Microsoft officially retired its first web browser, Internet Explorer, after nearly 30 years, and it couldn't have happened sooner.

If you were in the late 90s, you couldn't have avoided the "e" icon present on every Windows 95 machine. Some would just call it "Internet" instead of its name, because for most users, it was the only web browser available.

While Opera also arrived in 1995 (opens in a new tab) as a project instead of the web browser we see today, it was Microsoft's browser that took the world by storm, mainly due to the fact that it was pre-installed in the millions. of PCs.

However, we are in an era where you can choose from a variety of web browsers, from Opera to Firefox, all with their own unique features and interfaces. But Internet Explorer started something that continues to this day, and for that, we're going to take a look at what worked best and what didn't.

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With the turn of the millennium, Internet Explorer 6 (opens in a new tab) was preparing for release, but it wasn't until 2006 that version 7 arrived with tabs.

The Internet had outgrown the dot-com bubble of the late 90s, and instead users were going to sites looking for information, talking to others in forums about their interests, and online shopping was becoming the norm.

However, it also meant that a collection of Internet Explorer windows would sit on your taskbar, with no way to organize them.

That's when Firefox came along in 2004 (opens in a new tab), promoting tabs as a way to keep multiple windows in one. These days it's a common feature, but back in 2000 you had to deal with a lot of windows before they crashed due to using up all of your PC's memory.

Privacy has become a right, not a convenience

A demo of Google's new step-by-step privacy control guide

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Pop-ups, banners, Napster, dial-up — they're all throwbacks to a simpler, slower Internet age. But there was also a lot of irritation, as it usually relied on third-party security software to activate a pop-up blocker and firewall to protect your PC from hackers.

When Windows XP Service Pack 2 came to overhaul the operating system's security in 2004, Internet Explorer also received some features like built-in pop-up blocker, etc.

Over the years, other browsers have made sure that privacy is as important a feature as tabs, multiple downloads, and the like. Internet Explorer paved the way for its successor, Microsoft Edge, to work with this, just as Opera, Firefox, and Safari had years before.

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Screenshot of a beta extensions feature being tested in Microsoft Edge

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That's why we're saying goodbye to Internet Explorer and finally letting Microsoft Edge become the company's only web browser.

Sometimes with apps, there comes a time when starting over is better than improving on a decades-old foundation, which is where Edge comes in. Although not as popular as Internet Explorer, Google Chrome is currently the best web browser. market share, Edge focuses on privacy and functionality for the modern age.

Microsoft now sees its apps as services, from Xbox to Edge and even Windows. You want your products to be on as many devices as possible, leaving the choice up to the user. We are a far cry from the Microsoft of the 1990s, where you had to be on a Windows PC to navigate a World Wide Web that primarily supported Internet Explorer to properly view images and web pages.

Fortunately, times have changed and the Internet has morphed into something completely different in the last 30 years.

Here are 30 more, with healthy competition between web browsers, and remembering what Microsoft started in 1995.

Goodbye, Internet Explorer.

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