Microsoft's announcement earlier this month that it was dumping its own browser technology for Google's – turning Edge into a Chrome clone – was a stunning acknowledgement that the company had lost its decades-long battle for browser supremacy.

"We intend to adopt the Chromium open-source project … to create better web compatibility for our customers and less fragmentation of the web for all web developers," Joe Belfiore, a corporate vice president in the Windows group, wrote in a Dec. 6 post to a company blog. But while Belfiore blew the open-source horn, he didn't bother to recap how Microsoft reached this point when earlier in the century, it was the dominant browser maker, accounting for more than 90% of all usage after it laid waste to Netscape Navigator.

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