A Eulogy for Internet Explorer

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In Better Days: Internet Explorer 4.0 is promoted by Bill Gates in San Francisco in September 1997. Reuters

Dearly beloved, we are gathered online today to pay our final respects to our deceased friend, Internet Explorer. Microsoft marketing chief Chris Capossela announced on Monday that the company will be laying our longtime pal to rest upon the forthcoming release of Windows 10, which will feature a browser with another name. Thus, it is with poignancy we mourn our old buddy, which will go the same way many greats before them have perished in our Information Age, cached somewhere in the Reddit ether.

Oh, Internet Explorer. With your clever circular ring, you, like the Planet Saturn, gestured toward infinite possibilities. I applaud you for beckoning a generation of curiosity and clicks, even if you were also the gateway that led me to commit several terrible Myspace travesties as a teenager. You were more than a lowercase e; you were our (semi) trusty choice for a browser when Chrome wouldn’t give us the time of day, or when that jerk Mozilla Firefox would tut about and demand too many daily updates to function properly. With both you and your dysfunctional cousin Netscape gone, who will be our back-burner browser now?

I hope you know that your slow death is not in vain. Microsoft has tried to resurrect you multiple times with branding campaigns, and nifty features like tab pinning and a helpful built-in download management system. Heck, your marketing team even tried the heart-wrenching route, with a memorable advertisement from two years ago poking fun at your own slow speed during our generation’s grimiest decade, the '90s.

Your shaky search engine and Ask Jeeves shortcut just couldn’t compete. It was time.

While you’ll be around in spirit and at the whim of a few select enterprises, let’s face it: Chrome has the sleek aesthetic approach, the added bonus of Google alerts and a simple, easy-to-use interface. Your Windows 10 successor, bearing the mysterious code name Project Spartan, has some large shoes to fill. While Spartan is making the right promises—extension support, the ability to annotate online, and the helpful Cortana integration—it’s possible that they may be empty, or that people may not be receptive to their charms.

Yes, the future is uncertain. But let’s raise a virtual lighter for our beloved Internet Explorer, a blue beacon of discovery, forever available in the unnatural midnight light of a computer screen. Farewell, old friend.