A brief history of the evolution of web browsers from 1993 to 2020, from the first war won by IE to the arrival of the mobile web

Web browsers are an essential part of Internet access.

Over the years, many Internet browsers have grown and then fallen into disfavor. The first really popular web browser was Netscape, and the fact is that while people may think that web browsers are a very recent invention, they have been around for about a quarter of a century.

After Netscape lost its luster, more modern browsers took their place as Internet Explorer began to gain ground. However, as of January 12, 2016, Microsoft no longer offers security updates or technical support for earlier versions of its flagship Internet Explorer (this is precisely IE 10. As for Internet Explorer 11, Microsoft announced last month that as of November 30, 2020, the Microsoft Teams web application will no longer support IE 11, and as of August 17, 2021, other Microsoft 365 applications and services will no longer support IE 11.

Based on the observation that the time spent on the Internet is constantly increasing, Google has decided to create a fast, dynamic and innovative browser, in order to save time on the one hand, but also to adapt to the content of the evolving pages. they become more complex year after year. Today, Google Chrome has gained so much market share that its rendering engine has been adopted by many browsers, including the new version of Microsoft Edge.

Firefox has been able to present itself as an alternative in terms of privacy protection, but also personalization. Firefox has an options panel for configuring much of your browser. All toolbars are also fully configurable. For advanced settings, typing about: config in the address bar allows you to configure many advanced items inaccessible from the options window. In addition to advanced options, Firefox has many extensions for Internet users and developers. They allow you to add more or less varied functions to the most basic ones. Some of the most used or most useful features among these tools become features implemented natively in Firefox.

This video covers the history of some of the most popular web browsers from 1993 to 2020:

Some points are interesting:

  • On April 22, 1993, a team of researchers from the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois at the United States presented version 1.0 of the first graphical Internet browser. Called Mosaic, this application is based on the work done by CERN in the early 1990s on web technologies, in particular the HTTP protocol. Before Mosaic, web pages were text-based.
  • Created in 1994 by an NCSA Mosaic team, Netscape Navigator was a large-scale commercial browser, we are in the first quarter of 1994. Since its launch, it has been a resounding success, nibbling stock in its NCSA Mosaic year. . It cost $ 49 to get it and the user had a 90 day trial period. at the end of the same year, Netscape managed to surpass its Mosaic year in terms of market share.
  • In 1995, Internet Explorer arrived. Internet Explorer 1.0 was created based on the Spyglass Mosaic browser, not to be confused with NCSA Mosaic. Microsoft purchased an NCSA Mosaic license, but did not use it. At the time, IE was launched as a (free) option in the first package month! Windows 95 (this package pays a lot), to compete with NCSA Mosaic and the dominant browser Netscape Navigator (also paid). In the fourth quarter, Netscape had a market share of 81.74%, Mosaic 10.79% and the newcomer Internet Explorer was already at 5.47%.
  • In 1996 it marked a turning point for Opera, which was launched in 1995. The software was offered to the public in the form of test software (demonstration software with a very short lifespan). Internet Explorer is taking more and more Netscape and Mosaic actions, the latter disappearing to make way for Opera.

    Fourth quarter of 1996
  • In 1997, although Netscape still had more than 70% market share during the first quarter, the fact that Internet Explorer was offered for free caused a lot of problems. This was also illustrated later that year by the fact that Internet Explorer now had a 39.84% market share compared to Netscape’s 57.43%, forcing it to offer its browser for free from 1998. This did not, however, prevent Internet Explorer from continuing to gain shares. at the expense of Netscape. In the same year, Microsoft was sued for violating antitrust laws.
  • In 1999, Internet Explorer expanded, and Netscape sold its AOL business for $ 4.2 billion. by the end of the year, IE now had a 77.42% share compared to Netscape’s 21.65%.
  • In 2000, Microsoft pleaded guilty and decided to separate IE from Windows. However, IE’s market share continues to increase; in the fourth quarter, the browser was used in just over 86% of connected computers: IE was the official winner of the first browser war.
  • In 2002 came the beta of Firefox (first called Phoenix and then Firebird). by the end of the year, the browser already had more market share than Netscape and was the second most used browser with a 2.1% share.
  • In 2003 Apple launched its Safari browser. It can be downloaded for free from January 7, 2003, that is, from Mac OS X v10.2.
  • In 2004, Firefox was available in version 1.0, and Safari has enough users to qualify. At the end of 2004, Safari was used by 1% of Internet users.
  • In 2006, Microsoft decided to reintroduce IE to Windows with version 7.0.
  • In 2008, Netscape had enough and withdrew from the race. In the same year, Google launched Chrome, which reached nearly 2% of Internet users. Firefox, meanwhile, is already approaching 20%.
  • 2009 marks the launch of the mobile web with the arrival of the ranking of browsers such as Android, Nokia Web or BlackBerry.

And you?

What do you think?
Which browser do you use at work? the House?
Which browser did you use before?
Why did you decide to switch browsers?

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