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Microsoft Travels Back to the ‘90s for Nostalgic Internet Explorer Ad

The era that brought us Trolls, snap bracelets, and Oregon Trail also gave birth to Microsoft’s web browser.

Nothing pulls on the heartstrings quite like a trip down memory lane, and nothing stirs up warm and fuzzy feelings quite like things associated with your childhood.

Microsoft’s new ad for Internet Explorer, “Child of the ‘90s,” explores all of the things that many millennials will remember quite fondly. Images of cherished toys and fads like Hungry Hippos, snap bracelets, bowl haircuts, “Oregon Trail,” and so on flash on the screen as the narrator guides us through the decade that was.

But something else was born in the ‘90s: Internet Explorer. For many users, IE was their first browser, or at least one of their first browsers. And Microsoft uses nostalgia to remind users of the browser’s legacy.

Watch Microsoft’s new pitch below.

IE became dominant once Netscape Navigator fell to the wayside and held its influence for several years into the early 2000s. But then, Mozilla’s Firefox and Google’s Chrome emerged and began to chip away at the legacy browser’s market share.

Among web developers and Internet professionals, IE has been derided for not always being standards compliant. The browser's history of non-compliance with standards meant that many developers had to develop IE-specific hacks, which was a headache since these hacks weren’t always reliably permanent fixes.

However, as the ad says, IE has grown up.

The latest version of Explorer, IE 10, does a much better job of keeping up with current HTML and CSS standards than its predecessors. Roger Capriotti of Microsoft elaborates on the Windows Blog:

A lot of people are coming back to discover a new Internet Explorer - a browser that is fast, fluid and perfect for touch, which sets IE10 apart from other browsers. Internet Explorer 10 and Windows 8 together provide a new experience that offers the best of the Web and the best of apps on one device.

The ad has become a viral, generating over 7 million views on YouTube in nearly six days. Many on social media have complimented Microsoft for the ad’s keen use of nostalgia.

Did this ad bring back fond memories of the ‘90s or Internet Explorer for you?

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Jan 30 2013 Spice IT

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