Today (June 15th 2022), what was once the “king of the web browsers” has officially retired after 27 years, marking the end of an era. As of now Internet Explorer is officially “end of life”.
Microsoft Internet Explorer was released in 1995 and quickly became the dominant browser, almost instantly wiping out the previous dominant player Netscape. Internet Explorer was the dominant web-browser for more than a decade as it was bundled with the Windows operating system (similar to how Edge is today) that came pre-installed on billions of computers.
What does “End-of-life” mean?
In short, just that – it’s dead. Officially, “End of life” refers to the point in time when an application is no longer supported by the software company that makes it. In this case, Microsoft’s end of life for Internet Explorer means continued use of the browser after today is still allowed, but Microsoft will no longer update it, patch it or support it if something goes wrong.
This is important since new computer viruses, malware, and ransomware attacks are developed daily, and the web-browser is a major window into many of the apps that employees, customers, consumers use every day. Users should therefore stop using Internet Explorer use their modern Chromium-based Edge browser (or other 3rd party choice) since no more security updates will be provided by Microsoft as of now.
It has been a while coming
This has been a while coming, ever since Internet Explorer’s market share continued to be dominated by Google Chrome and others and Microsoft announced, and launched it’s new Edge Browser which built on the open source Chromium framework which Google uses within it’s Chrome browser.
Microsoft had already ended support for Internet Explorer for their Teams web app back in 2020, shortly followed by removing support across their other key web apps and services including OneDrive, Dynamnics, PowerApps, Outlook and Office from August 2021.
“Internet Explorer 11 desktop application will be retired and go out of support on June 15, 2022, for certain versions of Windows 10,”Microsoft
Microsoft will continue to be supported in very few situations including with customers running the Windows 10 long term services branch (ltsb).
The Future is Edge
Microsoft Edge, was released in 2015 and was upgraded in 2019 to include the Chromium open-source code which Microsoft is now a major contributor along side Google and others. The move was done to compete with more popular browsers like Google Chrome, which has (and still does in part) dominated the market.
Microsoft Edge is a modern open-source browser and offers improved compatibility, streamlined productivity, and hugely better browser security.
As new apps and software products are released onto the market by other companies, old software versions can’t keep up. Microsoft Edge Chromium-based browser can now support a wider variety of platforms, which makes it more useful for the modern era. IE 11, in comparison, held limitations preventing it from updating alongside newer technologies.
What about legacy web apps and sites?
For older websites and services, Microsoft Edge provides a built-in “Internet Explorer mode”, making the use of using older web browsers like Internet Explorer unnecessary.
Microsoft recognise that many larger organisations “may have a surprisingly large set of legacy Internet Explorer-based websites and apps, built up over many years.” As such Microsoft have promised to support legacy web apps via it’s Internet Explorer mode until at least 2029, which gives web developers 8 full years to modernise their legacy apps and eventually remove the need for IE mode.
Legacy Support and Help is available
Users shifting from Internet Explorer to Edge can easily transition their passwords, favourite websites, and other browsing data from to Edge.
Microsoft recommends that any organisation that still has concerns or needs to support Internet Explorer (and therefore need legacy support) do the following.
- Read up on IE Mode
- Read the getting started guide to use IE Mode
- Configure the IE Mode Tool to ensure legacy sites continue to work in your organisation
- Speak to their Microsoft Partner if they need any additional help.