Microsoft to put Internet Explorer to bed in 2022

Microsoft is to retire its legacy Internet Explorer browser fully in 2022 by ending support for its final version, Internet Explorer 11.

Microsoft has been gradually retiring Internet Explorer, which was introduced in 1995. New feature development for the browser was discontinued in 2016 in favour of Microsoft’s new browser, Edge, which was launched in 2015 to coincide with the launch of Windows 10. Microsoft Teams ended support for the browser last year, and web-based Microsoft 365 products will no longer support Internet Explorer from August 2021.

Edge currently represents around 8 per cent of the browser market, behind Chrome and Safari, and level pegging with Firefox. Internet Explorer’s market share is less than 1 per cent across all platforms.

Support for Internet Explorer 11 has been maintained throughout its gradual retirement but will end on 15 June 2022 for certain versions of Windows 10, meaning that security updates and bug fixes will no longer be rolled out to users. It will continue for some businesses who pay for Microsoft’s Long-Term Servicing Channel, which is used for certain devices (such as those used in hospitals), which require functionality and features to remain unchanged for long periods.

Sean Lyndersay, partner group program manager for Edge, said in a blog post: “Over the last year, you may have noticed our movement away from Internet Explorer support […] Today, we are at the next stage of that journey: we are announcing that the future of Internet Explorer on Windows 10 is in Microsoft Edge.

“Not only is Microsoft Edge a faster, more secure and more modern browsing experience than Internet Explorer, but it is also able to address a key concern: compatibility for older, legacy websites and applications. Microsoft Edge has Internet Explorer mode built in, so you can access those legacy Internet Explorer-based websites and applications straight from Microsoft Edge.”

Microsoft presented Internet Explorer mode for Edge in 2019; this allows users to view dated websites built for Internet Explorer using Edge. The mode supports older ActiveX controls and legacy sites, which are still used by some businesses. Internet Explorer mode in Microsoft Edge will continue to be supported until at least 2029.

Lyndersay gave several reasons for retiring Internet Explorer: improved compatibility for legacy websites in Edge; streamlining for productivity by offering a single versatile browser; and improved security.

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