I remember seeing the news a couple months back that it was finally going to happen – Internet Explorer would officially be retiring. And then it finally happened. Just last month, Internet Explorer packed up its boxes, so to speak, and rode off into the sunset.
It may not seem like such a surprise or even a big deal, as there are so many other browsers today that we’ve all gotten used to using. But really, it’s a very big deal. For a while, it was the de facto internet browser that most of us used to access the internet.
So what really happened with Internet Explorer, anyway? Two big reasons stand out…
- First, it refused to follow along with the World Wide Web Consortium guidelines on how web pages should be laid out, which made pages displayed on IE just look… weird… compared to other browsers.
- Competition not only came into the space, but continued to innovate. Google Chrome was launched in 2008. That alone was a big blow, as Google already had its hold on search. But in the decade after Google Chrome launched – it was updated 70 times compared to just 4 from Internet Explorer. It wasn’t just that competition existed, but the competition was improving more and more while Internet Explorer got stale.
Seeing the demise of Internet Explorer can probably teach us all something. First, we shouldn’t assume to know what’s best for users. Microsoft assumed that it didn’t need to follow WC3 guidelines, when really – doing so would have made for a better experience for consumers. And while competition is inevitable, we can’t let the competition out-innovate us. We have to always strive to improve our products. Our products are never “done.”
Tonight, if you find yourself with an end-of-day drink to celebrate the upcoming weekend, pour a little bit out for Internet Explorer. It may be gone today, but its legacy of being one of the first big browsers out there will certainly live on.