Internet Explorer EOL: Gentle Jabs at Browsing Giant Proved IE’s Might

End of Life

On June 15, 2022, Microsoft ended support for all versions of Internet Explorer, effectively marking the end of life for the 27-year-old web browser.

It didn’t come as a surprise: Microsoft announced more than a year ago that support was ending as it pivots its resources to its new Microsoft Edge web browser. Essent support for the browser ended simultaneously.

The end of support means that Microsoft will no longer fix bugs for IE, even critical bugs and breaking changes. Users are advised to use a different web browser.

Anyone who thought they were the only one telling the joke that Internet Explorer is a tool you use to download a web browser quickly found out they were perhaps not as original as they thought.

On June 15, 2022, the day Microsoft retired its once-mighty web browser, social media filled up with posts poking fun at IE.

As the de facto web browser on the Microsoft Windows operating system, IE gained such widespread use that it became a cultural touchpoint. IE’s ubiquity and familiarity made the browser an easy touchpoint for discussion, including humor: because so many people used IE, talk about it including jokes were instantly relatable.

Essent is a Microsoft Certified Gold Partner, so we won’t be making fun of Internet Explorer. Instead, we'll take at the huge position it once held in the nascent days of consumer Internet.

Once Mighty

For a time, IE truly dominated the competing browsers.

Microsoft rapidly gained market share by closely tying Internet Explorer to its widely-used Windows operating system. Shortly after its 1995 launch, Internet Explorer eclipsed its chief initial competitor, Netscape Navigator, which quickly became obsolete. Internet Explorer at one point carried more than 92% of all web traffic. Words don't do its dominance justice. The dominance almost literally needs to be seen to be believed, such as in this data visualization.

Microsoft’s methods to create and maintain the near monopoly came under scrutiny and ultimately an antitrust lawsuit from the U.S. Department of Justice, which was settled. The details of the case aside, the fact remains that there was a time when almost everyone used Internet Explorer.

And in some sectors, Internet Explorer still had its place. The Washington Post reported that several government agencies and businesses in Asia were worried about "headaches for months to come” because they still used Internet Explorer right up to its end of life. The Japan Times cited a poll that 49% percent of 350 Japanese companies surveyed in March were still using IE.

Even people who dropped Internet Explorer years and years ago are still, knowingly or not, touched by its legacy: Internet Explorer was the first browser to introduce XMLHttpRequest, which is the foundation of modern web apps. So it continues to have a role in modern internet life.

Remembered Fondly

The ubiquity of Internet Explorer created a familiarity that not only made it a reliable subject of discussion but also made it a source of emotion. For many millennials, IE was a part of childhood. For others, it’s how they were introduced to browsing the internet.

Internet Explorer was so omnipresent that sometimes it felt like part of the family, imperfect but near and dear.

Reactions to the end of support for Internet Explorer were tinged with a gentleness and wistfulness that spoke to formative role in early consumer internet