Good Bye and Good Riddance, Internet Explorer

“Sing in me, Muse, and through me tell the story of that man skilled in all ways of contending, the wanderer, harried for years on end …” — Homer, The Odyssey

Gather round, children, let me tell you a tale! Once upon a time, a brave Explorer set out to travel the World Wide Web. It was called Microsoft Internet Explorer, and when it was born, the shrill cries of the dial-up tones that guarded the gateway to this strange new world rang out from every modem.

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“Arooo … roo … wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeet!!” they shrieked. “A-honk-a-honk-a-honk! Honkkkk.”

This could sometimes last for tens of seconds. Humans, little more than troglodytes at that time — many possessing phones that actually attached to the walls of their caves — were gripped with fear, but also a wild hope that an entity had come to lead them into a new world. A wide world. A world that was like a web.

And for many years, Internet Explorer was king! Once a powerhouse browser, IE could be found installed at every single office job you barely tolerated. Jobs that would do insidious things, like hold office contests about what to name meeting pods, or make you attend “Thirsty Thursdays” where you were supposed to drink but not get drunk. Jobs with open floor plans, where you would never look at porn.

“Search!” Internet Explorer seemed to say. “But keep it very, very limited!”

Gradually, over 11 updates, our Explorer fell out of fashion. New browsers came — fierier, foxier! — that promised safari adventures, or shiny chrome finishes. IE, once the everyperson browser, all too soon became the no-person browser. Not since Homer has a journey been so long, ponderous, and slow, yet inspiring to so many people by virtue of being a classic!

And now we gather, at the sunset of that journey, for this week Microsoft announced that they will retire IE. The browser, whose usership has dwindled to less than half a percent of the overall browser market, will be replaced by “Microsoft Edge.” It seems fitting that, after 27 years of exploration, Microsoft has gotten into edging, and future generations can surf — alone or with a partner — to refreshed results!

Bon voyage, Internet Explorer!


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