Today in the history of technology: Microsoft launches Internet Explorer

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August 16, 1995 – Microsoft introduced the first version of its Internet Explorer web browser, but it was not the Google Search Toolbar client that we know of.

Internet Explorer 1 was a modified version of Mosaic, the browser believed by some to be responsible for popularizing the World Wide Web, which Microsoft licensed to the developer and University of Illinois affiliate Spyglass.

As at the time, the browser was rudimentary, offering the most basic web browsing functionality – there was a set of Back and Forward buttons, a refresh toggle, a list of favorites, but not much of it. other.

Eager to overthrow Netscape Navigator, the then market leader, the precursor to Mozilla’s Firefox, Microsoft quickly began to rely on the skills of Explorer, introducing new tools that made the web browsing experience even better. more convenient, like Internet Mail, with Internet Explorer 3.

In the space of a few months, Internet Explorer went from an add-on for Windows 95 to a core operating system feature, built into all new machines, securing it the title of the browser that has enabled the average consumer to to log in.

All you had to do was plug in a modem and you were good to go – no need to pay any fees or install additional software.

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This, however, created a new problem for Microsoft.

Internet Explorer was not free when it was released – it was available as part of Microsoft’s Internet Jumpstart Plus! Kit, and a percentage of each sale went to Spyglass as part of the license agreement. But when it integrated Explorer into Windows, it took away the fees, which resulted in Spyglass’ royalties going down.

At one point, licensing deals for Mosaic Spyglass had been made with Microsoft and other companies, including IBM, grossing $ 20 million a year, but thanks in part to bundling Internet Explorer with Windows licenses, many companies have started to switch to the free web browser, which has had the effect of reducing this revenue stream.

On top of that, Spyglass, suspecting it was not being paid a fair rate, therefore demanded an audit of Microsoft’s accounts – the resulting dispute ended with Microsoft offering a paycheck for $ 8 million.

Later versions of Internet Explorer, up to version 7, were released with a message recognizing Spyglass as the author of the underlying code for the web browser, and Internet Explorer itself has reached version 11, which has was replaced by Microsoft Edge in 2015.

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