“A small boy, who was a stickler for the literal truth, once said to me that it was wrong to say ‘Goodbye’ when you had not enjoyed yourself at a party. I inquired what should be substituted for it. He suggested ‘Bad-bye.’ I have never tried this.” — Arthur Ponsonby
Bad-bye, Internet Explorer. Microsoft has consigned you to the MySpace elephant graveyard of abandoned, formerly ubiquitous Internet Things.
You were the Great Gatsby of browsers, in the sense that no one will show up to mourn you. You were the U2 of browsers, in the sense that you, too, downloaded yourself onto computers where you were not asked for or wanted.
I would say you will be missed, but that would be a lie. Overlooked, maybe. But not missed.
And this makes a nice change. The Internet is full enough of nostalgia as it is — nostalgia for old memes (remember Rickrolls?), old hosting sites (remember Angelfire?), old social media hangouts (gosh, MySpace!). The online neighborhood where we spend most of our time together is always changing, generally for the better, but we still have soft spots for the old hangouts. Yes, AOL was crotchety and made horrible, horrible sounds when you logged on, connecting the lightning to the key or making the icon run slowly from square to square, but, in retrospect, this old inconvenience has a certain charm.
Internet Explorer is exempt from this.
I think it is generally safe to say that no one wanted to use Internet Explorer. The thing that made it so popular was inertia. It was the browser for people whose passwords were “password” and whose desktop backdrops were still that lush field with the oversaturated blue sky. It was not a choice. It was the most popular browser for reasons akin to why PowerPoint is the most popular tool for making PowerPoint presentations. The instant we had a choice, we got away as quickly as we could.
Bad-bye, IE. Your initials were the sound that we made whenever we discovered that you were what we had to use to get online.
Now even Microsoft realizes this, and it is dropping the name, at least, like a biscuit with a roach on it. But Internet Explorer by any other name — for crying out loud, it was already Netscape Navigator by another name. It was what came out when you put Netscape Navigator into a thesaurus — would smell just the same. Like skunk cabbage.