It is amazing how something that was so ubiquitous only a decade and more before, can now be so irrelevant and even actively disliked now. When Microsoft included its own browser, Internet Explorer, on Windows 95, it grew to become almost the only net browser any computer user would use. But even as government regulators accused Microsoft of unfair practice, the computing giant abruptly stopped hyping IE since its sixth version, letting other browsers rise to prominence such as Mozilla Firefox and then Google Chrome. Internet Explorer (latest version 11) is still around however, but Microsoft is starting to put the fossil browser to rest.
Forbes reports that this week, Microsoft has announced a gradual removal of support for its various suites of program applications with their old and doddering online browser, Internet Explorer. There are two significant milestones covered. First, IE support for Microsoft’s “Teams” workplace chat app will be discontinued effective this coming November 30. Second, by August 17, 2021 next year the subscription service software product line Microsoft 365 (a superset of the original Office 365 with licenses for Windows 10 Enterprise edition) will drop all functions of compatibility with Internet Explorer.
IE is not the only Microsoft browser that is now being vigorously phased out. There is also Microsoft Edge, or rather the original Edge browser that debuted with the release of Windows 10 in 2015. This was originally hoped to be the best chance Microsoft had at beating current top web browser Chrome, but was too unwieldy for several websites and was replaced in 2019 by a new version based on Google’s open-source Chromium browser development software. Now, the original Edge will be cut off from regular security updates, which keeps it secure from viruses and online malware, by Microsoft starting March 9 of 2021.
But for Microsoft Internet Explorer, the support cutoffs are the last nails in a coffin to end its history as the one-time “only web browser being used” to surf the internet, ever since its highest point back in 2002 where 95% of net surfers used IE over other browsers. The drop in enthusiasm for further developing Internet Explorer since IE6 gave other net companies the opening to make themselves the new way to surf. Add to the fact that IE tended not to support software extensions like Chrome and Firefox, and does not have a mobile app version, contributed to its quiet fall from grace.
The current Microsoft Edge browser, built on the same source code as Chrome, is still only in second place behind Google’s killer app in terms of usage. But that is already better compared to IE.
Image courtesy of The Verge