back to article Internet Explorer 3.0 turns 25. One of its devs recalls how it ended marriages – and launched amazing careers

Microsoft's first serious attempt at a web browser, Internet Explorer 3.0, turned 25 on August 13. And one of the engineers on the team that created it – Hadi Partovi – has revealed how the product came to be, the mad rush to get it to market, and the cost of that effort. The launch of Internet Explorer 3.0 was an important …

  1. John Riddoch

    IE also won because Netscape 4.x tried to do too much and did most of it badly. Netscape browser was decent, but they tried to throw email, usenet and $DEITY knows what functionality at it, clogging it up and slowing down the core function of web browsing. IE5 was about the time that it was actually a better experience than Netscape was and that killed it off. While ActiveX had its problems, so did Java. They both sucked, just in different ways.

    As Partovi says, it then stagnated and didn't really improve until Firefox and Chrome began to be challenge them. With Edge now using the Chromium engine, they've basically admitted defeat.

    1. sreynolds

      There we no winnes only losers

      Yeah it was such a fair fight, and nobody abused their market position. And because of that we have these behemoths like MS FB APL AWS and ABC.

    2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      I remember Netscape. I liked it at the time.

      Then it went from okay, to bad, to worse.

      The day I had to use IE to open my Netscape mail, I uninstalled Netscape.

      I think that's when I switched to Firefox. Don't remember.

      But I do remember having avoided using IE as much as humanly possible.

      1. DaveMcM
        Facepalm

        I worked at a dial up ISP back in the mid 90s and frequently had to deal with customers who encountered a wonderful "feature" in Netscape's email client - when the scheduled "check for new email" event occurred it failed to check that is wasn't already still downloading emails from the last "check for new email" event, so if you had a slow modem and lots of email it would get itself caught in a loop continuously downloading and duplicating the same emails.

        1. Agamemnon

          Oi. I actually recall that one.

          I build the first independent ISP in central California (Stockton/Lodi[of "stuck in fame"], Manteca and Modesto) and it was all 56k moderns except for a few businesses running ISDN <ooooo, 128k bonded ... Giddy joy>.

          Their email system was crap. It barely did POP3 and University of Washington was pushing IMAP and that was Worse.

          If you had IMAP you were screwed. If you had POP3 sweet to fifteen minutes for a mail check residually if some asshole sent you a 1MB (pdf, gif, etc).

          I could watch the logs...

          C. Send me mail.

          S. I'm giving you the email you asked for.

          C. Send me mail.

          S. I'm sending you mail.

          C. Send me mail.

          S. Know what? Fuck off.

          It's why I still use (Al)Pine to get stuff done.

    3. daveak2021

      Please explain how having email slowed down the core function of web browsing in anything but a superficial way, i.e. not email client needs to poll the mail server every so often. Likewise usenet.

      1. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
        Holmes

        "Please explain how having email slowed down the core function of web browsing in anything but a superficial way"

        I believe the OP's point was that the developers lost focus and chose to add secondary features rather than improving the core browser experience. Fortunately, this lesson has been thoroughly learned by modern developers who never replicate the same error.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          That's a very generous interpretation when the context of the sentence is the core function of the browser, not development of it. The core function being, browse web pages.

      2. Agamemnon

        Because it was built into the browser as Core.

        Mozilla would eventually split it out into Thunderbird and Microsoft would make Outlook but it was originally integrated.

        Email could, would, and cheerfully did, kill your fucking browser by polling the email server(s) while you were doing other things.

        It's why those tasks were separated into different attested agents.

        IMAP can be rough... Polling IMAP in your browser every five minutes is murder on the client, the network, and the server... In 1997.

    4. el_oscuro
      Boffin

      Netscape got doomed because they decided to rewrite all of their code from scratch - and learned that most of that old kludgy code was bug fixes.

      https://www.joelonsoftware.com/2000/04/06/things-you-should-never-do-part-i/

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Good advice in that link but I remember one project where we didn't throw away enough of the old code.

      2. TheFifth

        I remember the release of Netscape 6, which was the product of this code rewrite. I desperately wanted to like it as I'd had enough of MS and believed in what Mozilla was doing. It was however deeply disappointing being slow and buggy as hell. I did persist though and by 6.2 it was usable. Unfortunately by that time IE 6 had been released, which looking back was obviously terrible, but at the time it blew Netscape out of the water.

        Thank $DEITY for Firefox a short while later! Still use Firefox today as I prefer its developer tools to those in Blink based browsers.

    5. Blackjack Silver badge

      Netscape installer had the bad habit on installing too much junk, like Winamp. That sure everyone liked Winamp back then but people wanted just a web browser.

  2. Andrew53

    I think I still have my IE3 "Midnight Madness" t-shirt somewhere...

  3. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge
    Trollface

    Tombstone for Internet Explorer on Reddit (posted by yours truly) :

    https://www.reddit.com/r/Sysadminhumor/comments/nihkvo/tombstone_for_internet_explorer/

  4. karlkarl Silver badge

    The only time I tried IE was version 5.x on Solaris.

    I actually quite liked it. Netscape and early Firefox were also pretty light and fast back then too so it was quite an exciting time. Browsers were improving and there was a lot of competition to do so.

    Now it is just all shite. I have no idea what happened haha.

    1. AMBxx Silver badge

      Version 4 was when IE became good. Netscape felt very dated as soon as you'd used IE4.

      IE5 very little changed - just the forgotten 'channels' feature.

      Then MS stopped innovating as they thought they'd won.

      1. Monochrome

        IE5 brought 'auto complete' for form fields. Can't imagine the web without it now.

    2. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      One idea of what happened...

      Browsers because targeted advert display software, made by ad-sellers with built-in tracking to provide some excuse to charge extra for (badly) targeting the adverts.

    3. Agamemnon

      I recall IE on SUN. Most of my gear including my home Sparc 25 was Solaris.

      I said at the time: "You can hold a gun to my head but I'll not be installing Microsoft Code on my SUN Boxes... Have you lost it? Should I call a shrink, or the sheriff's office (while backing away slowly, have very not threatening, edging to door).

  5. richardcox13
    Mushroom

    > This wasn’t a toxic pressure cooker of working against one’s will.

    Sounds like the author was so happy with the success t hat followed, they forgot that management pressure that lead to such a toxic environment.

    Just the frog not noticing the temperature rise does not mean it wasn't rising.

    "Only two divorces"... and how many almost divorces?

    When you accept this work place culture and accept it because of some success for someone else, makes you part of the problem.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      More or less what l saw in the story. "only 2 divorces", they may have happened anyway but who's to say the pressure didn't push people over the edge. I think most major software teams that make world famous software are pressure cookers. Most of us just work hard jobs that have ups and downs but at big guns you go there young with nothing to lose 'cos you'll make a ton of cash early but also age 10 years in 12 months from the pressure. Like pro footballers, you gotta make it while you're young and can take it punishment, there's no way most of us can do those 36 hour straight hacking sessions by the time we hit 30+, lucky if I can hack away for more than 3 hours straight these days let alone sit up for days cranking out the code.

  6. NightFox

    I remember having finally got my 14,000 baud dial-up modem and my Demon Internet account details through the post (having filled in, cut out and sent off a form in the back of a book), connecting to THE INTERNET... then staring at a blank screen with a command line prompt. I phoned Demon's helpline to find out what was wrong, where was the information superhighway? to be told that was expected behaviour. I now needed to open up my browser. My what? My browser. Oh,.. what's that then?

    So then a trip to Escom and £50 paid for Microsoft Plus! (sic) to get Internet Explorer 1 (that on the back of the £80 I'd recently spent on Windows 95). That was money I barely had back then - the irony was that within a year or so virtually everywhere you turned an ISP was trying push a free CD with their customised version of IE under your nose.

    1. jake Silver badge

      "the irony was that I should have taken the hint and learned to navigate at the command line."

      FTFY

      1. NightFox

        Nah, I had a life back then.

        1. jake Silver badge

          In my mind, "having a life" includes learning to use the tools at my disposal so I don't waste my valuable time struggling with things that I don't understand.

      2. doublelayer Silver badge

        And tell me, where would someone have learned how to do that and obtained a command line browser that ran on Windows 95? Perhaps by connecting to one of the online systems?

        1. jake Silver badge

          "where would someone have learned how to do that"

          Call Demon and ask. They had the best tech support in the business.

          "and obtained a command line browser that ran on Windows 95?"

          As of August of 1994, Redmond was shipping "Wolverine" for WfWG, that included a TCP/IP stack (so-called "winsock") and command-line FTP program. It was included with Win95.

          So to answer your question, dial up to Demon, and ftp lynx from the University of Kansas. Simples.

          And yes, that's exactly what Demon support would have suggested in 1995 ... although it seems to me they had their own mirror of the Kansas site running on ftp.demon.co.uk/pub/ku/lynx ... failing that, I know for a fact that it was available at a SunSITE mirror near you.

          "Perhaps by connecting to one of the online systems"

          The OP already was connected to Demon.

          1. Lon24 Silver badge

            Alternate Facts ... Alternate Universe

            Oh, the Demon days ... and I got a Win95 disk from being a Microsoft Partner or some sort of agreement at the time. It had a browser unlike my early clients who didn't have one by default.

            But I would swear it was MOSAIC not Internet Explorer. I may still have the CD somewhere. I'll boot a machine or a VM if I ever find it to checkout my memory. Anyway the real question was could you get online with a 4 megabyte Win95 machine?

            Spoilt as we were by Demon's CLI MSDOS suite (what was it called?) which gave lightening access to usenet & email on a 640 kilobyte PC. What else would one want in life? Surely not that cludged creepy WWW thingy. How the hell was that going to catch on?

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      I thought then pretty much everyone downloaded Netscape with FTP and was ether a student or evaluating it... for rather more than 90 days.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Pretty much. Until Netscape's employees saw the light and the Mozilla thing happened.

  7. jake Silver badge

    Point of Order.

    "by the time the woeful version 6.0 came long it gave Microsoft years of trouble and a reputation of foisting shabby software on its customers."

    Microsoft had a reputation of foisting shoddy software on its customers long before Gates & Co. discovered the Internet, much less attempted to create a web browser.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: Point of Order.

      And it hasn't gotten better since.

    2. Sandtitz Silver badge

      Re: Point of Order.

      "Microsoft had a reputation of foisting shoddy software on its customers long before Gates & Co. discovered the Internet, much less attempted to create a web browser."

      True.

      Then again I can't come with (m)any examples of companies that ship only excellent software.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Point of Order.

        "Then again I can't come with (m)any examples of companies that ship only excellent software."

        They exist. Their code isn't inexpensive, though, so consumers aren't interested.

  8. DJV Silver badge

    "the mad rush to get it to market"

    Ah yes, that would explain the version that was built for Windows 3.1 eating/leaking memory so badly that you had to shut Windows down after about half an hour of surfing otherwise everything crawled to a halt. I worked in IT support at the time and we'd bought licences for Netscape Navigator just before IE3 came along as a freebie.

    1. Valeyard

      Re: "the mad rush to get it to market"

      you had to shut Windows down after about half an hour of surfing

      We paid by the minute though, 30 minutes online would have my mother ready to pull the plug for the day

  9. Howard Sway Silver badge

    Sadly, there were divorces and broken families and bad things

    If you mention this after all your bragging about how wonderful it was that people were working late into the early hours to write software, almost as if it was a minor downside, it shows a massive failure to comprehend that you've internally accepted that workers are something to be chewed up and spat out once you've squeezed the maximum benefit you can from them. It's entirely this attitude that sees real talent ruined just so some dickhead manager can boast about having met project deadlines, and all because short termism won out over thinking just how much more benefit might have been gained from nurturing that talent wisely over the long term. It's a huge failing in many parts of the industry that this is seen as wise, let alone acceptable behaviour, and they'd do far better by ditching all the "glory for me" management types, stopping the "hero culture" of non stop work and helping people to remember to live a more balanced life for their own good, as well as that of the company.

    1. John Robson Silver badge

      Re: Sadly, there were divorces and broken families and bad things

      It’s possible that people at different stages in their careers/lives see the same environment differently.

      As an early twenties bachelor I didn’t mind pulling late hours, but as a father of young kids it’s a lot less attractive.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sadly, there were divorces and broken families and bad things

        I missed too many days with my children when they were small, being the exciting dad when I returned home at the weekend wasn't enough and returning to churlish teens on a Friday night exhausted then having to drive them around for the evening just made things worse.

      2. richardcox13

        Re: Sadly, there were divorces and broken families and bad things

        Peer pressure can make it very hard to say no: both managers asking, and comparing the effort the "young guys" are putting in.

        And then the Stockholm Syndrome kicks in...

        1. JDX Gold badge

          Re: Sadly, there were divorces and broken families and bad things

          In a team of a few hundred people, you'd probably expect a couple of divorces in a normal year.

          In fact historically as the average working week has got shorter and workers get more rights/holiday/etc, divorce rates have gone up. Of course it's easier to blame your boss for your divorce than yourself.

          1. Spanners Silver badge
            Boffin

            Re: Sadly, there were divorces and broken families and bad things

            fact historically as the average working week has got shorter and workers get more rights/holiday/etc, divorce rates have gone up.

            I would be interested to compare divorce rate trends of the USA, where the working week is not much shorter and they don't get much in the way of mandatory holiday allowances against the rest of the developed world where we do have better working weeks and more holidays.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sadly, there were divorces and broken families and bad things

      I'm a contract PM and sometimes manage projects in this kind of environment. They can be hugely fulfilling and exciting and as long as you know what you are getting into '20's - 40's. I'm not sure I'd have the stamina now though.

      Ironically my divorce came when I stopped managing projects like this. Moving to being home 7 nights a week rather then just 3 showed how far we had grown apart.

      I did calculate that in a 20 year marriage I had spent over 25% of the time working away from home.

      1. DiViDeD Silver badge

        Re: Sadly, there were divorces and broken families and bad things

        Similar for me. After 25 years of earning stupid money, working anywhere from Hemel Hempstead to Zug, Switzerland for days or weeks at a time (and incidentally buying my dream house which I spent almost no time in), working locally and being home every evening and weekend just threw into focus the fact that we had separate lives now, different friends, nothing to share.

    3. Joni Kahara
      Linux

      Re: Sadly, there were divorces and broken families and bad things

      To be fair, in this case they had to ship that browser "already", making any kind of long-term nurturing difficult.

    4. bigtimehustler

      Re: Sadly, there were divorces and broken families and bad things

      I in some respects agree. But a company doesn't exist in isolation. If they have been caught napping and have to get a competitive product out, that's time critical. It doesn't really matter if you have to replace a few employees who couldn't or didn't want to do it. The company might not exist at all unless the product gets out sooner rather than later.

      1. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: Sadly, there were divorces and broken families and bad things

        In this case, that's rubbish. Had Microsoft not written a browser, their OS would have been fine for at least several years while people used someone else's browser. Only if their competition had all decided to include browsers would there be much of a risk, and their competition was very weak at the time. So if they had spent a few more months completing their browser, there wouldn't have been any negatives from it.

        Some places have that need for survival, but even then, there are many reasons not to mistreat the workers. Getting something done with unmotivated workers is hard, but getting something done when your workers quit because you're making them work all hours is impossible. Your company's survival, even if that's at stake, is not what the workers most care about. They're focused on their own survival, so it would help you if you tie the two together. If they benefit as you do, meaning that neither group is completely ignoring what is best for both sides, then you'll get a better result.

    5. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Sadly, there were divorces and broken families and bad things

      And all of that for IE3 which at that stage it was pretty much a port of Spyglass Mosaic with a different theme. If you're going to screw up your private life over something, it might as well be a new non-polluting energy source which saves humanity, not porting a bloody browser.

    6. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

      Re: Sadly, there were divorces and broken families and bad things

      When I saw that on the subject line, I was thinking along the lines of the wife finding the browsing history tab.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Sadly, there were divorces and broken families and bad things

        Back then, it would have been the "subscribed groups" list. The HTTP server set hadn't figured out pr0n yet.

        There were a few a.b.p.e.* archives at Unis world-wide that were browsable. Briefly.

    7. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Sadly, there were divorces and broken families and bad things

      It's all explained at the end of the article. He's now a CEO.

    8. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Sadly, there were divorces and broken families and bad things

      Did you even READ the article? Maybe you've never worked somewhere where people actually care about what they're doing but sometimes teams choose to work long and hard without being forced to.

      It's hardly uncommon for coders in their early 20s to work a full day, then go home and code until 2am on their own projects or some FOSS project. I've certainly been there, I wouldn't do it now though.

      Stop wringing your hands over other peoples' choices. You're clearly not an experienced manager yourself, this just reads like you're regurgitating a blog post.

      1. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: Sadly, there were divorces and broken families and bad things

        Yes, it's always possible. I don't know what the engineers were thinking when they were doing the work at that level. However, the attitude of the manager is not good. If it were me, I probably wouldn't ascribe the divorces to that project specifically, but he thinks it was the cause. If something really causes two divorces that wouldn't have otherwise happened, that's a rather big negative consequence. He doesn't seem to view it that way; the statement has a lot more nostalgia to it. And the upside, that part after the but which makes it better in hindsight? That you can get a hundred people to work "like their lives depended on it". Because that's critical in this situation.

  10. ChrisC Silver badge

    "Most Microsoft engineers made $1M+ then"

    I'd consider that a somewhat generous salary to be paying even a senior MS software engineer today, let alone a quarter of a century ago, so if most of their coders really were earning that much back then, it makes the shoddy quality of MS code and the amount MS expected us to fork out to obtain it even harder to stomach.

    1. AMBxx Silver badge

      I did a bit of work for MS as a consultant in the late 90s. The line then was that MS didn't pay well, but the stock options were very generous. Maybe the author is referring to income including stock options?

      1. Sandtitz Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Microserfs

        Douglas Copeland researched and wrote a book about a bunch of fictional Microsoft workers in the early 90s and stock options are mentioned several times in there. Recommended reading.

        "Susan's stock vests later this week, and she's going to have a vesting party. And then she's going to quit."

        "Most staffers peek at WinQuote a few times a day. I mean, if you have 10,000 shares (and tons of staff members have way more), and the stock goes up a buck, you've just made ten grand!"

        1. AMBxx Silver badge

          Re: Microserfs

          Yes, I worked for a software company that vested all the workers options due to various bits of the company being sold off. Work in sales pretty much stopped as everyone spent all day watching the stock tickers. I was on about £30k at the time but received £170k extra in one year due to the accelerated vesting after just 2 years of work. Others had far more options, granted at much lower prices. I'm sure many received £1m+.

      2. DiViDeD Silver badge

        MS Not paying well?

        I did 3rd level support for Microsoft over Christmas one year back in the day (early to mid 90s as I remember). All the junk food (mostly pizza) you could stomach, 18 hour on call shift with video games, ping pong, sleeping/washing facilities provided by Microsoft. It meant I missed Christmas and New Year, but 9 days work netted me around £12,000 at a time when I regarded myself as hideously overpaid at a rate of £2,500 a week before tax!

  11. mark l 2 Silver badge

    It was unfortunate that one one foresaw that MS realising IE for free back in the 90s would lead to the situation we are in now, where a company is unable to develop a new browser and charge end users even a modest amount for it. And so we have a situation where browsers are given away for free but you are now the product and the big corps hoover up all their users data.

    1. Sandtitz Silver badge
      Meh

      "where a company is unable to develop a new browser and charge end users even a modest amount for it."

      Isn't every single free software product depriving some developer from profiting?

      "And so we have a situation where browsers are given away for free but you are now the product and the big corps hoover up all their users data."

      It's not the free browser that is to blame here. Google or Facebook would gladly slurp user data even from paid-for browsers.

    2. TheMeerkat Bronze badge

      It is not just browsers.

      The whole of Open Source is doing the same.

  12. Ima Ballsy

    Wasn't .......

    I.E original a re-badge of Spry's Internet in a Box ?

    Just wondering ....

  13. bigtimehustler

    The biggest problem from a devs point of view is that until the very last versions, the debugger was awful! How did they not realise that if you want things to look and work well in your browser, making it easy for devs to do so is the number 1 goal. It took them too many years to realise that. I have no idea why! They must have continously got feedback from devs who make websites within Microsoft!

  14. ovation1357

    I'm a little surprised by the apparent love and compliments being eschewed for IE4/5 Vs Netscape.

    I absolutely loved Netscape and found IE to be a poor alternative. I guess for starters it was because it lacked mail and Usenet, but I also disliked the typical Microsoft deliberate breaks from convention such as using Favourites when everything else used bookmarks.

    For the most part I found Netscape to be pretty stable and it's high degree of configurability was a boon. It wasn't perfect and it did crash from time to time but in the main it made both a decent IMAP mail client (something neither Outlook nor Outlook Express even supported) and was a decent browser too.

    I used Netscape on Windows 3.11, Windows 95, macOS 8/9, Solaris and Linux until I switched to Opera, which was by far the superior browser of the time with all its fancy Qt goodness in the form of tabs and Mouse gestures. (I'm a bit surprised it didn't get a mention in this article).

    I seem to recall trying the version of IE that got released for Solaris and thinking it was a bit crap and I'm trying to rack my brain to recall whether there was a Mac port as well... Truly IE was only ever a Windows browser, so Netscape was already a clear winner for multi platform support (and Opera also released builds for quite a few platforms - I used it on Solaris for a couple of years)

    To me, Internet Explorer has always been the epitome of Microsoft's abuses of its monopoly. Embedding it into the OS and bundling it with every PC and called 'The Internet' was an anticompetitive and rather evil deception.

    All these years later we've only just escaped from the Hell of supporting IE with its demented box model, magic runes in IE6 to avoid being in 'quirks mode (not that 'standards mode' actually followed the standards) and its proprietary JavaScript was by far the worst but I've had to handle quirks in later versions too.

    Ironically now it seems to be Safari that's most likely to mangle a page that works fine in FF and Chrome, which is an extra nuisance given that Apple only releases it for their devices: I'm not inclined to start paying the idiot tax just to be able to use their wanky browser.

    Personally I'm very sad that Opera gave up on it's proprietary rendering engine - it did certainly struggle with some pages but I think it held up pretty well against the bigger players. Now Opera exists only by name as yet another skin around Chromium.

    Vivaldi at least tried to get back to the core principals of the legacy Opera but I still found it a bit too 'chromy' for my liking.

    I've ended up settling on FireFox, which just about fits my needs but I do lament the true lack of browser choice these days. At least, for the most part, I can write some HTML+CSS and be reasonably confident it will render fine on almost anything (except possibly Safari).

    1. bigtimehustler

      The problem is, people just will never implement exactly to spec, which is difficult anyway with a continually evolving spec. They will introduce bugs by mistake, not have time to fully implement a feature to all of the specs detail. As a dev I'd rather one underlying browser engine to target, at least I know that if I write code that works, it will work in all browsers using that engine. Rather than having to find the common base of what works between 4 different implementations of the same language.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Isn't the spec evolution a consequence of chasing the devs' non-spec additions?

    2. Sandtitz Silver badge

      Rendezvous at Big Gulch

      "I absolutely loved Netscape and found IE to be a poor alternative. I guess for starters it was because it lacked mail and Usenet, but I also disliked the typical Microsoft deliberate breaks from convention such as using Favourites when everything else used bookmarks."

      I agree with the tone of your post. I liked Netscape too and used Communicator for a pretty long time, until it was apparent that Netscape wasn't developing it anymore. I moved to Opera 6 (?) when they had stopped asking money for it, it was also more "Netscape-y" than IE.

      Perhaps for new users IE was simpler, prettier, and more fluid with its smooth page scrolling and so on. IE4 was the first usable IE and at that version it gained feature parity or perhaps even surpassed Netscape.

      "For the most part I found Netscape to be pretty stable and it's high degree of configurability was a boon. It wasn't perfect and it did crash from time to time but in the main it made both a decent IMAP mail client (something neither Outlook nor Outlook Express even supported) and was a decent browser too."

      Unfortunately Communicator crashed way more than IE. The Communicator's mail client was workable but the Usenet side was a bit too rudimentary, I resorted to Forte Agent (rip) for my email and newsgroup needs; it was way better than Netscape/OE.

      I used Opera for a while after v12 was released but the new Chromium version missed a lot of those special Opera features I had accustomed to so I jumped to Firefox and still use it today.

      I think Opera should have focused more on their rendering engine and not include the mail client in it, nor come up with all sorts of ports to Symbian, Nintendo, and such. Perhaps the company just stretched too thin with all this development and lost its identity completely when they went with the Blink engine.

  15. Mike Friedman

    And yet, IE 3.0 was complete crap. Unsigned Active X controls that run without your knowledge!? SURE! I'll sign up for that!

    They should've just called it "Virus Vector 3.0." That's exactly what it was.

  16. Mike 16 Silver badge

    Spyglass?

    Through the article and all the comments so far, no mention of the origin story.

  17. TonyB

    I read the anti-trust report at the time. Memory is vague but IIRC not only were system builders required to ship Windows with IE as the default browser, they were also not allowed to bundle any other browser. Some people claimed that including a browser with the OS was anti-competitive but given that OS/2 Warp had already done this, a hard argument to sustain.

  18. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

    Second antitrust, not first

    > IE 3.0 indirectly led to Microsoft's first big set of antitrust troubles

    No, that bizarrely-limited "prosecution" by the DoJ was the SECOND antitrust action vs Microsoft. And it was bizarrely-limited as a deliberate tactic to avoid getting finessed like they were the first time.

    For those who don't know, MS was *convicted* of antitrust breaches (in 1994 IIRC). They were due to be broken up (Sherman Act's only real remedy is The Nuclear Option), but got leave to appeal and managed to do so on a technical matter which by its nature required the Court to NOT consider any evidence. They lost the 4 year court case resoundingly but won that appeal in less than a single day.

    DoJ was ropeable. And if you'd scratched your head at the later antitrust action re something so apparently tiny as the bloody browser, well, that's why. Having another go but with massive scope limitation in a bid to avoid another last-minute finesse by MS.

  19. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells

    > And work they did: Partovi's thread describes the development effort as a long sprint and mentions 2am foosball games designed to help developers find some extra energy.

    Working at 2am is stupid. Anything more than something like 9am to 9pm is surely counterproductive. Go home. Sleep.

  20. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip

    OS/2 shipped a browser in the OS in 1994

    It's rewriting history to say that MS saw the potential of the Internet, they got caught on the hop and then worked to fix that. OS/2's WebExplorer shipped in 1994 with Warp 3 including dialup options. It wasn't exceptional but it did include the ability to drag and drop web page images to the desktop. Netscape for OS/2 arrived later.

    Web explorer is almost useless for browsing the web today, but if you do insist on running old versions of OS/2 it can still be used to patch the OS, more easily than most other patching options.

  21. Charles Calthrop

    saw a funny meme on reddit about this

    "Hey so yeah, I worked 90 hours a week, destroyed my marriage and didn't watch my kids grow up but hey we shipped an important product"

    "Ah well, at least you're rich now"

    "No, no, oh no. But I have the satisfaction of making other people rich".

    Crazy way to live IMO. I can see that hiding in work is a comfort, but in the long term its a dreadful way to live.

  22. steviebuk Silver badge

    I don't remember

    first time I started to use IE. But I do remember, in the mid 90s being at college for my first college course and in the study room they had Nescape on all the machines. I remember using that, I have very clear memories of watching the Netscape logo opening but don't remember when IE replaced it or when we starting using that instead.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021