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Dana Dana Blankenhorn has been a business journalist for over 25 years and has covered the online world professionally since 1985. He founded the "Interactive Age Daily" for CMP Media, and has written for the Chicago Tribune, Advertising Age, and dozens of other publications over the years.
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Moore’s Law defines the history of technology. It held that the number of circuits etched on a given piece of silicon could double every 18 months as far as its author, Intel co-founder Gordon Moore, could see. Moore’s Law has spawned constant revolutions since then, not just in computing but in communications, in science, in a host of areas. Moore’s Law applies to radios, and to optical fiber, but there are some areas where it doesn’t apply. In this blog we’ll take a daily look at new implications of Moore’s Law in real time, as it rolls forward to create our future.
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September 16, 2004

Internet Explorer Is Dead

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Posted by Dana Blankenhorn

Microsoft is deliberately letting Internet Explorer lose the browser market to Mozilla's Firefox.

Microsoft won't admit this publicly but it makes sense. The company hasn't had a major upgrade to the program in years. It was relatively trivial for Mozilla, descended ultimately from Netscape, to match those features, even go slightly beyond them.

The question is why.

The answer is liability.

Microsoft has learned, to its financial cost, that leadership carries with it a requirement to fix bugs. And there are more bugs in Explorer than there were in Dreamworks' Antz.

Microsoft doesn't mind fixing bugs in Windows or in Office. It can get its money back from users for that work through upgrades. But, in order to beat Netscape in the 1990s Microsoft never attached a business model to Explorer. It was given away.

In the last few years leadership has evolved away from the browser. It was once thought that the browser would be a platform, like an operating system, and control of that browser would define Internet applications.

This turned out not to be the case. Once a standard method was developed for "plugging in" other applications to the browser, control issues passed to those applications. Applications like Media Player (in Microsoft's case).

So that is where it's putting its money, in Media Player. There are business models that can be built around Media Player. You can sell content through that conduit.

Until someone creates a business model around browser dominance Explorer is dead.

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