Categories: BrowsersPC

Microsoft To Retire Veteran Browser Internet Explorer

Microsoft has announced the termination path of Internet Explorer, its veteran web browser that dominated the late 1990s and early 2000s.

In a blog post, the software giant announced the retirement dates for the browser, that has been a Microsoft staple product since its arrival in 1995, when it knocked Netscape Navigator off its perch as the leading web browser of its time.

It should be remembered that Netscape Navigator made up 90 percent of the browser market in 1996, but IE soon became the default choice for many. Mozilla’s Firefox browser was only launched in 2004, whereas the Google Chrome browser only arrived in 2008.

IE retirement

So aside from the history lesson, when will the venerable Internet Explorer be officially retired?

Well, Microsoft confirmed that from 30 November 2020, Microsoft Teams will stop supporting Internet Explorer.

Then on 9 March 2021, Microsoft Edge Legacy will reach its end of life (Edge Legacy is the EdgeHTML browser that is currently the default browser on Windows 10).

For Internet Explorer 11, the actual end of its 26 year odyssey will come on 17 August 2021, when Microsoft 365 apps and services will no longer support it.

“This means that after the above dates, customers will have a degraded experience or will be unable to connect to Microsoft 365 apps and services on IE 11,” Microsoft blogged. “For degraded experiences, new Microsoft 365 features will not be available or certain features may cease to work when accessing the app or service via IE 11.”

Want to know more about the history of Internet Explorer? Read our Tales In Tech History article.

“While we know this change will be difficult for some customers, we believe that customers will get the most out of Microsoft 365 when using the new Microsoft Edge,” it added. “We are committed to helping make this transition as smooth as possible.”

Internet Explorer 11 (IE11) was launched back in 2013, but a lot has changed over the past seven years, with the online world becoming increasingly sophisticated and the arrival of open web standards (HTML5 etc).

Long goodbye

But Microsoft wanted users to know that Internet Explorer is not totally going away, as 2.76 percent – according to Stat Counter – still use the ancient browser.

“We understand the need to ‘do more with less’ in the new business environment,” said Redmond. “By the dates listed above, customers should no longer access Microsoft 365 apps and services using IE 11, but we want to be clear that IE 11 isn’t going away and that our customers’ own legacy IE 11 apps and investments will continue to work.”

“Customers have made business-critical investments in IE 11 legacy apps and we respect that those apps are still functioning,” it said.

The software giant pointed out that its Edge browser does have an Internet Explorer mode that lets you use Internet Explorer from inside the Edge browser.

Essentially, the Edge browser has the ability to run two different engines, Chromium and Trident, which could be helpful those still utilising Internet Explorer.

The retirement of Internet Explorer has been on the cards since late 2015, when Microsoft first began warning customers that support for older versions of Internet Explorer would be phased out.

In January 2016 Microsoft officially stopped supporting Internet Explorer 8, 9 and 10.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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