End of an era: Microsoft retires Internet Explorer

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by Jennifer Korn and David Goldman | CNN business

After almost 27 years, an iconic Microsoft product is finally being put to rest.

As the company announced in a blog post on Wednesday, Internet Explorer 11 is now incompatible with Microsoft products. The move comes a year after Microsoft first announced its intention to remove IE from its products.

It marks the final farewell to a browser that has been shut down for years. For example, in August 2020, Microsoft’s Teams workplace chat software stopped working with IE, and its 365 apps (including Office) stopped working with IE by mid-summer 2021.

Over the next several months, users who clicked the IE icon were redirected in “IE mode” to Microsoft Edge, the company’s new answer to web browsing. IE mode allows users to access older, Internet Explorer-based websites and applications than Edge. Finally, Microsoft plans to release a Windows update that will remove all IE icons from devices.

“The web has evolved, and so have browsers,” said Sean Lindersey, general manager of Microsoft Edge Enterprise, in a blog post Wednesday. “Internet Explorer’s incremental improvements couldn’t keep up with the web’s overall improvements, so we started fresh.”

IE’s retirement affects all currently supported versions of Windows 10 Home, Pro, Enterprise, Edu, and IoT.

Once the most popular web browser, Internet Explorer has been on a steady decline for almost two decades. After debuting as part of Windows 95 in 1995 and becoming an instant hit, the browser enjoyed a virtual monopoly in the early 2000s. At its peak in 2002, Internet Explorer captured 95% of the browser market.

But Microsoft let IE6 run poorly for five years without a new version, pushing customers to other, more up-to-date browser options. IE soon became known for its bugs, security issues, and slow technology, and its share of the browser market fell below the 50% mark in 2010. In the first four months of 2022, the browser was around 1.8% in terms of browser usage. Tracker NetMarketShare. Google’s Chrome is the leading browser, capturing 73% of the market.

In its announcement last year, Microsoft stated that Internet Explorer was slow, no longer practical or compatible with many modern web functions, and much less secure than modern browsers.

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