It’s been over fourteen years since I got my first hands on ” Microsoft Internet Explorer”. Now which is widely known as “Internet Explorer” or “IE”. I don’t know how many of you guys are out there who loves to call it as “Windows Internet Explorer” but I am sure that number is sliding down. I am just simply not used to with that as I didn’t use it for pretty long time. Actually I forgot to use it and I don’t enjoy using it either. To me, it’s sluggish and comes with so many unexpected problems along with “Not Responding” message, which makes my life more miserable than using “Netscape”. Well, I meant “Netscape Navigator” though. ”IE” lovers, don’t get offended for whatever I just said, take it as for fact.
There was a time when using “IE” was a pleasing experience. Like me there are so many who started their web browsing experience with “Microsoft Internet Explorer” even though that number is decreasing. I got my first computer with “Windows 95″ Pre-installed back in early 1996. But I couldn’t resist myself testing “Windows 3.1″, which i eventually did and went back to “Windows 95″ as it was way better to look at. I used IE more for viewing images rather than web browsing. At that time nothing was more exciting than looking at your own photo in computer or probably as wallpaper. Anyway, lets get back to the point. Using dial-up internet connection I had to wait for long to browse through some simple HTML based bare bone sites. We experienced PHP, ASP or JSP later on which are more complex & took longer time to load. Those codes added some serious features to make web experience more interesting, interactive & dynamic. I hardly can remember someone saying “Web Browser” instead of “Internet Explorer” because you barely had any choice other than using IE. Netscape Navigator was around there at that time but new user like me always avoided third party software as they had to install it manually & didn’t get it Pre-Installed on our PCs. Now you have Opera, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari and so on and on. Interesting enough, IE wasn’t there with the initial release of Windows 95, it came as add-on package with “Plus! for Windows 95″.
Since Windows 95, I witnessed Internet Explorer along with all the newer versions of Windows operating system. As IE was always been free with the OS, user felt more comfortable using it rather than trying Netscape which was a big plus for Microsoft. Later on Windows 98 came out with a newer version of IE, as we all know Windows 98 dominated the OS world for pretty long time. I still have the ISO of “Windows 98″ Second edition on my backup hard drive as a collection of Operating systems that I have used.
It is true that Internet Explorer was the ultimate gateway to experience Web technologies for many Windows PC user. But it seems like that number started declining for couple of years at an alarming rate. Internet Explorer is loosing it’s market share nearly every month since 2001 or around that time. At least statistics from www.w3schools.com shows that clearly. Please note that, there are no concrete or accurate statistics are available that is accepted by all. Different company, organization or site has their own opinion & sometimes they are pretty much cloudy & contradictory. For an example, if you look at the very first diagram by www.netapplications.com it’s clear that Internet Explorer had nearly 60% of the total Browser market share where as Firefox had around 25% & Chrome less than 7%. But in second diagram by www.netmarketshare.com, it shows IE has over 60%, Firefox nearly 23% and Chrome 7.5% of total market share. Which means IE is growing very slowly along with Google Chrome browser but Firefox is declining. At the same time if you look at the statistics of www.w3schools.com, you will see the total different scenario. As per their statistics IE had little over 30%, Firefox 45.8% & Chrome 17% of total market share as of August 2010. They totally denied IE to be the number one browser in terms of market share, which many people might oppose.
Whatever the statistics are, one thing is very clear that for last 3/4 years the race for web browser market share is getting very competitive. The entrance of Firefox & Chrome browser diverted the attention of IE into another direction. Especially I am hopeful that Google Chrome might take the lead at some point, it’s just matter of time. I think it’s a very positive sign that new browsers are coming out with their own features along with new looks. Definitely Microsoft took it very seriously and they are trying to re-gain their leading role, which could really hard to achieve.
I am one of the oldest IE user yet I find it hard to say that IE is the best web browser. Rather I find Firefox & Chrome are way better off than IE. They are easy to use, upgrade & reliable, last but not least they don’t crash like IE. Once again we should not forget Microsoft is a huge corporation and they do have money & manpower. It’s just a matter of time for them to turn back and take the lead otherwise IE just going to be the history. Happy Browsing.