On June 15th, 2022, after almost thirty years of unrelenting service, Microsoft’s somewhat notorious browser, Internet Explorer, was finally asked to stand down, having stopped receiving support or security updates that will allow it to run on certain versions of Windows 10.
Despite the recent, official announcement that Internet Explorer will gradually be phased out of use, it is arguable that it died a long time ago, especially since more user-friendly browsers, such as Firefox and Google Chrome, have grown in popularity.
During the halcyon days of the internet, however, when the unmistakable sound of two modems connecting to one another pervaded the receivers of landline phones, confusing parents and obstructing the persistent, honest labour of cold-call sales reps, Internet Explorer was without doubt the most popular browser, and likely the first used by many of us.
But if that was the case, what went wrong?
Having existed for such a long time, one problem faced by Microsoft was their seeming inability to keep up with growing trends with regards to usability. Not only did they fail to create space for themselves in the Smartphone market, but infrequent updates made the browser extremely problematic for users and developers.
As well as this, alternative browsers, particularly Chrome, are – to put it bluntly – better than IE in almost every single way, especially when it comes to three fundamental features of user experience, namely simplicity, speed, and security.
For businesses who still widely use IE, the alternative will be using the IE mode on Microsoft Edge, which will receive support until 2029, having recently been made available by Microsoft to help businesses adapt to the new chromium-based browser.
Despite this, as Microsoft 365, Outlook, and OneDrive will no longer support Internet Explorer by the end of this year, this finally means that, after years of trying, Microsoft will have finally fired the silver bullet and put an end to the use of IE altogether.
Whether this encourages current users to make adequate, timely changes or not, they will eventually be left with no choice but to move on, as a future Windows update will permanently disable Internet Explorer, removing the seemingly omnipresent, sky-blue ‘e’ icon from desktops for good.
Whilst certain types of data will be redirected to Edge by default, this change does pose a problem for those who are still heavily dependent on IE, especially in Japan, where many organisations still use it, including some government agencies.
Even if it doesn’t affect you at all, IE’s last hurrah (or whimper) is certainly a poignant moment in internet history, not least for those of us for whom it was almost the sole means of accessing the online world.
While this goodbye might not be painful, it’s goodbye all the same, even if this one is long overdue.