While the popular Internet Explorer (IE) browser last arrived on June 15, South Korea will find it hard to do without some of its services. Just like neighboring Japan, many corporate and government agency websites did not migrate to a new browser in time.
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South Koreans find it difficult to fold Internet Explorer. Google Chrome does not allow you to make online payments as a client of one of the largest foreign banks in the country. The Ministry of Culture and Arts website does not allow artist funding requests on Safari and a child care center cannot be registered with the Ministry of Health and Social Protection using Mozilla. To achieve these actions, it is necessary to use the Microsoft browser, which was released 27 years ago.
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While the majority of the country’s population has moved to other, more modern web browsers, many sites require Internet Explorer to work. This is especially the case for banking or government websites that use some of their functionality.
Last May, the South Korean branch of British Standard Chartered Bank began warning customers of the upcoming changes. She then explained that they would have to switch to Edge, Microsoft’s new browser, to access its online banking platform “Straight2Bank”.
During this period, Naver, one of the largest Internet companies in South Korea, introduced a feature in the Whale web browser, “Internet Explorer Mode”. Kim Hyo, team manager for Whale for Naver, told the newspaper The New York Times That this functionality appeared in 2006 was supposed to disappear with Internet Explorer.
South Korea and Internet Explorer: A Long Love Affair
South Korea has a special relationship with Internet Explorer. In the 1990s, the country became one of the pioneers of the Internet, using it for banking or shopping. In 1999, to enhance the security of Internet users, the South Korean government implemented a law requiring the issuance of encrypted digital certificates for any document that previously required a signature.
The government has allowed five companies to design plug-ins, browser extensions, to verify the identity of people using the Internet. Among them is ActiveX, a plugin created by Microsoft that works only on Internet Explorer. The company founded by Bill Gates is the leader in the computer market at this time, especially thanks to the Windows operating system, ActiveX will be widely adopted by South Koreans.
James Kim, director of Microsoft’s South Korea branch from 2009 to 2015, explains to times that Microsoft” He didn’t really have a rival back then He points out that even if Microsoft didn’t try to put a speaker in the wheels of its competitors, many things wouldn’t work without Internet Explorer, which makes it essential. Between 2004 and 2009, the browser captured 99% of the market share in South Korea.
Kim Kichang, a law professor at Korea University in Seoul, said that Internet Explorer’s monopoly was so great that people on the peninsula ” We couldn’t name another internet browser “.
Things didn’t start to change until 2009 and the cyberattack. Hackers were able to exploit ActiveX to deliver a lot of malware to users of the plugin. Public opinion is changing and South Koreans are complaining about the inconvenience of using ActiveX for online purchases. A year later, the government repealed the 1999 law and forced government websites to be compatible with at least three browsers. In 2012, Google Chrome became popular and became the most used browser in South Korea. In 2022, 54% of the South Korean population will use Google Chrome.
If Internet users remember Internet Explorer mainly by jokes and memes about its implementation and loading speed, some have sought to finally pay homage to it. This is the case of Jung Ki-young, a South Korean software developer, who erected a tombstone in honor of the browser, with an epitaph inscribed ” It was better to download other browsers “. for him, ” Using Internet Explorer was complicated, frustrating, but sometimes helpful. I didn’t want to just uninstall it and tell him “I don’t need you anymore” “.