Goodbye Internet Explorer: Why is Microsoft’s new update killing the browser?
Pour one out in a pre-empting R.I.P. for Internet Explorer. The iconic browser won’t be with us much longer, according to a statement released by Microsoft, as the company has decided to fully focus on the newer, snazzier Microsoft Edge. Soon you won’t have to worry about the next Internet Explorer update and will only have to be concerned about the next Edge update . . . assuming you haven’t switched browsers already.
That’s the reason Microsoft is pulling the plug on Internet Explorer, after all. The browser’s share of the market is minuscule, even when compared to Microsoft Edge’s weak 3% share. For context, Google Chrome has 65% of the global browser market, and Apple’s Safari has 18% – at least according to an April report from web analytics firm Statcounter.
So, long gone are the days when Internet Explorer was a force to be reckoned with in the browser world. It’s time for it to go.
What took so long?
You might have noticed the average Internet Explorer update hasn’t really been doing much in the way of improving the venerable browser’s performance lately. Well, cut ol’ IE some slack – it’s been around since 1995. That’s more than twenty-five years ago! In tech years, Internet Explorer is the equivalent of a senior citizen who’s been forced to keep working after reaching retirement age. Give that browser a gold watch!
To be fair, Microsoft’s announcement about retiring Internet Explorer isn’t coming out of the blue. In August last year, the company revealed a timeline indicating Microsoft Teams would stop supporting Internet Explorer 11 on November 30th, 2020, and Microsoft 365 would do the same on August 17th, 2021. So this new development is simply the final nail in the coffin for the browser.
Officially now, the “end of life date” for Internet Explorer is June 15th, 2022. That might seem like a long way from now, but it’ll be here before you know it. So if you haven’t transitioned to Microsoft Edge and you want to stay within the Microsoft family, it’d be a good idea to get started. The last official Internet Explorer update was on October 20th, 2020, by the way – and you probably didn’t even notice.
So what’s the deal with Microsoft Edge anyway? Honestly, it’s Microsoft’s version of Google Chrome. Both browsers run on the same technology, which explains why your Edge experience is more likely to resemble using Chrome than using the now-sluggish Internet Explorer.
In order to honor Internet Explorer, however, Microsoft Edge has a built-in “IE Mode”, which allows it to operate as a version of its predecessor. This will benefit legacy websites that run better on Internet Explorer due to not having had an update in a long time. Support for IE Mode is expected to last at least until 2029, and Microsoft has committed to giving at least a year’s notice before retiring the feature.
Backwards-compatibility isn’t all Microsoft Edge has to offer though. In the same blog post that announced the end of Internet Explorer, Microsoft’s Sean Lyndersay took the opportunity to boast about Edge’s other features. According to Lyndersay, the new browser is faster (check out the sleeping tabs feature!) and safer (its Password Monitor will scour the dark web for your protection!). Oh, and it has a cooler name.
So you’ve probably dealt with the last Internet Explorer update of your life. What now?
First of all: don’t panic. Odds are that you already have Microsoft Edge on your computer and you’re just not using it yet. Thankfully, Microsoft has an online guide that will walk you through transferring your bookmarks, passwords, and additional settings from the old browser to the new one.
Big businesses and other major organizations may find out that they deal with legacy websites more often than they thought. But that’s what IE Mode is for – so we have at least until 2029 to figure out that mess.
Are you bummed about the official end of Internet Explorer? Have you been resisting transitioning to Microsoft Edge? Let us know in the comments!