Microsoft Internet Explorer 3

Monday, March 31, 2008

Microsoft Internet Explorer 3 (Internet Explorer 3.0) is a graphical web browser released on August 13, 1996 by Microsoft for Microsoft Windows and on January 8, 1997 for Apple Mac OS (see IE for Mac). It kicked off serious competition against Netscape Navigator in the first Browser war. In September 1997 it was superseded by Microsoft Internet Explorer 4. It was the first more widely used version of Internet Explorer, although it did not surpass Netscape or become the browser with the most market share. During its tenure, IE market share went from roughly 3-9% in early 1996 to 20-30% by the end of 1997. Internet Explorer 3 was the first major browser with CSS support. It also introduced support for ActiveX controls, Java applets, inline multimedia, and the Platform for Internet Content Selection (PICS) system for content metadata. Version 3 also came bundled with Internet Mail and News, NetMeeting, and an early version of the Windows Address Book, and was itself included with Windows 95 OSR 2. There were 16-bit and 32-bit versions depending on the OS. IE3 was the first version developed without Spyglass source code, but still used Spyglass technology, so the Spyglass licensing information remained in the program's documentation. In 1996 Microsoft said of its new browser "Microsoft® Internet Explorer 3.0 adds many new features which are great for HTML authors and demonstrates our accelerating commitment to W3C HTML standards. "

Internet Explorer 3.0 was released free of charge in August 1996 by bundling it with Windows 95 OSR2, another OEM release. Microsoft thus made no direct revenues on IE and was liable to pay Spyglass only the minimum quarterly fee. In 1997, Spyglass threatened Microsoft with a contractual audit, in response to which Microsoft settled for $8 million U.S. Version 3 included Internet Mail and News 1.0 and the Windows Address Book. It also brought the browser much closer to the bar that had been set by Netscape, including the support of Netscape's plugins technology (NPAPI), ActiveX, frames, and a reverse-engineered version of JavaScript named JScript. Later, Microsoft NetMeeting and Windows Media Player were integrated into the product and thus helper applications became not as necessary as they once were. Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) were also introduced with version 3 of Internet Explorer. While IE1 and IE2 were said have "paled" in comparison to Netscape, IE3 "delivers a crushing blow to Netscape". The user interface notably changes, with much larger buttons, with more intricate icons, and with a light grey design behind it . Unlike later IE versions, users who upgraded to IE3, could still use the last IE by converting the previous version to separate directory. It also could import favorites into IE3 from IE1 or 2. The competition between Netscape and Microsoft heated up, with some saying the Internet community had "became polarized on the issue of which web browser had the most features" Other new features included Jscript, ActiveMovie multimedia API, HTML Layout Control, Quick Links toolbar, VRML, CSS Microsoft announced on July 29, 1996 that it would develop a native version of IE for "Solaris and other popular variants of UNIX" to be available "by the end of 1996" which would have "equivalent functionality as that provided in Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.0", thus "delivering on its commitment to provide full-featured Web browser support on all major operating system platforms" as well as "supporting and promoting open standards, including HTML, ActiveX and Java". In March, 1997 following a dispute which "arose between Microsoft and Bristol concerning each other’s performance of the 1996 IE Agreement" and likely also because of contract negotiations with Bristol to access Windows source code after September 1997 failing, Microsoft reversed course and decided to directly port the Windows version in-house using the MainWin XDE (eXtended Development Environment) application from Mainsoft, the main competitor to Bristol Technology. (Microsoft would later also use MainWin to port Windows Media Player and Outlook Express to Unix.) Now well behind schedule, the 3.0 branch was apparently scrapped in favor of 4.0 (that was released for Windows half a year earlier), which used the new Trident rendering engine. A Internet Explorer 4 Beta for Solaris was released by the end of 1997, leading to Internet Explorer for UNIX versions, which lasted until Internet Explorer 5.

For more on Internet Explorer-

Internet Explorer

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Internet Explorer 2

Internet Explorer- General Information

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