Microsoft plays the nostalgia card to tempt past users back to Internet Explorer

I remember clearly where I was the day Internet Explorer launched. It was 16 August 1995 and I was sitting in a room full of tech writers watching Bill Gates show off Microsoft’s new browser. And I recall thinking, "why would anyone want to use anything other than Netscape Navigator?"

I remember clearly, some years later, wondering why anyone would want to use a browser that wasn’t Internet Explorer when I first heard about Firebird (which later became Firefox), and then wondering a few years after that why anyone would want to use a browser that wasn’t Firefox when Chrome launched. Times, loyalties and browsers all change, and Microsoft is hoping to use nostalgia to persuade people who "grew up" with IE to give the browser another chance.

"Child of the 90s: Internet Explorer" is a trip down memory lane, reminding us of many of the things we might have forgotten from IE’s formative years. Things like yo-yos, 56k modems, 3 ¼ inch floppy disks, Tamagotchi, Trolls, and Pogs. And of course IE itself. The message of the video is that you’re no longer who you were in the nineties, and neither is Internet Explorer.

According to Microsoft, "We thought it was time to invite those of you who haven’t thought about Internet Explorer in a while to take a trip down memory lane. Internet Explorer is a child of the 90s, but we have done some serious growing up. Maybe IE was your first browser, but you haven’t used it in a while. We aren’t sure if pogs or trolls will make a comeback as well, but we do know a lot has changed with Internet Explorer".

It’s an interesting angle to take, and is part of The Browser You Loved to Hate campaign.

Microsoft has disabled comments on the new video, so I guess it’s not expecting a wave of love for the veteran browser, but so far its hashtag #Childofthe90s has generated the right sort of nostalgic response the company was no doubt hoping for.

My colleague Joe Wilcox, who admits to wearing out a commemorative Tee he got for downloading IE 3, made a good point in the news room when he observed, "What does it say really, Microsoft's claim to modern IE fame is the past". Watching the video personally just made me grateful that I don't live in the nineties any more, and certainly didn't make me wish I could go back to floppy disks, slow internet, or Internet Explorer. But maybe you'll feel differently.

I’m interested to know what you think of the new video. Will nineties nostalgia tempt you into going back? Or if you’ve switched to IE 10 what was your reason for doing so? (Windows 8 integration or something else). Comments below, please.

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