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25 years of Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.0



25 years of Internet Explorer: how Microsoft entered the browser wars

25 years of Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.0.

Microsoft released Internet Explorer 3.0 25 years ago, on August 13, 1996, marking its entry into the ongoing ‘Browser Wars’. The tech giant has already announced that it will retire its Internet Explorer 11 desktop application on June 15, 2022, a month before its 26th anniversary. And while he might be dating, it’s worth remembering the story of his arrival and eventually taking the world by storm. And who better to do that than one of the first team members who worked on its launch. Hadi Partovi, now a technology investor and CEO of, tweeted on August 14 that Internet Explorer 3.0 was Microsoft’s first real salvo in the “Browser Wars.” Partovi was only 22 when he joined Microsoft and the team was “only 9 people and desperately trying to grow” as quickly as possible. “I remember a question they asked me in every interview:” How soon can you start? “”

Back then, Partovi says Netscape Navigator had a 95 percent market share and was the “darling” of the tech industry. “They were famously working on ‘internet time’. We were almost two years late and needed to catch up,” he wrote.

Here’s something Partovi learned about running from his then-boss Chris Jones, who told him: “There are 3 ways to handle the job that is assigned to you. If you say you will, do it. If you say you can’t, that’s fine. But if you sign up for work and drop the ball, the team fails. Learn to say no. “In addition, he also got to know the meaning of motivation. Bill Gates wrote a memo to all of Microsoft, saying that the Internet Explorer project is critical, asking each team to redirect their work to help the team of Explorer.

Microsoft publicly announced its plans on December 7, 1995. “It was a war. Despite Netscape’s leadership, we said we would match all of its features and even exceed them. We signed partnerships with anyone who helped us, even competitors like Apple and AOL, ”added Partovi. Partovi covered the halls with quotes from Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen: “Netscape will soon reduce Windows to a poorly debugged set of device drivers.” It reminded us that this new startup threatened to destroy all of Microsoft, says Partovi.

We announced our plans publicly on December 7, 1995. Pearl Harbor Day. It was war. Despite Netscape’s leadership, we said we would match all its features and even exceed them. We signed partnerships with anyone who helped us, including competitors like Apple and AOL.

For Partovi personally, this was the starting point of his career and he had the opportunity to learn from the best leaders at Microsoft, such as Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer, and Brad Silverberg. But sadly for him, Microsoft divided the IE team because it thought we “won.”

He added that at Microsoft, it was not a toxic pressure cooker to work against the will. “The leadership worked the hardest of all. Most of us were in our early twenties and it was a starting point for many careers, “he says.

In May 2021, Microsoft announced that it was officially retiring the Internet Explorer web browser and replacing it with Microsoft Edge, which it says is a good replacement for home and office use. The company said Internet Explorer “has been increasingly difficult to support in parallel with modern browsers.”


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