Internet Explorer, the longtime pioneer of Internet exploration whose accomplishments included introducing a generation of web users to the Space Jam website and the Hamster Dance, died this week at 26.
Long known as one of the first trailblazers of what many college mass com professors still unironically call "the World Wide Web," Internet Explorer was an early surveyor of some of the farthest-flung corners of the vast expanses of the Internet, including Lycos, eBay and some of the earliest-known Super Bowl commercials published to the web in the ancient MPEG-2 form.
For years, a mystery to most users of the Apple Macintosh, Internet Explorer eventually achieved broad popularity on most mainstream computing systems, due in large part to what experts said was an appealing logo featuring a bright blue "E" with an ionized tail circling around it.
The browser, launched by early Microsoft wunderkind Thomas Reardon, long outlasted its contemporary rivals including MacWeb, Netscape Navigator, and Oracle PowerBrowser.
But it struggled in later years to maintain its relevance, losing critical market share to upstarts such as Safari, Google Chrome, and Firefox, though it retained a core dedicated user base of people who still used Windows ME.
Upon announcement of the browser's death, tributes poured in from around the world, including one particularly dedicated fan in Korea:
A Korean software engineer couldn't pass up an opportunity to dunk on Microsoft's now-defunct Internet Explorer web browser. ..
Jung Ki-young decided to commemorate Internet Explorer's demise by spending $330 on a headstone.
He then designed it to include the "e" logo just above the epitaph: "He was a good tool to download other browsers."
Hats off to you, Internet Explorer: You did well. Rest easy.
And remember: True legends of the Internet never die. They just have their history erased.
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