In designing the browser in early 2008, IE8's development team, led by manager Dean Hachamovitch, wanted to implement new privacy features that would limit third parties from easily tracking mouse clicks and other user activity, according to the Journal. The effort was seen as an attempt to distinguish Internet Explorer from up-and-coming rivals like Firefox
, which had gradually been grabbing more of IE's market share.
But the best laid plans of the IE team quickly ran into a brick wall. Executives at Microsoft's ad business argued that the tighter privacy would hinder the tracking needed for online advertising at a time when the company was ramping up to sell online ads after its $6 billion purchase of Web ad vendor Aquantive