This Day in Tech History

On This Day . . .

This Means War!

P01_00-BrowserWars

November 27, 1995: Microsoft Ships Internet Explorer 2.0

Microsoft releases Internet Explorer 2.0 for Windows 95 and Windows NT 3.5. IE 2.0 was still based on licensed code from Spyglass Mosaic, but was the first IE version to support now-common features such as SSL, JavaScript, and cookies.

It was also the first version to allow the importing of bookmarks from Netscape Navigator, which at the time had a virtual monopoly on the web browser market. This was the first inklings of the “browser war” that was soon to erupt over the next few years.

The First Browser WarWeb-Browser-War

By mid-1995 the World Wide Web had received a great deal of attention in popular culture and the mass media. Netscape Navigator was the most widely used web browser and Microsoft had licensed Mosaic to create Internet Explorer 1.0. which it had released as part of the Microsoft Windows 95 Plus! Pack in August.

Internet Explorer 2.0 was released as a free download three months later. Unlike Netscape Navigator it was available to all Windows users for free, even commercial companies.

Other companies later followed and gave their browsers away for free. New versions of Internet Explorer and Netscape (branded as Netscape Communicator) were released at a rapid pace over the following few years.

browser-war

Development was rapid and new features were routinely added, including Netscape’s JavaScript and proprietary HTML tags.

Internet Explorer began to approach feature parity with Netscape with version 3.0 (1996), which offered scripting support and the market’s first commercial Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) implementation.

mozilla-uber-alles

In October 1997, Internet Explorer 4.0 was released. The release party in San Francisco featured a ten-foot-tall letter “e” logo. Netscape employees showing up to work the following morning found the giant logo on their front lawn, with a sign attached that read “From the IE team … We Love You”. The Netscape employees promptly knocked it over and set a giant figure of their Mozilla dinosaur mascot atop it, holding a sign reading “Netscape 72, Microsoft 18” representing the market distribution.

Web_browser_usage_on_Wikimedia

 

 

 

Internet Explorer 4 changed the tides of the browser wars. It was integrated into Microsoft Windows, which some considered technologically disadvantageous and an apparent exploitation of Microsoft’s monopoly on the PC platform. Users were discouraged from using competing products because IE was “already there” on their PCs.

2013_08_05_Browser

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