Coming of Age: Why IE is Waning

The current buzz around the decline of Internet Explorer is a wonderful example of a larger change in society. It's the change that happens whenever "what we know" exceeds "what we're told". In this case the change is happening in technology; The catalyst is an immersed generation of technology users.

When I was introduced to computers (remember Ohio State-Compuserve and MAC 512?) there were almost no choices for what programs to use to accomplish any computing task. As a non-techie I simply loaded programs according to what Apple said would work and I was off and running. Though always growing, the population of people who actually understood what was happening "under-the hood" was pretty tiny... And getting paid by a small pool of companies that published the software. For most of us technology was a tool.

Now, an entire generation behind me has grown up using technology as a toy. Not "toy as in "ha-ha", but "toy" as in "I was just playing around and look what I did." They are not constrained by what they don't know. Technology is so familiar to this generation they won't allow companies to control their curiosity (and along the way rejuvinated the curiosity in the rest of us).

Their curiosity has driven battles over intellectual property, file sharing, open source vs. closed, net access, and on and on.

And their curiosity has led to knowledge... And we all know what knowledge leads to; Choice. Most of us started with Netscape because that is what "worked", then, most of us switched to Interent Explorer (let's not debate how THAT happened) because we believed it worked better.

Now there's a generation of users that knows enough to ask, "Why?" And when they don't like the answers, they come up with their own. They use technology to spread their answers; to ask new questions; and create new answers.

IE is losing market share because we've stopped being dependent on what we're told and are acting on what we know.

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