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Microsoft's Internet Explorer Turns 15 Today!

Internet Explorer 15th birthday

Before starting with article first Tech18 would like to wish “Many Many Happy Returns” of the day to “Internet Explorer”. Internet Explorer from its birth has changed the web world in many ways with every release of new versions. It is one of the best product by Microsoft and still having a strong share in world.

Windows Internet Explorer (formerly Microsoft Internet Explorer; abbreviated to MSIE or more commonly, IE), is a series of graphical web browsers developed by Microsoft and included as part of the Microsoft Windows line of operating systems starting in 1995.

The journey of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer started on August 16th, 1995 with its first version. Internet Explorer has gone through very difficult phases in its journey. It has got lot of rivalry browsers like Mozilla’s Firefox and Google Chrome. As we explained in previous article, Firefox is giving tough competition to IE in Europe. But still IE is having great share in whole world and comfortably sitting on top.

On this occasion we would like to give a brief note about the birthday product Internet Explorer.

Internet Explorer 1

Internet Explorer 1

Debut date: August 16, 1995

Internet Explorer 1 is a graphical web browser debuted from Microsoft. It was a reworked version of Spyglass Mosaic which Microsoft had licensed, like many other companies initiating browser development, from Spyglass Inc.

Internet Explorer 1.5 was released several months later for Windows NT and added support for basic table rendering.

Tech Tip: Mosaic was developed by a team led by Marc Andreesen, who would go on to found Netscape.

Internet Explorer 2

Internet Explorer 2

Debut date: November 22, 1995

Internet Explorer 2.0 version supported double-byte character-set. It lacked many features that became common in later IE versions, including the Blue ‘e’ logo, integration with Windows Explorer, and bundled programs. Its market share was also much lower than later versions.

Internet Explorer 3

Internet Explorer 3

Debut date: August 13, 1996

Internet Explorer 3 was the first commercial browser with Cascading Style Sheets(CSS) support. It also introduced support for ActiveX controls, Java applets, inline multimedia, and the Platform for Internet Content Selection (PICS) system for content metadata. Version 3 also came bundled with Internet Mail and News and NetMeeting.

In 1996 Microsoft said of its new browser Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.0 adds many new features which are great for HTML authors and demonstrates our accelerating commitment to W3C HTML standards.”

Internet Explorer 4

Internet Explorer 4

Debut date: September 1997

Internet Explorer 4 deepened the level of integration between the web browser and the underlying operating system. Internet Explorer 4 introduced support for Group Policy, allowing companies to configure and lock down many aspects of the browser’s configuration. Internet Mail and News was replaced with Outlook Express, and Microsoft Chat and an improved NetMeeting were also included. This version also was included with Windows 98.

Tech tip: With IE4, Microsoft established the concept of given beta software 🙂 The Internet Explorer 4 Beta was released in April 1997.

Internet Explorer 5

Internet Explorer 5

Debut date: March 18, 1999

Internet Explorer 5 bundled with Office 2000, was another significant release that supported bi-directional text, ruby characters, XML, XSLT, and the ability to save web pages in MHTML format. IE5 was bundled with Outlook Express 5.

Internet Explorer 5.01, a bug fix version, was released in December 1999. Windows 2000 includes this version. Internet Explorer 5.5 followed in July 2000, improving its print preview capabilities, CSS and HTML standards support, and developer APIs.

IE5 was one of the main participants of the first Browser war. Internet Explorer 5 attained over 50% market share by early 2000, taking the lead over other browser versions including IE4 and Netscape.

Tech Tip: Microsoft spent over 100 million dollars a year in the late 1990s, with over 1000 people working on IE by 1999 during the development of IE5.

Internet Explorer 6

Internet Explorer 6

Debut date: August 27, 2001

Internet Explorer 6 included DHTML enhancements, content restricted inline frames, and partial support of CSS level 1, DOM level 1, and SMIL 2.0. The MSXML engine was also updated to version 3.0. Other new features included a new version of the Internet Explorer Administration Kit (IEAK), Media bar, Windows Messenger integration, fault collection, automatic image resizing, P3P, and a new look-and-feel that was in line with the Luna visual style of Windows XP, when used in Windows XP.

Internet Explorer 6 was released a few months before Windows XP. There was little change in IE’s market share for several years, until Mozilla Firefox was released and gradually began to gain popularity.

Tech tip: At its peak in 2002 and 2003, IE6 attained a total market share of nearly 90%, with all versions of IE combined reaching 95%.

Internet Explorer 7

Internet Explorer 7

Debut date: October 18, 2006

Internet Explorer 7 included bug fixes, enhancements to its support for web standards, tabbed browsing with tab preview and management, a multiple-engine search box, a web feeds reader, Internationalized Domain Name support (IDN), Extended Validation Certificate support, and anti-phishing filter.

Tech tip: by mid-2008, Internet Explorer 7 market share exceeded that of Internet Explorer 6 in a number of regions.

Internet Explorer 8

Internet Explorer 8

Debut date: March 19, 2009

Internet Explorer 8 spent more than one year in beta phase only. On March 5, 2008, the first public beta (Beta 1) was released to the general public. On August 27, 2008, the second public beta (Beta 2) was released.

Security, ease of use, and improvements in RSS, CSS, and Ajax support are Microsoft’s priorities for IE8. It includes much stricter compliance with web standards, including a planned full Cascading Style Sheets 2.1 compliance for the release version. All these changes allow Internet Explorer 8 to pass the Acid2 test. However, to prevent compatibility issues, IE8 also includes the IE7 rendering behavior.

Tech tip: right after IE8 release, it took over huge market share from predecessors. Currently the market share of IE8 is 30% compared to IE7’s 14%.

Internet Explorer 9

Internet Explorer 9 preview platform

Debut date: September 15, 2010 (proposed date)

Microsoft is all set to release its best ever browser which includes all the features exactly after one month. From past 6 months Microsoft released 4 platform preview versions to test IE9.

IE9 will have complete or nearly complete support for all CSS 3 selectors, border-radius CSS 3 property, faster JavaScript. IE9 will feature hardware-accelerated graphics rendering using Direct2D, hardware accelerated text rendering using DirectWrite, hardware accelerated video rendering using Media Foundation, imaging support provided by Windows Imaging Component, and high fidelity printing powered by the XPS print pipeline.

Tech tip: Unfortunately IE9 is not supportable to Windows XP, as Microsoft decided to stop supporting XP.


In its journey of 15 years, Microsoft has released 8 versions of Internet Explorer and and the latest version is ready to come out in beta version soon. The current big release is ready to acquire the market share again.

Keeping all the rival browsers in mind, that too most importantly Firefox 4 and Chrome 6, Microsoft changed many things in IE9.

Current Status:

  1. Google Chrome 6 beta released on 12th August
  2. Firefox 4 beta 3 released on 12th August

Chrome 6 final, Firefox 4 beta 4,5 and IE9 first beta are ready to release next month.

Well this is all we have got for now 🙂 Finally, Happy Birthday Internet Explorer. May you have a great year ahead 🙂 Time to hit comment box now and express what you feel about IE 🙂 Cheers 😉

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