Internet Explorer retired on Wednesday
The Microsoft Internet Explorer logo is projected on a screen during a Microsoft Xbox E3 media briefing in Los Angeles, June 4, 2012. /AP

The Microsoft Internet Explorer logo is projected on a screen during a Microsoft Xbox E3 media briefing in Los Angeles, June 4, 2012. /AP

Internet Explorer (IE) has finally been put out to pasture.

As of Wednesday, Microsoft would no longer support the once-dominant browser that legions of web surfers loved to hate – and a few still claim to adore. The 27-year-old application now joins BlackBerry phones, dial-up modems and Palm Pilots in the dustbin of tech history.

IE's demise was not a surprise. A year ago, Microsoft said that it was putting an end to Internet Explorer on June 15, 2022, pushing users to its Edge browser, which was launched in 2015.

The company made clear that it was time to move on.

"Not only is Microsoft Edge a faster, more secure and more modern browsing experience than Internet Explorer, but it is also able to address a key concern: compatibility for older, legacy websites and applications,” Sean Lyndersay, general manager of Microsoft Edge Enterprise, wrote in a May 2021 blog post.

Users marked Explorer's passing on Twitter, with some referring to it as a "bug-ridden, insecure POS" or the "top browser for installing other browsers." For others it was a moment for 90′s nostalgia memes, while The Wall Street Journal quoted a 22-year-old who was sad to see IE go.

A Chinese user reckoned that IE is nothing but complying with the changing tide of technology, as new things emerge in an endless stream on the Internet, and people were more likely to pursue optimized technical services, but IE's presence could not be erased. While there are also netizens that believe that IE sitting back for another five years would not be a problem, just leave IE for those certification examinations, as some exams in China designated IE registration website because of its compatibility.

"Welcome to Microsoft Edge from now on," the official account of Microsoft Edge browser announced.

Microsoft released the first version of Internet Explorer in 1995, the antediluvian era of web surfing dominated by the first widely popular browser, Netscape Navigator. Its launch signaled the beginning of the end of Navigator: Microsoft went on to tie IE and its ubiquitous Windows operating system together so tightly that many people simply used it by default instead of Navigator.

The U.S. Justice Department sued Microsoft in 1997, saying it violated an earlier consent decree by requiring computer makers to use its browser as a condition of using Windows. It eventually agreed to settle the antitrust battle in 2002 over its use of its Windows monopoly to squash competitors. It also tangled with European regulators who said that tying Internet Explorer to Windows gave it an unfair advantage over rivals such as Mozilla's Firefox, Google's Chrome and Opera.

Users, meanwhile, complained that IE was slow, prone to crashing and vulnerable to hacks. IE's market share, which in the early 2000s was over 90 percent, began to fade as users found more appealing alternatives.

Today, the Chrome browser dominates with roughly a 65 percent share of the worldwide browser market, followed by Apple's Safari with 19 percent, according to internet analytics company Statcounter. IE's heir, Edge, lags with about about 4 percent, just ahead of Firefox.

(With input from AP)

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