Todays launch of the Zune music player has an eerily familiar ring. The fanfare, marketing hype and partnerships are reminiscent of Microsofts launch of Internet Explorer 3, on Aug. 13, 1996.
IE 3 features fell short of Netscape Communicator, which had huge market share compared to Microsofts Web browser.
Microsofts big marketing push and exclusive partnerships with Internet service and content providers somewhat overshadowed IE 3 shortcomings. The company also encouraged Web sites to slap on an Internet Explorer logo, which signified support for the browsers features and HTML tagging, and raised consumer and business awareness.
Microsoft even sent out free T-Shirts to early IE 3 downloaders. Mine turned to rags years ago; my wife keeps the T-Shirt under the kitchen sink for scrubbing up spills.