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      They also added various proprietary tags in their HTML/CSS/JS code, which made life difficult for web developers. In reality, many web developers made sites optimized for IE, instead of for web standards, making it really hard for competing browsers.

      This is what Netscape did as well. I think there’s a lot of survivorship bias in here: back in the 90s no one was adhering to web standards at all. Eventually IE “won” all of this but it really wasn’t any worse than Netscape.

      Also W3C could have saved everyone a lot of headache by making a few small changes to the CSS standard to match IE’s behaviour rather than stubbornly insisting on “no, it has to be this”. The most obvious example of this is the box model which made it almost impossible to write sites that worked well in all browsers outside of complex and ugly table layouts. And what does everyone recommend now? Using box-model: border-box, which is the IE box model 😒

      They then started to expand on the web standards, with total disregard for the standards community. During this time they introduced technology such as ActiveX and Silverlight, making it impossible to use competing browsers when accessing services that used those technologies.

      Silverlight worked in other browsers too, just like Flash. Hell, they even made a macOS version. ActiveX was a very Windows/IE specific thing, but also something that was rarely used outside of intranets and the like, and when it was used there it was usually to actually solve problems that were hard to solve otherwise at the time. It’s not great, but in the grand in practice it was rarely an issue.

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      I still remember those times in the early noughties where MSIE6, MSIE5 and MSIE4 was always a concern when doing the JavaScript tricks.

      However, as I’m reading this in 2020, I cannot stop thinking of Google (incl. YouTube.com) doing the exact same things to all the browser vendors that Microsoft and MSN did to Opera and Mozilla back in the day.

      Not to mention the inconvenient fact that Chromium pretty much has the monopoly nowadays; Vivaldi itself is based on Chromium, so, they can’t quite go around badmouthing it, either. The bigger issue today is with the User-Agent strings – neither Vivaldi nor Brave have their own, and even SeaMonkey is forced to pretend to be Firefox, else, none of the major websites would work.

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        IE 5.5 on Mac was the worst. Not from a technical standpoint, but because it was a) the most widespread one on Macs and b) it simply rendered stuff differently than everything else.

        Also this was before virtualization so a good chunk of my time was spent manually testing first on 2 browsers on Windows and then grabbing a Mac (OS 9) and starting all over.