Internet Explorer, Microsoft’s once-dominant web browser that some users love to hate, was retired on Wednesday after 27 years on the world’s computer screens.
The software giant will no longer provide fixes or updates to the current version of Explorer, and users will be directed to its replacement, Microsoft Edge.
It was a nostalgic moment, with plenty of jokes about what was many people’s first gateway to the internet.
“You took long to download stuff, you kept freezing, and you got replaced pretty easily by other browsers,” tweeted @Zytrux_1, under the hashtag #ripinternetexplorer.
“But there goes one of the first browsers I’ve ever used, and got plenty of good memories thanks to it.”
Twitter was flooded with Explorer memes, featuring tombstones or coffins displaying the browser’s trademark blue “e” and the occasional screenshot of error messages indicating that the program had stopped working.
Microsoft revealed the shift last year and – in a blog post Wednesday – explained the necessity to start again with a new browser — Microsoft Edge.
“Internet Explorer (IE) is officially retired and out of support as of today,” the company announced.
“The web has evolved and so have browsers. Incremental improvements to Internet Explorer couldn’t match the general improvements to the web at large, so we started fresh,” it was added.
The first version of Internet Explorer was released in 1995 as a challenge to the then-rising early internet star Netscape Navigator.
Because of the prevalence of Microsoft’s operating system, Explorer gradually became the default for many users.
In 1997, US authorities claimed that Microsoft was attempting to destroy Netscape competition by putting its Internet Explorer into the Windows operating system for the first time.
In November 2001, a settlement was reached that imposed no financial penalties but required billionaire Bill Gates’ software company to provide more technical information and prohibited anti-competitive agreements on Microsoft products.
However, consumers progressively gained additional alternatives to the browser that many loved to hate to its slowness and technical flaws.
Microsoft’s browser market share has dropped from more than 90% in the 2000s to the low single digits this year.
According to Statcounter, a web traffic analytics site, Google Chrome has approximately 65 percent of the market, being the market leader.