Date: May 30th, 2003
Cate: Geekism

Microsoft announces IE is dead

There have been rumors, but Zeldman found the official word: IE is dead. Version 6, Service Pack 1 is the last “standalone” version they will ever release. Get used to all those bugs, cause they’re going to be there for a while. Like, forever.

Q: when / will there be the next version of IE?

A: As part of the OS, IE will continue to evolve, but there will be no future standalone installations. IE6 SP1 is the final standalone installation.

Q: Why is this? the anti-trust?

A: Although this is off topic, I will answer briefly: Legacy OSes have reached their zenith with the addition of IE 6 SP1. Further improvements to IE will require enhancements to the underlying OS.

I read this as meaning they’re going to “integrate” the browser more deeply than ever, starting probably in Longhorn. But they stopped working on the standalone IE a long time ago. So unless in your world everybody is going to upgrade to Longhorn in an orderly fashion, (here’s a hint: I’m writing this on a Win98 machine,) this means we’ll be dealing with the enormous suckitude of IE6 for quite some time.

Those of you stuck in IE land:

UPGRADE to the latest official Netscape, complete with all your favorite plugins!

UPGRADE to the latest Mozilla, the full featured and most advanced browser suite going!

UPGRADE to the new Mozilla Firebird, an easy to use, simplified, standalone browser!

Or if you’re on a Mac, UPGRADE to the impressive new Safari!

IE doesn’t just suck for us, the hapless web developers, it also sucks for YOU, the user. All the browsers I just linked to have popup blocking, tabbed browsing, enhanced privacy controls, better support for web standards, fewer security holes, more vibrant developer communities, and are just all around WAY BETTER.

In comparison, IE is GARBAGE. And Microsoft has abandoned you.


  1. May 31st, 2003

  2. Microsoft’s quest for world domination continues with integrated browsers.

    Can they do anything more to make themselves un-popular?


  3. AnonymousAnonymous  
    June 1st, 2003

  4. Nice propaganda. By the way, Netscape is also dead. Didn\’t you read the news about the agreement between MS and AOL?


    As I see it the browser war is over and now the desktop war is on. Just recently, for example, the Munich city council decided to move 14.000 desktops from Windows to Linux. Now is the time to push XUL forward. What is XUL? HTML is the markup for browsers and XUL is the markup for desktops. Find out more at the XUL Alliance site @


  5. PerePere  
    June 3rd, 2003

  6. It\’s funny that \”And Microsoft has abandoned you\”, when just before it is recommended the use, on a Mac, of Safari, wich only works on MacOSX, like any new sotware made by Apple. Somehow users of Windows 98 will be forced to upgrade to a better Windows, shame on Bill Gates; users of MacOS 8 or 9 already are, literally (without the somehow), forced to upgrade to MacOS X (and its patches), and this seems to be cool. I don\’t know what Steve Jobs has that everything he does seems to be cool, even being crap. For less, Bill Gates would be buried alive. It\’s surprising how people who spend so much efforts attacking Explorer (or any Microsoft product) and suggesting the use of other browsers keep using Explorer (the author of this article refers to \”us\” as the victims of the Microsoft policy), when it\’s so easy to get a free license of Linux, to use it and to leave in peace those who keep using Microsoft products. Unless they think they have been called to save the world.


  7. stevesteve  
    June 3rd, 2003

  8. OS X has been out since 2001, and it\’s true that Steve Jobs has declared all previous versions \’dead\’.

    But Microsoft has abandoned ALL their current users. Even if they are willing to upgrade to Longhorn the second it comes out, that won\’t be until 2005 (at the earliest)! They\’re supposed to keep using the slowly bit-rotting IE6 for the next 2 years? <John Stossel>Oh, come on!</John Stossel>

    I just suggest that during this long drought of browser updates from Microsoft, they should try one of the alternatives. They\’re free, they don\’t take over your system, they uninstall easily, and they are MAINTAINED.


  9. PerePere  
    June 3rd, 2003

  10. Well, for me it is worst what happened to all mac users, I\’m wondering what would have happened if Bill Gates released a new operative system with zero compatibility with the actual Windows, something like \”Ok, from now on forget about all the software you bought for your Windows, because it won\’t run anymore in our shinning new OS\”. But it was not Microsoft who did that, so lets accept it. I don\’t really understand your anger against the fact that Explorer won\’t be mantained anymore (maybe you could tell me if all those alternative browsers you mention are mantained for MacOS 9, or if its users have been also \”abandoned\”), if for you Explorer is GARBAGE (sic) I assume you are not using it, so you could orient your efforts to more constructive things. You seem very concerned about it, although you must not be using this \”slowly bit-rotting IE6\”. If you talk from the web developer point of view, there are worst browsers concerning web standards, mantained or not (have you ever tried to make a page be rendered properly with OmniWeb? or maybe you ignore the small percentage of users of OmniWeb with the same arrogance some others ignore any non-Explorer users?). Talking about other browsers, this reminds me that piece of crap called Netscape Navigator 4; how long Netscape users had to wait between the last and UNMANTAINED Communicator and the first decent release of Netscape 6? Ah, but that was Netscape, not Microsoft, so those years \”abandoned\” with that piece of useless software called Communicator didn\’t deserve any complain at all.

    Before you assume anything wrong, I don\’t use Explorer (only to test things), I don\’t think Explorer is garbage, but I don\’t like too much, so I don\’t use it. I\’m quite happy with Mozilla. There is software that I like and use and will use while it gives me what I need; and there is software I will never use, but this doesn\’t make me start a holly crusade against it. For instance: I think that linux usability, for a desktop machine, is far away from Windows, so I have Windows XP installed in my pc; in the other hand, I think that linux is much, much better as a server than Windows, so I have linux running on the servers I own. Things are easy, you like it and it works like you expect and need? Then use it. If not, don\’t use it.


  11. stevesteve  
    June 3rd, 2003

  12. Did you know that Netscape continued to maintain 4.x even after 6 and 7 were released? The most recent release was 4.8, last year, around the same time IE6 SP1 came out!

    From the web developer point of view, IE6 is a big problem. Its support for modern web standards is now the worst among modern, mainstream browsers. Even OmniWeb is set to surpass IE in their upcoming releases.

    From the user point of view, IE6 works OK, but there are much better alternatives out there.

    The purpose of my post is to alert everybody to this surprising announcement that standalone IE is NEVER going to get any better than it is now. And to remind them that there are other browers out there that are being improved every day, that they should try.


    For layout and standards-compliance – yes IE sucks. But I continue to use it for actual \”web work\” for one major reason: NO OTHER browser has such a flexible bookmarks system.

    Once Mozilla offers that kind of power and flexibility, I\’ll switch; now I use it only 25%, 30% at most, of the time.


  13. Daniel BarclayDaniel Barclay  
    June 3rd, 2003

  14. Isn\’t Netscape 4\’s bookmark management a lot better than IE\’s?

    (I too will fully switch to Mozilla when its boomark management gets better.)


  15. stevesteve  
    June 3rd, 2003

  16. Huh. I only use the \”toolbar\” bookmarks, which seem to be the same between IE and Mozilla.


  17. J J  
    June 3rd, 2003

  18. Supposedly the upcoming Mozilla 1.4 will have a retooled bookmarking system…and Mozilla 1.5, based on the Firebird browser, will see a lot more changes with bookmarking as time goes on, as that will become the focus of development.

    I\’m incredibly disappointed that Microsoft has stopped innovating their browser; it\’s clear that they\’re just sitting on their monopoly power. Pathetic…if the alternative browser movement doesn\’t really kick into gear soon, I fear for the future of the relevance of the W3C and other standards organizations, because the only standards organization that will truly matter will be Microsoft because of their market dominance, and that\’s just BAD.


  19. PerePere  
    June 4th, 2003

  20. How many years between 4.7 and 4.8? Did Netscape 4.8 solved a single bug of one of the enormous quantity that 4.7 had? Have Netscape ever realized that Communicator has been the main reason that made them lose the browser war and prevented many users to even give a chance to Netscape 6/7?

    I don\’t think IE6 is a big problem (if for \”big problem\” we mean what NN 4 was for web developers), it can have some lacks but mostly pages coded following the standards work. The pages I program work perfectly with Explorer (Mac, Win) and Netscape/Mozilla (Mac, Win and Unix); some things work even better with Explorer than with Mozilla (play with the position of layers and ilayers and you will see them blinking). I can\’t say the same about the other browsers, I gave up of optimizing pages for Opera for instance. If I had a list of garbage browsers Explorer wouldn\’t be certainly on the top. If you have a look at you will see that Explorer (for Mac, sorry I didn\’t find a comparative table for Windows browsers) is not the worst, the new Safari must be \”impressive\” only from the screenshots (like any other Apple product).

    Another thing is if you like or not the Microsoft policy or their behaviour that can be considered abusive, but like I said this is not exclusive from Microsoft.


  21. June 4th, 2003

  22. I have a variety of customers. Some wish me to create a site as \”groovy\” as possible and only support one browser and others need support for the oldest of browsers since they don\’t want to chase off any potential customers. As long as there are any older browsers out there (which will be years), we will continue to have to code using code that has been deprecated years. I noticed a lot of discussion about standards. I understand the complaints, but the truth is that standards are only as good as the browsers that implement them. If IE is 90% (I just picked that out of the air) of browsers in use, then IE *is the* standard and W3C is irrelevant. It reminds me of the United Nations… their decisions only matter if everyone (especially the biggest players) agrees.


  23. June 7th, 2003

  24. >> play with the position of layers and ilayers and you will see them blinking

    first off IE doesn\’t support ilayers,

    second, IE6\’s box model is incredibly hosed. IE6 is the primary reason the world hasn\’t shifted to layer based designs already. I\’m sorry, but seeing someone praise IE6\’s layer capabilities, when it\’s the primary reason why this is all bad news is just incredible.


  25. June 8th, 2003

  26. Er…I was trying to think of something to say in support of windows, and came up with this. Thank god for Mac OS X since it does everything better than the truly awful windows..oh!!..except crash


  27. June 9th, 2003

  28. Sorry, I meant iframes instead of ilayers. My fault.

    Well, when saying \”layers\” I mean \”divs\”. Play with them via JavaScript, sliding, moving them, changing its content dinamically… it works better with Explorer than Mozilla. Or maybe you can show us some examples that prove the opposite.

    Concerning Mac OS X… it crashes man, it crashes (like it crashed MacOS 9 in spite they used to sell it saying that it never crashed). In fact, the Mac we have here uses to crash more often than my Windows XP. And doing things better than the \”truly awful Windows\”… you should tell wich things are those. Take the faster double processor G4 with Mac OS X on it (or one of its patches; patches use to correct mistakes and bugs and you see, they and are not exclusive from Microsoft) and, with the money it costs, get a double processor pentium machine with Windows X, and then compare their performance.


  29. PerePere  
    June 10th, 2003

  30. Concerning the Macs Os X issue, this url is extremly funny:,1282,51926,00.html


  31. June 10th, 2003

  32. Please consider the FREE IE add-on\”powercons\”:

    This set of free Internet Explorer browser tools provides user control over many display functions. This toolbox innovation is based on a five year-old, yet under-developed (and unreported by any news organization) \”Bug\” in the Internet explorer browser that enables a large quantity of JavaScript to be injected into a web document. The beta (constantly improving) toolbox provides fast, seamless, control over font size, images, links, cookies and most other basic web page elements.


  33. June 17th, 2003

  34. every thing is changing in this comp world if u cannot make your own living make ur own future make ur own soft_hard u are finished


    comment I have read that the browser upgrade initiative has been discontinued. Perhaps it should be revived with emphasis on installing a browser other than IE


  35. TomTom  
    June 22nd, 2003

  36. IE rules PERIOD.


  37. Felix AtagongFelix Atagong  
    July 10th, 2003

  38. Browsers: 95% of all surfers use Internet Explorer or an IE clone. 6 out of 10 use version 6.x. The Gecko-browsers only represent 2 to 3%. Opera: 1,2%. Source: Chuck Upsdell\’s Browsernews.


  39. stevesteve  
    July 10th, 2003

  40. 100% of all users of all current versions of Windows and Mac OS will never be able to upgrade their IE to a version beyond 6.x (5 for Mac). 6 out or 10 are already sitting at this dead end.

    The Gecko, Opera and KHTML based browsers represent 95% of the innovation currently going on in web browsers and web standards.


  41. Arthur Van De LayArthur Van De Lay  
    July 10th, 2003

  42. This must be your longest running thread…
    The reason I remain with IE is that some webites I use at work only support IE. Essentially this is the same reason that I don\’t use a Mac. -The Mac may be better, but my applications require a PC. Opera/Mozilla may be better (and IE may be GARBAGE), but IE will run the applications, and Opera or Mozilla won\’t.
    Innovation is nice, but if the websites I\’m using require IE, then I don\’t have a compelling reason to switch.


  43. stevesteve  
    July 10th, 2003

  44. That\’s why you should have both! Use the better one for 95% of your browsing, and fire up the junk one when you get to a broken website.

    It\’s not like you\’ll be able to uninstall IE anyway!


  45. Arthur Van De LayArthur Van De Lay  
    July 11th, 2003

  46. Is a website \”broken\” when it\’s functioning as the programmer intended? – The programmers program for IE, it works for IE but nothing else. I wouldn\’t call that broken – it\’s working as it was intended.

    Just as an aside, Microsoft did do something good with IE — They made it FREE – Don\’t know about the Mac platform, but on Windows before IE, all the browser companies were charging for the browser software (unless you were a student/non-profit). Now they\’re all free.


  47. stevesteve  
    July 11th, 2003

  48. If it is a public website, and a programmer designed it for only one browser, it may be working as designed, but the design itself is broken.

    If it is an internal company web application, then it\’s reasonable to design it for only one browser.


  49. September 14th, 2003

  50. You could download NetCaptor, it\’s a very good browser that only uses IE\’s core… So no software bugs, and still software-updates… The only catch? It\’s shareware. :\’(


  51. September 14th, 2003

  52. My take? MS isn\’t done yet. First, a little biased background. IE is a first generation browser. IE doesn\’t really have any major UI enhancements over the original Mosaic browser. Second generation browsers have tabs like NetCaptor and others (NetCaptor was the first – Opera, Mozilla, Netscape, Safari, and others added them much later). Microsoft can\’t take IE to the next level without adding tabs.

    Here\’s the kicker – MS can\’t add tabs without making major changes to the Windows shell. IE\’s great strength was its integration with Windows, but that\’s now its greatest weakness. MS can\’t add tabs to IE without adding tabs to Windows, and I think that\’s exactly what they will do. Countryman said: \”Further improvements to IE will require enhancements to the underlying OS\”.

    Pasted from the Netcaptor Site…


  53. OverlordOverlord  
    January 21st, 2004

  54. Tabbed browsing is the gayest thing to ever be invented, k thx.


  55. January 30th, 2005

  56. I can’t see why Microsoft wouldn’t build tabs in windows. Their standard business practice has always been to take one idea, watch what the market is attracted to, and then redesign that idea to match what the competitors have identified. In this case, it appears that the browser-wars…Are back.


  57. ScottScott  
    February 8th, 2005

  58. I thought this was an interesting blog until I saw all of the defensive garbage piled on by the M*Soft propogandists. Sure point you finger at Apple. The fact is, though, that if you have ever written something more than basic HTML you know that IE is truly and without a doubt the WORST browser on the market by a longshot! The fact that it has such a majority only means that IE suckitude has brought the internet to a standstill in terms of innovation. You want to see progress? Figure out how to get 50% of the people to drop IE and you’ll see innovation again.


  59. Matthew RodriguezMatthew Rodriguez  
    December 6th, 2005

  60. I really would like sheet music to the easy version of the Mario Theme Song (for beginners). I would like it if one of the people here could possibly reply to me with a website or something.