsoft to settle the case. The proposed settlement required Microsoft to share its application programming interfaces with third-party companies and appoint a panel of three people who will have full access to Microsoft’s systems, records, and source code for five years in order to ensure compliance. The Settlement’s requirements were primarily designed to ensure there were stringent oversight procedures and explicit requirements to prevent Microsoft from engaging in “Predatory Behavior” or other practices that might form a “Barrier to Entry”. However, the DOJ did not require Microsoft to change any of its code nor prevent Microsoft from tying other software with Windows in the future.
With the release of IE4, Microsoft has introduced the Trident layout engine, Dynamic HTML, Active Desktop, Windows Desktop Update, Channels, Frontpage Express and other features.
Internet Explorer 5
Internet Explorer 5 lifecycle is where the browser wars kicked in. Initially released on March 18, 1999, it destroyed Netscape Navigator over the period of few years. As of early 2000, IE already had more than 50% of the market share that quickly grew to over 80% before the release of IE6.
According to Wikipedia: “Microsoft spent over 100 million dollars (USD) a year in the late 1990s, with over 1000 people working on IE by 1999 during the development of IE5.” Now that’s a lot!
History Explorer Bar
Search Explorer Bar
Favorites (make available offline)
Windows Radio Bar Toolbar
Internet Explorer Repair Tool
FTP Folders allows browsing of FTP and Web-Based Folders from Windows Explorer
… and mor
Internet Explorer 5.5
Microsoft has released Internet Explorer 5.5 in July 2000. The following version improved CSS and HTML standards support, improved print preview capabilities, developer APIs, added 128-bit encryption and was bundled with Windows Me.
Internet Explorer 6
Internet Explorer 6 fixed quite a few bugs that were introduced with IE5 release, improved CSS support and introduced a new user interface that was based on the default OS theme called Luna.
Although IE6 is almost 10 years old (and everyone hates it), it’s still widely used among individuals (notably in China, South Korea) and corporations.
Internet Explorer 7
Unfortunately for company, Internet Explorer competitors were far ahead (it was least standards compliant browser of that time) and IE continued losing its market share.
Some of the new browser features are: tabbed browsing, reworked rendering engine and security framework, page zooming, a feed reader, search box, support for transparency in PNG images and more.
Internet Explorer 8
After failure that was IE7, MS still tried to play a catch up game. Even though Internet Explorer 8 offered performance enhancements over IE7, improved standards support and a quite a few new features, it was still not a direct threat to other web browsers. However, it is far more competitive than Internet Explorer 7 ever was during its release.
Automatic Tab crash recovery
Inline search within pages
… and more
Internet Explorer 9
What about Internet Explorer 9?
Microsoft has shown the willingness to come back into the browser wars, improving performance and standards support, with motivation as strong as it was back in Netscape Navigator days, company is pushing hard to offer the best possible Internet experience.
Internet Explorer 9 Beta will be launched on September 15, 2010 and only time will tell the fate of IE9.
Mediocrity is not an option this time.
Happy Birthday, Internet Explorer!
About (Author Profile)
Vygantas is a former web designer whose projects are used by companies such as AMD, NVIDIA and departed Westood Studios. Being passionate about software, Vygantas began his journalism career back in 2007 when he founded FavBrowser.com. Having said that, he is also an adrenaline junkie who enjoys good books, fitness activities and Forex trading.