Here’s how the world is reacting to the end of Microsoft Internet Explorer
- Microsoft Internet Explorer, after having died many deaths, finally came to its end on June 15, 2022.
- Microsoft reckons the future of Internet Explorer is in Microsoft Edge, giving users “a faster, more secure and more modern browser.”
- Japan is still largely dependent on Internet Explorer.
After almost three decades of service, Microsoft retired its oldest browser, Internet Explorer, at long last. The final version of the browser, Internet Explorer 11, has stopped receiving support or security updates since June 15, 2022. The web browser, launched in 1995, was dominant for many years during the days of dial-up internet but its dominance in the browser market didn’t last too long.
Microsoft actually informed this in a memo last year, before making it official. “The Internet Explorer 11 desktop application will be retired and go out of support on June 15, 2022, for certain versions of Windows 10,” the company said, adding separately that it will continue to support some forms of Explorer. The truth is, Microsoft Internet Explorer died many deaths in between — with the emergence of Firefox in 2002 and Google Chrome in 2008.
Microsoft saw as much of what was in the market and eventually developed Edge, a more secure and modern browser that launched in 2015. In a blog posting on June 15, 2022, Microsoft Edge Enterprise general manager Sean Lyndersay admitted how the web has evolved and so have browsers.
“Incremental improvements to Internet Explorer couldn’t match the general improvements to the web at large, so we started fresh. Microsoft Edge is a faster, more secure and modern browser—the best browser for Windows—designed for today’s internet. But we haven’t forgotten that some parts of the web still rely on Internet Explorer’s specific behaviors and features, which is why Microsoft Edge comes with Internet Explorer mode (IE mode),” he added.
To recall, Internet Explorer launched alongside Windows 95, offering a first taste of the web to many people who hadn’t already used early browsers like Netscape Navigator. Undoubtedly, Microsoft Internet Explorer played a key role in popularizing the internet— it had 95% of usage share by 2003, and wasn’t eclipsed by Edge until 2019. Yet, the browser was also closely linked to some of Microsoft’s worst practices.
Although bundling IE with Windows helped web newcomers, it also stifled competition. Microsoft even had a US’ 2001 antitrust case against them due to accusations that the company abused IE restrictions to maintain Windows’ market dominance. It was also reputable for its poor security and its over slow pace of that turnaround only helped browsers like Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox rise to prominence. Perhaps that is why the current Edge browser is based on Chromium rather than in-house tech.
What will happen to existing Microsoft Internet Explorer users?
According to Sean, over the next few months, opening Internet Explorer will progressively redirect users to their new modern browser, Microsoft Edge with IE mode. “Users will still see the Internet Explorer icon on their devices (such as on the taskbar or in the Start menu) but if they click to open Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge will open instead with easy access to IE mode,” he said.
Eventually, Internet Explorer will be disabled permanently as part of a future Windows Update, at which point the Internet Explorer icons on users’ devices will be removed. For IT professionals with organizations that use older, legacy sites as part of their normal business processes, Sean said they can easily automate IE mode so that those pages launch in IE mode automatically for their users. Notably, the Edge browser’s IE Mode will still receive support through 2029 or later, so you won’t be stuck if you just need compatibility with the older web engine.
In his blog posting, Sean also reckons that with IE mode, Microsoft Edge offers unmatched compatibility for the internet. “The future of Internet Explorer is in Microsoft Edge, giving you a faster, more secure and more modern browser,” he added.
Some are still very dependant on Internet Explorer
For a country like Japan, the death of Internet Explorer spells inconvenience mostly. A March survey by information technology resource provider Keyman’s Net revealed that a large number of organizations in Japan still relied on Internet Explorer. In fact, 49% of respondents said they used the browser for work.
In a report by Nikkei Asia this week, Japanese organizations said the browser was used for employee attendance management, expenses settlement and other internal tools. “In some cases, they have no choice but to use Internet Explorer because of clients’ systems used to handle orders. Over 20% of these respondents did not know or had not figured out how to transition to other browsers after Internet Explorer’s retirement.”
Surprisingly, Nikkei noted that government agencies are particularly slow to respond. It was only yesterday that the portal site for information on government procurement and bidding switched its recommended browsers to Microsoft’s new Edge and Google Chrome. “But for Japan Pension Service, notices concerning online applications must be viewed in Edge’s Internet Explorer mode. The website of a government-backed mutual aid corporation for private schools still listed Internet Explorer as its only recommended browser,” the article reads.
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