Microsoft's venerable Internet Explorer browser has reached the 20th anniversary since its introduction, but is now being supplanted by a new upstart. Or is it?
IE was introduced to the world in August 1995 as part of an update package for Windows 95, and has been through numerous updates and revamps ever since. The browser's fortunes have waxed and waned from having as much as 95 percent of the market at one point to being third place behind newer rivals. It has also experienced more than its fair share of security woes.
As has often been the case since, IE seems to have been rushed to market when Microsoft suddenly realised it was behind the curve on a developing trend - in this case, the burgeoning popularity of the World Wide Web. The first version was based on code from an early web browser called Spyglass Mosaic, which Microsoft licensed and modified.
Microsoft soon became embroiled in controversy with IE 4.0 when the firm began giving away the browser for free as part of Windows. This may not seem noteworthy today, but most browsers were separate paid-for applications at the time, not included as a standard component with an operating system.
This marked the start of the so-called browser wars, which were chiefly about competition between IE and Netscape Navigator, then the most popular browser. Microsoft's move was portrayed in the media as an attempt to squeeze out rivals like Navigator, since why would you pay for it when IE came free with Windows?
Trouble loomed as Microsoft was accused of trying to use its virtual monopoly of desktop operating systems to gain a similar dominance in web browsing. Legal action was threatened, and eventually the US Department of Justice stepped in to take Microsoft to task over what was seen as anti-competitive behaviour.
Microsoft's response was to have far-reaching consequences. The firm claimed that IE was an integral part of the operating system. Whether it was to justify this or not, Microsoft began integrating parts of the IE code deep into Windows, in order to web-enable the operating system with features such as Active Desktop.
However, integrating IE code into the operating system was to blow up in Microsoft's face later on when it was discovered that this had compromised security and led to a series of high-profile exploits in the early post-millennium years that allowed attackers to install malicious code.
Despite this, Microsoft's strategy worked and IE became the face of the web for almost every Windows user, so much so that enterprise software firms began writing their web-based corporate applications to be compatible with IE and its quirks, rather than official web standards.
Because IE was officially tied to the operating system, five years elapsed between the release of IE 6 with Windows XP and the release of IE 7, which brought much-needed changes such as browser tabs, RSS and improved support for web standards.
However, by this time IE was facing renewed competition from browsers such as Firefox, an open source project which ironically grew out of the ashes of Netscape's demise.
Firefox, and later Google Chrome, have since gradually chipped away at IE's dominance, introducing new features and fixing bugs faster through more rapid development cycles. There has also been an increased emphasis on web standards compliance, which Microsoft has also followed with IE.
Now, IE 11 stands as the latest version, but it has been replaced in Windows 10 by a new default browser, Microsoft Edge, which is claimed to be optimised for the modern web with greater performance and better touch support.
But IE 11 is still being supported by Microsoft for businesses with legacy web applications and cross-platform compatibility. And it seems that the new rendering engine in Microsoft Edge, EdgeHTML, is in fact a fork of the Trident engine in IE 11, with legacy code stripped out. So IE still lives on in a fashion.
Users are told that their non-existent 'iPhoneID' is expiring soon
Expansion of SDK intended to expand Amazon Alexa ecosystem
Locky returns from a prolonged rest with two new variants
AMD lambasted over Radeon RX Vega pricing that will add an extra £100 to RX Vega 56 and 64 graphics cards
Company accused of failing to tell anyone that the launch prices were only introductory offers