According to Joel Spolsky,

I will give the Internet Explorer team credit. With IE versions 3.0 and 4.0 they probably created software about ten times faster than the industry norm. This had nothing to do with the Internet and everything to do with the fact that they had a fantastic, war-hardened team that benefited from 15 years of collective experience creating commercial software at Microsoft.

This seems like a good benchmark for how big a team it took to create important desktop software in the heyday of desktop software, if you have all the other variables right, if you are maxing out efficiency.

So: how big was the Microsoft team that created the original Internet Explorer?

  • 4
    Umm, shouldn't the answer be zero because the "original" Internet Explorer was rebranded Mosiac/Spyglass? Do you mean IE 3.0's team?
    – Foon
    Feb 19, 2021 at 15:30
  • 2
    I think what Spoelsky was trying to say is that the team itself had been (mostly) together as a group for 15 years. Otherwise, that is not many years of aggregate experience. So, clearly they were a strong team because they had a lot of history together, and nothing else.
    – Brian H
    Feb 19, 2021 at 17:15

1 Answer 1


According to https://ericsink.com/Browser_Wars.html it seems the answer is

The original Internet Explorer team was just five or six people. By the time Silverberg and others decided to rewrite the browser almost completely for version 3.0, released in 1996, the team had grown to 100. By 1999, it was more than 1,000.


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