Microsoft has launched a new ad for Internet Explorer equivalent to Lloyd Dobler blasting Peter Gabriel via boombox through your bedroom window. In a new self-effacing video from the software giant, a man visits his therapist to discuss his compulsions to delete Internet Explorer from every computer he uses.
At first the video seems like a humorous attack on the browser, but many viewers were surprised to see the video turn into an ad for the new version of the browser about midway through. At one point the ad goes as far as echoing popular sentiments about the browser like “the only thing Internet Explorer is good for at all is downloading other browsers,” but concludes with the young man now rid of his compulsion “because IE 9 is actually good.”
Internet Explorer launched nearly 17 years ago alongside Windows 95, and in recent years has been largely panned due to its lack of innovation. The newest version of Internet Explorer was released last year and received many performance improvements over IE 8, including support for HTML5. When the final build came out in March of last year, the browser received generally positive reviews, and in October, PC World named it one of their 100 Best Products of 2011 at number 19.
Last month, the browser’s usage was down to 19.5 percent, a number that has been dropping steadily every month since its recorded peak of 88 percent in March of 2003, right around the time Mozilla’s Firefox browser hit the scene. Today, the most popular browser is tied between Firefox and Chrome, whose success is largely due to the continuing innovations that quickly outpaced the former king of browsers.
Microsoft’s appeal to the general dislike for the dated browser is a truly interesting turn, but as for its success with the newest iteration, only time will tell. It’s more likely that enough people have moved on and enjoy other browsers at this point that it’ll take more than self-effacing humor and a cat in a cop uniform to draw them back. Or at least that’s what my ex-girlfriends have told me.