Tuesday 28 March 2023

Internet Explorer is finally headed out to pasture

Explorer reached the peak of its popularity in 2003 with nearly 95% of browser usage.

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QTECH – The Internet Explorer (IE) browser, which entered service 27 years ago as a packaged component in Windows 95, will be retired today, Wednesday, in a transition to Microsoft’s “Edge.”

As of Wednesday, June 15, 2022, Microsoft will no longer support the once-dominant browser that legions of web surfers loved to hate and a few still claim to adore. (AP)

IE’s demise was not a surprise. A year ago, Microsoft said that it was putting an end to Internet Explorer on June 15, 2022, pushing users to its Edge browser, which was launched in 2015.

“The future of Internet Explorer in Windows 10 is in Microsoft Edge,” Microsoft Edge Enterprise General Manage Sean Lyndersay wrote in a May 2021 blog post.

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According to Lyndersay, “Not only does Microsoft Edge offer a faster, more secure, and more modern experience than Internet Explorer search, but it also addresses a key concern: compatibility with older sites and apps.”

Microsoft released the first version of Internet Explorer in 1995, the era of web surfing dominated by the first widely popular browser, Netscape Navigator. Its launch signaled the beginning of the end of Navigator: Microsoft went on to tie IE and its ubiquitous Windows operating system together so tightly that many people simply used it by default instead of Navigator.

The United States Justice Department sued Microsoft in 1997, saying it violated an earlier consent decree by requiring computer makers to use its browser as a condition of using Windows. It eventually agreed to settle the antitrust battle in 2002 over its use of its Windows monopoly to squash competitors. It also tangled with European regulators who said that tying Internet Explorer to Windows gave it an unfair advantage over rivals such as Mozilla’s Firefox, Opera and Google’s Chrome.

Those who have become accustomed to IE – including a generation of users born after August 24, 1994 – should have no problem going hand in hand in the transition to Edge, which includes an “IE mode” that guides the process.

The retirement of Explorer 11 affects apps on specific versions of Windows 10, and will not be available on Windows 11 where the default browser is Edge.

According to the company “for supported operating systems, Internet Explorer 11 will continue to receive security updates and technical support for the life of the version of Windows on which it is installed.”

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Explorer peaked in popularity in 2003 with nearly 95% of browser usage, but since then Microsoft has faced competition from other services, and in 2016 the firm suspended development of new features, focusing on a new browser.

In August 2021, Microsoft 365 ended its support for Internet Explorer, and Microsoft Teams had ended its support for IE in November of the previous year.

Today, the Chrome browser dominates with roughly a 65% share of the worldwide browser market, followed by Apple’s Safari with 19%, according to internet analytics company Statcounter.

IE’s heir, Edge, lags with about 4%, just ahead of Firefox.

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