What Microsoft’s decision to take away from Explorer tells us about how the business has evolved for the better
As user first Mosaic then Netscape, I was not the only one to see the arrival of Internet Explorer from Microsoft in 1995 as an attempt by a company that had completely underestimated the importance of the Internet, which had seen the emergence of the Netscape phenomenon. , to use the dirty trick of regrouping it in the operating system that at the time dominated computing to dominate the market. I witnessed firsthand the fall of Netscape while living in the United States, resisted it for a long time, and saw how the market ended up going where Microsoft wanted it to go, thus elevating Internet Explorer, a mediocre browser, to absolute monopoly: 95% share Steps. The story was told in the chronicles of the navigator war, and the rest United States vs. Microsoft is always the case study of product grouping.
Older geeks like me will still remember those bittersweet days. Microsoft, a company that had played a significant role in the expansion of IT and stole IBM’s mighty breakfast right under its nose, was now deteriorating and undermining the very essence of the Internet – its openness and its compatibility – with a browser she was using. to impose closed and proprietary standards. Internet Explorer was attacking the universality of the Internet, in a way that mirrored how Microsoft believed the rules didn’t apply to it and could do whatever it wanted without fear of consequences.
The arrival of Firefox in 2004, with this double page ad in the New York Times that I personally helped pay (yes, my name is there! 🙂 was a real breath of fresh air in the internet landscape that Microsoft was fighting so hard to dominate, and which it lost due to its unsustainable strategy and the terrible mismanagement of Steve Ballmer after the departure of Bill Gates. I remember how Internet Explorer, which to me had always been the bad guy, kept doing things while I joined the little group of brothers using Firefox. I became an evangelist for the Mozilla Foundation, telling my students about Firefox and writing countless articles. Fortunately, the browser landscape started to open up, helped by the launch of Chrome by a Google which at the time still wasn’t doing any harm.
Today, Internet Explorer remains a relic of what the Internet never should have been, a browser used only in corporate environments rooted in the past. Internet Explorer is a good indicator of obsolescence: if it is still installed in your company and there are applications that can only be used with this vestige of the past, do yourself the favor of calling for the dismissal of your entire IT department, leave the prehistory behind and move on to the present as soon as you can. There is no valid justification for using Internet Explorer.
There is poetic justice to the fact that a very different Microsoft ultimately decided to replace Cursed Explorer with a Chromium-based Edge, a poetic justice that says a lot about Satya Nadella’s leadership style and her ability not only to understand the technological landscape, but also to change and correct the course of a business. Hopefully the bad old days will definitely be behind.