History of Internet Explorer

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Internet Explorer's original logo

The following is a history of the Internet Explorer graphical web browser from Microsoft developed over 11 major software versions including 1.0 (1995), 2.0 (1995) 3.0 (1996), 4.0 (1997), 5.0 (1999), 6.0 (2001), 7.0 (2006), 8.0 (2009), 9.0 (2011), 10.0 (2012) and 11.0 (2013). Internet Explorer has supported Microsoft Windows, but some versions also had an Apple Macintosh version, see Internet Explorer for Mac. For the UNIX version, see Internet Explorer for UNIX. For mobile versions such as Pocket Internet Explorer and versions for Windows CE see Internet Explorer Mobile.

1994–1997: Beginnings & Spyglass[edit]

The first Internet Explorer was derived from Spyglass Mosaic. The original Mosaic came from NCSA, but since NCSA was a public entity it relied on Spyglass as its commercial licensing partner. Spyglass in turn delivered two versions of the Mosaic browser to Microsoft, one wholly based on the NCSA source code, and another engineered from scratch but conceptually modeled on the NCSA browser. Internet Explorer was initially built using the Spyglass, not the NCSA source code[1] The license to Microsoft provided Spyglass (and thus NCSA) with a quarterly fee plus a percentage of Microsoft's revenues for the software.

The browser was then modified and released as Internet Explorer. Microsoft originally released Internet Explorer 1.0 in August 1995 in two packages: at retail in Microsoft Plus! add-on for Windows 95 and via the simultaneous OEM release of Windows 95. Version 1.5 was released several months later for Windows NT, with support for basic table rendering, an important early web standard. Version 2.0 was released for both Windows 95 and Windows NT in November 1995, featuring support for SSL, cookies, VRML, and Internet newsgroups. Version 2.0 was also released for the Macintosh and Windows 3.1 in April 1996. Version 2 was also included in Microsoft's Internet Starter Kit for Windows 95 in early 1996, which retailed for 19.99 USD and included a how-to book and 30 days of Internet access on MSN among other features.[2]

"Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.0 adds many new features which are great for HTML authors and demonstrates our accelerating commitment to W3C HTML standards."
—Microsoft (1996)[3]

Internet Explorer 3.0 was released free of charge in August 1996 by bundling it with Windows 95, another OEM release. Microsoft thus made no direct revenues on IE and was liable to pay Spyglass only the minimum quarterly fee. In 1997, Spyglass threatened Microsoft with a contractual audit, in response to which Microsoft settled for 8 million USD.[4] Version 3 included Internet Mail and News 1.0 and the Windows Address Book. It also brought the browser much closer to the bar that had been set by Netscape, including the support of Netscape's plugins technology (NPAPI), ActiveX, frames, and a reverse-engineered version of JavaScript named JScript. Later, Microsoft NetMeeting and Windows Media Player were integrated into the product and thus helper applications became not as necessary as they once were. Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) were also introduced with version 3 of Internet Explorer.

1997–2001: The browser wars[edit]

Internet Explorer 4.0

Version 4 released in September 1997, was shipped with Windows 95 OSR (OEM Service Release) 2.5, and the latest beta version of Windows 98 and was modified to integrate more closely with Microsoft Windows. It included an option to enable "Active Desktop" which displayed World Wide Web content on the desktop itself and was updated automatically as the content changed. The user could select other pages for use as Active Desktops as well. "Active Channel" technology was also introduced to automatically obtain information updates from websites. The technology was based on an XML standard known as Channel Definition Format (CDF), which predated the currently used web syndication formats like RSS. This version was designed to work on Windows 95, Windows 98, and Windows NT, and could be downloaded from the Internet, free of charge. It supported Dynamic HTML (DHTML). Outlook Express 4.0 also came integrated into the browser and replaced the aging Microsoft Internet Mail & News product that was released with previous versions. Version 5 came out in March 1999, following Microsoft's release of Internet Explorer 5.0 Beta versions in late 1998 . Bi-directional text, ruby text and direct XML/XSLT support were included in this release, along with enhanced support for CSS Level 1 and 2. The actual release of Internet Explorer 5 happened in three stages. Firstly, a Developer Preview was released in June 1998 (5.0B1), and then a Public Preview was released in November 1998 (5.0B2). Then in March 1999 the final release was released (5.0). In September it was released with Windows 98. Version 5.0 was the last one to be released for Windows 3.1x or Windows NT 3.x. Internet Explorer 5.5 was later released for Windows Me in July 2000, and included many bug fixes and security patches. Version 5.5 was the last to have Compatibility Mode, which allowed Internet Explorer 4[5] to be run side by side with the 5.x.[6][6][7] With IE6, there was a quirks mode that could be triggered to make it behave like IE5.5 [8] Version 6 was released with Windows XP on August 27, 2001. It mainly focused on privacy and security features, as they had become customer priorities. Microsoft implemented tools that support P3P, a technology under development by the W3C.

United States v. Microsoft[edit]

In a legal case brought by the US Department of Justice and twenty U.S. states, Microsoft was accused of breaking an earlier consent decree, by bundling Internet Explorer with its operating system software. The department took issue with Microsoft's contract with OEM computer manufacturers that bound the manufacturers to include Internet Explorer with the copies of Microsoft Windows they installed on systems they shipped. Allegedly, it would not allow the manufacturer to put an icon for any other web browser on the default desktop in place of Internet Explorer. Microsoft maintained that integration of its web browser into its operating system was in the interests of consumers.

Microsoft asserted in court that IE was integrated with Windows 98, and that Windows 98 could not be made to operate without it. Australian computer scientist Shane Brooks later demonstrated that Windows 98 could in fact run with IE files removed.[9] Brooks went on to develop software designed to customize Windows by removing "undesired components", which is now known as LitePC. Microsoft has claimed that the software did not remove all components of Internet Explorer, leaving many dynamic link library files behind.

On April 3, 2000, Judge Jackson issued his findings of fact that Microsoft had abused its monopoly position by attempting to "dissuade Netscape from developing Navigator as a platform", that it "withheld crucial technical information", and attempted to reduce Navigator's usage share by "giving Internet Explorer away and rewarding firms that helped build its usage share" and "excluding Navigator from important distribution channels".[10]

Jackson also released a remedy that suggested Microsoft should be broken up into two companies. This remedy was overturned on appeal, amidst charges that Jackson had revealed a bias against Microsoft in communication with reporters. The findings of fact that Microsoft had broken the law, however, were upheld. Seven months later, the Department of Justice agreed on a settlement agreement with Microsoft. As of 2004, although nineteen states have agreed to the settlement, Massachusetts is still holding out.[dated info]

2001–2006: Hiatus and security troubles[edit]

Internet Explorer 6.0 SV1 ('SP2')
Market Share for February, 2005 [11]
IE4 – 0.07%
IE5 – 6.17%
IE6 – 82.79%

In a May 7, 2003 Microsoft online chat, Brian Countryman, Internet Explorer Program Manager, declared that on Microsoft Windows, Internet Explorer would cease to be distributed separately from the operating system (IE 6 being the last standalone version);[12] it would, however, be continued as a part of the evolution of the operating system, with updates coming bundled in operating system upgrades. Thus, Internet Explorer and Windows itself would be kept more in sync.

New feature work did continue in 2003 during the development of Windows Vista; a preview release was released at the Professional Developers Conference in October 2003 which contained an updated Internet Explorer with a version number of 6.05. New features noted by reviewers included a Download Manager, pop-up blocker, add-on manager and a tool to clear browsing history.[13] With the exception of the download manager, which was eventually discarded, these features all appeared in builds of Internet Explorer included with preview builds of Windows XP Service Pack 2 a few months later.

Windows XP Service Pack 2, which was released in August 2004 after a number of delays, also contained a number of security-related fixes, new restrictions on code execution, and user interface elements that aimed to better protect the user from malware. One notable user interface element that was introduced was the "information bar". Tony Schriner, a developer on the Internet Explorer team, explained that the information bar was introduced to reduce the possibility that the user might mis-click and allow the installation of software they did not intend, as well as to simply reduce the number of pop-ups displayed to the user.[14] Most reviews of this release focused on the addition of the pop-up blocker, as it had been seen as a major omission at a time when pop-up ads had become a major source of irritation for web users.[15]

On December 19, 2005, Microsoft announced that it would no longer support Internet Explorer for the Macintosh, and recommended using other Macintosh browsers such as Safari.

2006 onwards: new competition[edit]

Internet Explorer Market Share

— January 2014[16] via Net Applications [note 1]

Internet Explorer 6  4.4%
Internet Explorer 7  2.14%
Internet Explorer 8 20.6%
Internet Explorer 9 9.0%
Internet Explorer 10  11.1%
Internet Explorer 11  10.4%
All variants 57.64%

From 2006 to 2009 Internet Explorer market share slowly declined, and the policy change (announced in 2003) of only releasing new versions with new versions of the Windows operating system was reversed with plans for IE7. In 2006, five years after the release of IE 6, beta versions of Version 7.0 were released, and version 7 was released that October (the same month as Firefox 2.0). Internet Explorer was renamed Windows Internet Explorer, as part of Microsoft's rebranding of component names that are included with Windows. It was available as part of Windows Vista, and as a separate download via Microsoft Update for Windows XP with Service Pack 2 and Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1.[17] Internet Explorer 7 was also available for download directly from Microsoft's website.[18] Large amounts of the underlying architecture, including the rendering engine and security framework, had been completely overhauled. Partly as a result of security enhancements, the browser became a stand-alone application, rather than integrated with the Windows shell, and was no longer capable of acting as a file browser. The first security advisory was posted only one day after the day of release,[19] but it turned out to be a security problem in Outlook Express, not in Internet Explorer 7.[20] The first vulnerability exclusive to Internet Explorer 7 was posted after 6 days.[21] In March 2009 Version 8.0 was released, with the first public beta having been released on March 5, 2008. IE8 offered better support for web standards than previous versions, with plans for improved support for RSS, CSS, and Ajax,[22][23] as well as full compliance for Cascading Style Sheets 2.1.[24] It was also the first version to successfully pass the Acid2 test.[25] In addition, Internet Explorer 8 included new features such as WebSlices and an improved phishing filter.

On September 15, 2010, Microsoft released a public beta of Internet Explorer 9. With Google's popular Chrome browser steadily gaining popularity at Internet Explorer's expense[26] due to its speed, simplicity, and support of newer technologies like HTML5, Microsoft decided to market its new Internet Explorer as showcasing the "Beauty of the Web;"[27] Internet Explorer 9 offered features intended to enhance web browsing, such as partial HTML5 support, hardware acceleration, and better Windows integration. Further contributing to the desirability of Microsoft's new browser, Adobe released a beta version of Flash 10.2 tailored to take advantage of Internet Explorer 9's built-in hardware acceleration capabilities on November 30, 2010.[28] The Internet Explorer 9 beta removed support for Microsoft's popular Windows XP operating system, a move that was met with a lot of public disapproval (as of December 2010 approximately 44% of all computers still ran some version of Windows XP).[29] Microsoft tried very hard to make Internet Explorer simpler to use (and thus more desirable) than its competitors, and added features such as the ability to drag URLs and bookmarks to the Windows Taskbar, a unified downloads manager, a redesigned new tab page featuring your most recently visited sites, and the ability to "tear" tabs away from a window, or drag them away vertically to create their own window.[30] All of these functions already existed on some other browsers though, such as Opera, Google Chrome and Firefox, and a lot of these functions look similar to what other browsers already had.

Market adoption and usage share[edit]

Historical market share of Internet Explorer, 1994–2011.

The adoption rate of Internet Explorer seems to be closely related to that of Microsoft Windows, as it is the default web browser that comes with Windows. Since the integration of Internet Explorer 2.0 with Windows 95 OSR 1 in 1996, and especially after version 4.0's release, the adoption was greatly accelerated: from below 20% in 1996 to about 40% in 1998 and over 80% in 2000.

A CNN article noted at the release of Internet Explorer 4: "Microsoft's Internet Explorer has made inroads and various estimates put its share of the browser market 30 to 35 percent from about 10 percent a year ago."[31] By 2002, Internet Explorer had almost completely superseded its main rival Netscape and dominated the market with up to 95 percent market share. After having fought and won the browser wars of the late 1990s, Internet Explorer gained almost total dominance of the browser market. Having attained a peak of about 95% during 2002 and 2003, its market share has since declined at a slow but steady pace. Usage is higher in Asia and lower in Europe.

Firefox 1.0 had surpassed Internet Explorer 5 in early 2005 with Firefox 1.0 at roughly 8 percent market share.[32] An article notes at the release of Internet Explorer 7 in October 2006 that "IE6 had the lion's share of the browser market with 77.22%. Internet Explorer 7 had climbed to 3.18%, while Firefox 2.0 was at 0.69%."[33]

Internet Explorer 7 was released at the same time as Firefox 2.0, and overtook Firefox 1.x by November 2006, at roughly 9% market share.[34] Firefox 2.0 had overtaken 1.x by January 2007,[35] but IE7 did not surpass IE6 until December 2007.[36] By January 2008, their respective version market share stood at 43% IE7, 32% IE6, 16% FF2, 4% Safari 3 and both FF1.x and IE5 versions at less than half a percent.[37]

Approximate usage over time based on various usage share counters averaged for the year overall, or for the fourth quarter, or for the last month in the year depending on availability of reference.[38][39][40][41][42][43]

According to StatCounter Internet Explorer's marketshare fell below 50% in September 2010.[44] In May 2012 it was announced that Google Chrome overtook Internet Explorer as the most used browser worldwide.

Desktop market share by year and version[edit]

Approximate usage over time based on various usage share counters averaged for the year overall, or for the fourth quarter, or for the last month in the year depending on availability of reference.[39][40][41][42][43][45][46][47][48][49]

Total IE11 IE10 IE9 IE8 IE7 IE6 IE5 IE4 IE3 IE2 IE1
2013 56.73%[49]Increase 1.25%[49]Increase 11.00%[49]Increase 13.89%[49]Decrease 22.41%[49]Decrease 1.72%[49]Decrease 5.74%[49]Decrease 0.02%[49]Increase 0.13%[49]Increase 0% 0% 0%
2012 53.77%[48]Decrease 0.14%[48]Increase 16.77%[48]Increase 25.87%[48]Decrease 3.49%[48]Decrease 6.81%[48]Decrease 0%[48]Decrease 0.01%[48]Increase 0% 0% 0%
2011 56.24%[47]Decrease 5.30%[47]Increase 32.36%[47]Increase 7.00%[47]Decrease 10.19%[47]Decrease 0.01%[47]Decrease 0% 0% 0% 0%
2010 60.04%[46]Decrease 29.43%[46] Increase 11.61%[46] Decrease 16.79%[46] Decrease 0.02%[46] Decrease 0% 0% 0% 0%
2009 66.92%[45]Decrease 10.40%[45] Increase 26.10%[45] Decrease 27.40%[45] Increase 0.08%[45] Decrease 0%Decrease 0% 0% 0%
2008 72.65% [38] Decrease 0.34% [38] Increase 46.06%[38] Increase 26.20%[38] Decrease 0.15%[38] Decrease 0.01%[38] Decrease 0% 0% 0%
2007 78.60% [38] Decrease 45.50%[38] Increase 32.64%[38] Decrease 0.45%[38] Decrease 0.01%[38] Decrease 0% 0% 0%
2006 83.30% [38] Decrease 3.49%[38] Increase 78.08%[38] Decrease 1.42%[38] Decrease 0.02%[38] Decrease 0% 0% 0%
2005 87.12 %[38] Decrease 82.71%[38] Decrease 4.35%[38] Decrease 0.06%[38] Decrease 0% 0% 0%
2004 91.27 %[38] Decrease 83.39%[38] Increase 7.77%[38] Decrease 0.10%[38] Decrease 0% 0% 0%
2003 94.43%[40] Increase 59.00%[40] Increase 34.00%[40] Decrease 1.00%[40] Decrease 0% 0% 0%
2002 93.94%[40] Increase 50.00%[40] Increase 41.00%[40] Decrease 1.00%[40] Decrease 0% 0% 0%
2001 90.83%[40] Increase 19.00%[40] Increase 68.00%[40] Decrease 5.00%[40] Decrease 0% 0% 0%
2000 83.95%[40] Increase 71.00%[40] Increase 13.00%[40] Decrease 0% Decrease 0% 0%
1999 75.31%[43] Increase 41.00%[40] Increase 36.00%[40] Decrease 1.00%[40] 0% 0%
1998 45.00%[42] Increase  ? Increase  ?  ?  ?
1997 39.40%[39] Increase  ? Increase  ?  ?  ?
1996 20.00%[39] Increase  ?  ?  ?
1995 2.90%[39] Increase  ?  ?

Industry adoption[edit]

Browser Helper Objects are also used by many search engine companies and third parties for creating add-ons that access their services, such as search engine toolbars. Because of the use of COM, it is possible to embed web-browsing functionality in third-party applications. Hence, there are a number of Internet Explorer shells, and a number of content-centric applications like RealPlayer also use Internet Explorer's web browsing module for viewing web pages within the applications.

References[edit]

  • "Microsoft Windows Family Home Page". Windows History: Internet Explorer History. Retrieved May 12, 2005. 
  • "Microsoft Knowledge Base". How to determine which version of Internet Explorer is installed. Retrieved November 6, 2005. 
  • "Index DOT Html and Index DOT Css". Browser History: Windows Internet Explorer. Retrieved May 12, 2005. 
  • "IEBlog". Windows Vista & IE7 Beta 1 Available. Retrieved July 27, 2005. 
  • "IEBlog". Standards and CSS in IE. Retrieved July 29, 2005. 
  • "IEBlog". IE7 Is Coming This Month. Retrieved October 9, 2006. 
  • "IEBlog". IE7 Platforms And Outlook Express. Retrieved May 12, 2005. 
  • "Microsoft Press Pass". RSA Conference 2005 - Gates Highlights Progress on Security, Outlines Next Steps for Continued Innovation. Retrieved May 12, 2005. 

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Memoirs From the Browser Wars, May 12, 2005 In 1995
  2. ^ Microsoft Internet Explorer Web Browser Available on All Major Platforms, Offers Broadest International Support
  3. ^ http://www.citycat.ru/doc/HTML/IExplorer.30/html_toc.htm MS IE3 release document archive
  4. ^ Paul Thurrott (January 22, 1997). "Microsoft and Spyglass kiss and make up". Windows IT Pro. Penton Media Inc. Retrieved 2007-02-25. 
  5. ^ http://support.microsoft.com/kb/197311/EN-US/ KB197311
  6. ^ a b http://www.microsoft.com/windows/ie/community/columns/historyofie.mspx MS History
  7. ^ http://support.microsoft.com/kb/237787 MS Article ID 237787
  8. ^ http://www.satzansatz.de/cssd/quirksmode.html
  9. ^ How to remove Internet Explorer from Windows 98, May 12, 2005
  10. ^ U.S. v. Microsoft: Court's Findings of Fact, May 12, 2005
  11. ^ Market share for browsers, operating systems and search engines
  12. ^ Microsoft to abandon standalone IE, January 23, 2006
  13. ^ Brewer, Matt (December 12, 2003). "New Internet Explorer on Longhorn 4051". OSNews. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  14. ^ Tony Schriner (March 21, 2004). "IE in XP SP2 (Part 2): Information Bar - Stopping the modal dialog madness". MSDN Blogs. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  15. ^ Lake, Matt (August 13, 2004). "Microsoft Windows XP SP2 (CNet review)". CNet. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  16. ^ "Browser Version Market Share". Net Applications. January 2014. Retrieved 2013-08-12. 
  17. ^ Automatic Delivery of Internet Explorer 7, Retrieved on 2006-09-22
  18. ^ Internet Explorer: Automatic Updates Distribution Process
  19. ^ Internet Explorer 7 'mhtml:' Redirection Information Disclosure
  20. ^ IE7 Vulnerability already? Not really
  21. ^ Internet Explorer 7 Window Injection Vulnerability
  22. ^ LaMonica, Martin (2007-05-03). "Microsoft hints at general plan for IE 8". CNET News.com. Retrieved 2008-03-11. 
  23. ^ Reimer, Jeremy (2007-05-02). "Microsoft drops hints about Internet Explorer 8". ars technica. Retrieved 2007-05-02. 
  24. ^ "How do I make my site light up in Internet Explorer 8?". Retrieved 2008-03-07. 
  25. ^ "Internet Explorer 8 and Acid2: A Milestone". Retrieved 2008-03-07. 
  26. ^ "Top 5 Browsers from Dec 09 to Dec 10". Retrieved 2011-01-08. 
  27. ^ "Beauty of the Web". Retrieved 2011-01-08. 
  28. ^ "Adobe Labs - Adobe Flash Player 10.2". Retrieved 2011-01-08. 
  29. ^ "Usage share of operating systems". Retrieved 2011-01-08. 
  30. ^ "The best new features in IE9". Retrieved 2011-01-08. 
  31. ^ A CNN article noted at the release of Internet Explorer 4, "Microsoft's Internet Explorer has made inroads and various estimates put its share of the browser market 30 to 35 percent from about 10 percent a year ago". "It's out: Microsoft unveils Internet Explorer 4.0 –". CNN. 1997-09-30. [dead link]
  32. ^ "Market share for browsers, operating systems and search engines". marketshare.hitslink.com. 
  33. ^ Marius Nestor, Linux Editor. "IE7 and Firefox 2.0 Are Slaughtering Internet Explorer 6 – Out with the old, in with the new". softpedia.com. 
  34. ^ "Market share for browsers, operating systems and search engines". marketshare.hitslink.com. 
  35. ^ "Market share for browsers, operating systems and search engines". marketshare.hitslink.com. 
  36. ^ "Market share for browsers, operating systems and search engines". marketshare.hitslink.com. 
  37. ^ "Market share for browsers, operating systems and search engines". marketshare.hitslink.com. 
  38. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y "Market share for browsers, operating systems and search engines". marketshare.hitslink.com. Retrieved 9 February 2011. 
  39. ^ a b c d e Borland, John. Browser wars: High price, huge rewards, ZDNet, April 15, 2003. Accessed June 2, 2012.
  40. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t "TheCounter.com: The Full-Featured Web Counter with Graphic Reports and Detailed Information". Thecounter.com. Retrieved 2008-10-17. 
  41. ^ a b "TheCounter.com: The Full-Featured Web Counter with Graphic Reports and Detailed Information". Thecounter.com. Retrieved 2008-10-17. 
  42. ^ a b c "CNN — Behind the numbers: Browser market share — October 8, 1998". Cnn.com. Retrieved 2008-10-17. 
  43. ^ a b c "Web Analytics | Online Business Optimization by Omniture". Omniture.com. Retrieved 2008-10-17. 
  44. ^ Goldman, David (2010-10-06). "Internet Explorer usage falls below 50%". CNN. Retrieved 2010-10-06. 
  45. ^ a b c d e f "Browser Version Market Share". marketshare.hitslink.com. 2009. Retrieved 2010-09-26. 
  46. ^ a b c d e f Market Share 2010 overall Market Share 2010 browsers
  47. ^ a b c d e f g Market Share Version Share
  48. ^ a b c d e f g h i Market Share Version Share
  49. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Market Share Version Share

See also[edit]