Internet Explorer tombstones go viral in South Korea

SEOUL, June 17 (Reuters) – For Jung Ki-young, a South Korean software engineer, Microsoft Corps (MSFT.O) marked the decision to shut down its Internet Explorer browser at the end of a quarter-century of love-hate relationship with technology.

To commemorate its passing, he spent a month and 430,000 won ($ 330) designing and ordering a tombstone with the Explorer “e” logo and the English epitaph: “He was a great tool for downloading other browsers.”

After the memorial was displayed in a cafe run by his brother in the southern city of Gyeongju, a picture of the tombstone went viral.

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Microsoft scaled down support for the once ubiquitous Internet Explorer on Wednesday after a 27-year period, to focus on its faster browser, Microsoft Edge.

Jung said the memorial showed his mixed feelings about the older software, which had played such a large role in his working life.

“It hurt, but I would call it a love-hate relationship because Explorer himself once dominated an era,” he told Reuters.

He said he found that it took longer to make sure his web pages and web apps worked with Explorer than with other browsers.

But his customers kept asking him to make sure their web pages looked good in Explorer, which remained the default browser in South Korean government offices and many banks for years.

Launched in 1995, Explorer became the world’s leading browser for more than a decade when combined with Microsoft’s Windows operating system pre-installed in billions of computers. read more

But it began to lose to Google’s Chrome in the late 2000s and became the subject of countless internet memes, with some developers suggesting that it was slow compared to its rivals.

Jung said he had intended to make people laugh with the tombstone, but was still surprised at how far the joke went online.

“There’s another reason for me to thank Explorer, it has now allowed me to make a world – class joke,” he said.

“I regret that it is gone, but do not want to miss it. So retirement, for me, is a good death.”

($ 1 = 1,292,2600 won)

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Reporting by Minwoo Park and Hyonhee Shin; Edited by Andrew Heavens

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.