Steve Wozniak: Internet Explorer caused Mac OS to be unstable in 1996

If you owned a Mac in 1996 and experienced program crashes during that time period, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak points the finger at an unlikely culprit: Microsoft. Australia's News.com.au reports that, speaking today during a seminar in Sydney, Wozniak said that Microsoft's Internet Explorer for the Mac was specifically to blame for program crashes during that time period.

Wozniak said, "Everyone who ran Internet Explorer you would have several crashes, every day. Move something into folder, it would crash, and you’d have to restart. Type something, crash restart."

While Apple at first though it was something wrong with the Mac OS itself, the company later discovered it was an issue with Internet Explorer. Other web browsers of the time period, including Netscape, didn't create the same problems, according to Wozniak.

In related news, Wozniak told a reporter from Bloomberg while he was in Sydney he would buy stock in Facebook; the IPO for Facebook could launch as early as Friday.

Wozniak said, "I would invest in Facebook. I don’t care what the opening price is." He added that Mark Zuckerberg was close to a combination of Wozniak and Apple's late co-founder Steve Jobs, saying, "When he speaks he speaks with a lot of idealism for the users and a lot of good ideas for the product overall."

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58 Comments

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I'm betting that Woz got a few calls from Apple, and was told to drop any negative info he could remember to clean up the press nightmare from talking about WP7 being a great product, and more intuitive that iOS.

The problem is that he seems to be a fairly honest person, and maybe this is one of the few things he could come up with that had some legitimacy.

starman444 said,
I bet the majority of Mac users used another browser

back in '96? I would be surprised if OS7 even had a built-in browser - the whole system looked far worse than a 3.1 Windows, meanwhile Win95 was out for a year

1996:
Microsoft Internet Explorer is causing Apple Computers to crash ... Netscape remains
unscathed at this point, and is still the default internet browser on Macintosh systems.

1997:
Microsoft bails out Apple Computer with $150m. Netscape is replaced as default
internet browser on Macintosh systems by ... Internet Explorer ... the very same
internet browser that kept making them all crash the year before.

From 02:22 on this YouTube clip:
http://youtu.be/WxOp5mBY9IY

Edited by DJGM, May 15 2012, 2:27am :

Maybe instead of hating on MS everyday of the year why isn't there a headline news title on the main page to say that today APPLE manipulated the results on siri's search engine to stop it from answers factually about something. How much more manipulation is apple doing behind the scenes.

the woz should of kept his inside voice going on this one, to blame ms for their crappy os 16 years after the fact, maybe hes going a little senile now. But I would say more embarrassing for woz and apple than MS.

Ok...so what? Lets move on with life already. It's nowhere near 1996, time for folks to get over it.

I call bogus article to excite Apple/Microsoft fans and Apple/Microsoft trolls in order to generate ad revenue.

Yes, we know IE was the root of all evil in the 90s. [s] But I didn't know IE was embedded that far into the Mac! [/s]

Woz, I love you, but I call BS on this one.

so um, how far into the OS did Apple let MS integrate IE? *Scratches head* move a folder and it crashes? seems odd, even for a memory leak that is odd that an OS function crashes due to an application error... but this was Mac OS, it was a piece of memory management junk

Edited by neufuse, May 14 2012, 3:55pm :

neufuse said,
so um, how far into the OS did Apple let MS integrate IE? *Scratches head* move a folder and it crashes? seems odd

Don't have to un an unprotected environment... (same reason why programs could crash Windows 95 randomly)

MFH said,

Don't have to un an unprotected environment... (same reason why programs could crash Windows 95 randomly)

Win95 had memory protection.

Until OS X, Mac System wasn't even as advanced as Win 3.x in terms of memory protection and scheduling.

As for IE causing crashes, the program would have to be running, or the OS didn't clean up the process properly after it was closed to cause OS instability.

I'm sure IE on Macs wasn't the most brilliant piece of software ever written; however, Mac System has a lot of responsibility in this as well. Just like Win95 had a lot of failings in what it allowed software to touch and base design of its monolithic kernel model that was fragile with drivers.

Sadly though, in comparing OS to OS, Win95 was years ahead of System 8 & 9.

If I'm honest, I did iOS app development for a while, and the fact that their sample code and libraries all had memory leaks in which they said was fine and didn't care about was just about the time I KNEW apple was not the provider of any OS's that I wanted to use.

Both the Mac OS and IE in general were terrible in 1996, so this doesn't surprise me at all. What surprises me is the fact that this is even being discussed. Who freakin cares?!?!?! (not yelling at you, Neowin, yelling at SW!)

I used Internet Explorer a lot on System 7 and I didn't suffer these problems on any of the Macs I owned (both 68K and PPC). I can only think that it was due to incompatibilities with other third party software.

That's sad. He just lost an occasion to keep his comment for himself.
If this single app was able to bring the OS down, it says a lot about System 7 reliability.

TheCyberKnight said,
That's sad. He just lost an occasion to keep his comment for himself.
If this single app was able to bring the OS down, it says a lot about System 7 reliability.

Mac OS up to 8 where pretty much crap.... and finder was a monstrosity

That Mac OS of 96 (he's probably referring to System 7) didn't even have protected memory or preemptive multitasking so that is why IE made it crash so much. IE for the Mac may be **** but the OS was just as ****.

xpclient said,
That Mac OS of 96 (he's probably referring to System 7) didn't even have protected memory or preemptive multitasking so that is why IE made it crash so much. IE for the Mac may be **** but the OS was just as ****.

oh, man. That OS was worse than Windows 95 (& XP then). Amazing to be on your side for this one.

True story.. when I was in college, I went to the newest computer lab and saw the highest end Mac available at the time. So, I wanted to check out how much memory it had and went to the Apple menu and selected "About this Mac" - and it crashed.

Enron said,
True story.. when I was in college, I went to the newest computer lab and saw the highest end Mac available at the time. So, I wanted to check out how much memory it had and went to the Apple menu and selected "About this Mac" - and it crashed.

LOL When I was a kid we had a Mac and I remember it crashing. I don't know what was causing it though.

All while not mentioning the fact there would'nt have been a Mac anymore without a HUGE infusion of cash from Microsoft. Microsoft, at least at that time, had the second largest collection of Mac computers for testing, etc.

I miss the classic OS.... I think I might laod it up on one of my older macs again for hahas..... Love the loading screen

TRC said,
Classic Mac OS was unstable period. No memory protection at all. It didn't matter if you had IE or not.

That's exactly how I remembered it, hell even Windows 9x has some memory protection (unless you used the shared part which could then mess things up).

Ah yes play the trick of memory confusion. No, Mac os 7 8 and 9 all sucked they're just lucky nobody bothered to actually do anything to them. Both Apple and Microsoft had terrible browsers back then they're all equally accountable for problems on both OS's as are today. Nothing has changed.

That explains the classic-OS Macs that crashed without IE on them at all... The best thing Apple did was ditch their original in-house OS.

The same as Windows 3.1 wasn't thread safe, MAC OS wasn't completely thread safe I believe, hence if a program was coded badly it could being down the system. Apple's fault as well as Microsoft's for bad coding, but Apple should have fixed their OS really.

Ashl said,
The same as Windows 3.1 wasn't thread safe, MAC OS wasn't completely thread safe I believe, hence if a program was coded badly it could being down the system. Apple's fault as well as Microsoft's for bad coding, but Apple should have fixed their OS really.

From what I remember MacOS had zero memory protection, anything could take the whole system down without much work.

GP007 said,

From what I remember MacOS had zero memory protection, anything could take the whole system down without much work.


Yep their system was just as crappy as any DOS-based version of Windows. Thankfully Microsoft realized that DOS was a dead end way before Apple did the same about System.

What? Seriously? I don't see Windows crashing with FF, Opera or Chrome, maybe they should look at the OS first and then blame MS?

alwaysonacoffebreak said,
What? Seriously? I don't see Windows crashing with FF, Opera or Chrome, maybe they should look at the OS first and then blame MS?

He said IE...

alwaysonacoffebreak said,
What? Seriously? I don't see Windows crashing with FF, Opera or Chrome, maybe they should look at the OS first and then blame MS?

It was 1996, high quality coders weren't exactly abundant... It's perfectly plausible to have been IE, calm down.

alwaysonacoffebreak said,
What? Seriously? I don't see Windows crashing with FF, Opera or Chrome, maybe they should look at the OS first and then blame MS?

When there is a blue screen in Windows, it is Microsoft's fault because no app should be able to bring down the OS.
When dragging a folder crashes a Mac, even though nothing in IE Mac integrated with finder, it is Microsoft's fault was on the computer.

Just like when Woz said he got a WP7, he is washed up, irrelevant, a nobody, and why is he making news?
But Woz says it is Microsoft's fault, he is an important figure, relevant, knows what he is talking about, and we need this news out NOW!

alwaysonacoffebreak said,
What? Seriously? I don't see Windows crashing with FF, Opera or Chrome, maybe they should look at the OS first and then blame MS?

1996, dumbass. That meant Windows 95. Have you ever used Windows 95? Windows 9x in general would crash at the drop of a hat, and 95 would routinely freeze or blue-screen several times even before you finished installing it.

Fry said,

1996, dumbass. That meant Windows 95. Have you ever used Windows 95? Windows 9x in general would crash at the drop of a hat, and 95 would routinely freeze or blue-screen several times even before you finished installing it.

your point? as stated above, if Windows crashes, may it be due to a 3rd party application or anything else, its ALWAYS microsofts fault, no matter how its put. back then, and still is.
Win95 runs like a charm in general on decent hardware. It isnt the best, but in its day and age, it was superb.
Now an OS from similar time period, blames crashing the whole OS when moving files between folders is IE's fault??? </seriously.meme>

Apple's genius manipulation strikes again

TheLegendOfMart said,
Just like Apple software is unstable on Windows machines, its swings and roundabouts.

+1, when I sold my iPhone the best part of it was to finally get rid of all the crappy Apple software...

TheLegendOfMart said,
Just like Apple software is unstable on Windows machines, its swings and roundabouts.

Yup, my iTunes crashes several times just using it, import a new song? Crash, freeze for several minutes, recover. Delete a song? Crash, freeze for several minutes, recover. Connect my iPhone? Crash, freeze for several minutes, recover. Click Sync? Crash, freeze for several minutes, recover.

TheLegendOfMart said,
Just like Apple software is unstable on Windows machines, its swings and roundabouts.

iTunes has always been stable for me....

bdsams said,
Accidentally opening iTunes is about as fun as falling on a rusty nail.

Everytime I close iTunes, it repeatedly opens itself.... I have to close it 7-8 times before it finally lays to rest.

Morden said,

+1, when I sold my iPhone the best part of it was to finally get rid of all the crappy Apple software...

I'm close to getting a Nokia Lumia 900, when I do, I can close the book on iTunes.

Lamp0 said,

iTunes has always been stable for me....

Same. I haven't had issues with iTunes on Windows for years on my work laptop or my home PC. Sucks other people are having issues, though. Glad I'm not.

McKay said,

Yup, my iTunes crashes several times just using it, import a new song? Crash, freeze for several minutes, recover. Delete a song? Crash, freeze for several minutes, recover. Connect my iPhone? Crash, freeze for several minutes, recover. Click Sync? Crash, freeze for several minutes, recover.

I never have any of these issues you guys have. Ever. Not ONE crash on iTunes on Windows.

Morden said,

+1, when I sold my iPhone the best part of it was to finally get rid of all the crappy Apple software...

Isn't that the truth!

McKay said,

Yup, my iTunes crashes several times just using it, import a new song? Crash, freeze for several minutes, recover. Delete a song? Crash, freeze for several minutes, recover. Connect my iPhone? Crash, freeze for several minutes, recover. Click Sync? Crash, freeze for several minutes, recover.

That doesn't sound like the "same thing" at all. What you're describing sounds like iTunes is freezing/crashing, but not affecting the rest of OS itself at all, which is how a good OS should work (and apparently wasn't back on the Mac in 96).

_dandy_ said,

That doesn't sound like the "same thing" at all. What you're describing sounds like iTunes is freezing/crashing, but not affecting the rest of OS itself at all, which is how a good OS should work (and apparently wasn't back on the Mac in 96).

well, it's pretty much the OSs' fault if a browser can bring it to its knees... and to be honest, back in '96 what choice of browsers did the user have? netscape maybe