August 18, 2010, 12:32 PM — Microsoft Internet Explorer marks its 15th anniversary this week. The first version of the browser was launched back in the summer of 1995 and since then the browser--now in its eighth rendition--has undergone numerous updates, revisions and versions.
IE went on to become extremely popular, largely thanks to its deep integration as part of Windows. Within just a few short years, Internet Explorer dominated the browser wars, claiming as much as 95% market share, mainly at the expense of competitor Netscape Navigator.
However, IE's rise did not continue forever. In 2004, Mozilla launched an open-source alternative, Firefox. As the years went by, Firefox slowly chipped away at IE's market share.
Today, the browser landscape is a very different one, with Chrome, Safari, Opera and many others all competing for a slice of users' Web time. But despite the range of choices, IE is--like it or not--still the world's most popular browser holding a combined market share of over 60%.
Let's look back over the browser's past, and look ahead at where it's headed:
Internet Explorer 1
Internet Explorer 1 launched on August 16, 1995. Based on Spyglass Inc.'s Mosaic browser, version one of IE was built by a team of just five or six programmers and came in at just under 1MB. While IE wasn't initially included in the OEM version of Windows 95, it came bundled with Microsoft Plus! for Windows 95.
Internet Explorer 2
Released just three months after the first version; IE 2 arrived on November 22, 1995, with versions for Windows NT, Windows 95 and Windows 3.1. Microsoft released a beta version for PowerPC-based Macs in January of 1996. IE 2 added support for HTML tables and cookies--a quaint notion in today's HTML5 world.
IE 2's executable size? A whole 1.1MB.
Internet Explorer 3