Last week, Microsoft ended support for Internet Explorer, nearly 27 years after its first release in 1995. It was around the same time the Netscape browser came out, and anyone using the web around that time remembers the browser wars, non-standards-compliance, all kinds of tricks to get pages to load in one or the other browser, and of course........ BUTTONS!
Instead of walking through the long sordid history of IE, which you can read about on a hundred other sites or wikipedia, let's visit the wayback machine and see what Microsoft was up to 25 years ago.
First up... An Internet Tutorial! Actually I was all set to make fun of how quaint and rudimentary it was but, uh, it's actually not bad. It's very basic, but then wouldn't you expect that from an "introduction to the web"? Kudos to Microsoft on a fine tutorial with some fine graphics and an unconventional table layout. And kudos to the World Wide Web for sticking with the same terminology 25 years later. Go us.
Next up, Bill Gate's bio page, complete with a photo from a high school photographer (Olan Mills?) and a search box for microsoft.com, aka Bill Gates' Web Site. It is kind of cool that you can check out his speeches, like the transcript from a 30 year old speech about what 2005 would hold in store, although I'm guessing they're posted elsewhere.. Bill Gates' Other Web Site maybe.
Judge for yourself whether he got things right or not. The government jumping on the web and eliminating the need for lines? Hm. Privacy as a major concern? Guess that would've aged much worse if it came from Larry Page or Mark Zuckerberg, but still...
There were pages that listed fun facts about microsoft.com and the hardware running it. Basically, they just kept chaining together Compaq computers with a half gig of RAM each, serving requests over a handful of 10MB/s lines... using only the best software! More visitors? Not a problem. "We're gonna need another Compaq!"
But let's get back to the reason you're really here - to download IE 4 for Windows 95. Before you do though, double-check those requirements. If you want everything, you'll need 24 MB of RAM, 100 MB of disk space, and about 3 hours to download it on that 56k modem. ☎
Don't worry though. In reality, IE isn't really gone. Not as long as it lives on in the hearts of web developers. And until those extended support updates run out in a year or two. And then there's IE mode until at least 2029...
I'm starting to think IE will never truly die. 🤔