Nowadays, Internet Explorer is decent and competes well with other browsers. It still has its flaws, but so do the others.
The hatred of IE stems back to the late 90s/early 2000s. Internet Explorer used to compete with Netscape and both were responsible for creating features that are common on the internet today. IE eventually became the dominant browser, likely due to it being pre-loaded with Windows and having a generic name, putting less informed web users off from Netscape. Eventually, IE6 was king. Netscape was in a much smaller position, and Opera (another proprietary browser) was barely a blip on the radar.
This is where the problems begin. With IE being in a dominant market position, the browser remained as IE6 for far too long and was not updated as the internet and other browsers developed. Toward the end of its life, IE6 was woefully inadequate compared to its competitors. Here are some of the problems that resulted.
Thanks to IE6 being top dog, Microsoft had a very large influence on the development of the internet. Up to this point the browser did not conform to web standards and instead promoted its own proprietary interpretations of standards and its own technologies (such as ActiveX controls). This led to web designers having to design websites one way for IE and another way for other websites, with some websites only working in IE (preventing other browsers from becoming popular). Because of this, many web designers did not embrace standards either, hindering their development and widescale adoption.
Another issue was with security. IE6 was lacking in many security features that made its users vulnerable to attack from malware that users of other browsers weren't. Security flaws in IE6 weren't patched as readily as they should have been. The browser also wasn't helped by the fact that it was dominant, simply meaning that many attacks targeted it deliberately, and other browser users were safe just because attackers didn't consider them a big enough target to bother attacking.
Thirdly was the lack of features. IE6 lacked many features we take for granted today, like tabbed browsing. While other browsers were innovating or at least popularising new features, IE6 remained basic and bare bones. This isn't a massive problem (IE supports add-ons after all), it was another reason people disliked it - they found it cumbersome and inconvenient to use compared to other browsers.
This changed as Mozilla Firebird/Firefox became popular. Firefox was, in my opinion, an unremarkable browser. It wasn't innovative, didn't have a particularly impressive security record, wasn't as fast as other browsers and wasn't particularly good for standards compliance either. But it was better than IE6, and was well marketed, such that it began to eat away at IE6's market share and improve the web.
Microsoft eventually released IE7 which put them back on track. It still had a lot of flaws, but they started to improve standards compliance and security, and introduced some new features of its own like a phishing filter (something common in all browsers).
Now we're at IE11 and it's improved a lot, but the IE name is still mud.
Watch the video below to see what we are talking about.
What has been your experience with Internet explorer?
We personally are primarily using Firefox and Safari.
What is the main Internet browser that you use?