Microsoft has announced that it is pulling the plug on Internet Explorer, 25 years after the browser was first launched.
In a blog post on Wednesday, the software giant said the legacy browser would be replaced with Microsoft Edge.
This decision was made because Edge – which was recently rebuilt using Google’s Chromium open-source codebase for web browsers – is faster, more secure, and provided a more modern browsing experience.
While this change was necessary, Microsoft said it did not want to leave reliable, functioning websites and applications behind with the move.
“Microsoft Edge has Internet Explorer mode (‘IE mode’) built in, so you can access those legacy Internet Explorer-based websites and applications straight from Microsoft Edge,” Microsoft stated.
Internet Explorer will be retired over the next few months, with Microsoft 365 and other apps ending support for the browser on 17 August 2021, and full support retirered on 15 June 2022.
Because many organisations have set up a legacy of Internet Explorer-based websites and apps, IE mode will be supported until 2029.
Internet Explorer played a key role in making it easier for the average user to navigate the World Wide Web, and dominated the browser market in the 2000s. IE’s market share peaked at 96% in 2002.
It gradually started to lose its appeal and was eventually surpassed by rivals, including Firefox and Chrome.
Among the reasons for this was that Microsoft failed to follow guidelines set by the World Wide Web Consortium. This means many websites did not display as intended in Internet Explorer.
The browser also suffered from major security vulnerabilities, which have continued to cause problems as recently as 2020.
Microsoft explained why it recommended Edge as the go-to option for Internet browsers, including that its dual-engine offered improved compatibility.
With its built-in Internet Explorer (IE) mode, users can access legacy websites while enjoying support for modern sites.
“Microsoft Edge is the only browser with built-in compatibility for legacy Internet Explorer-based websites and applications, including support for functionality like ActiveX controls,” Microsoft said.
“Microsoft Edge is also built on the Chromium project – the technology that powers many of today’s browsers – which means it delivers world-class support for modern sites.”
Microsoft claimed that Edge provided the best protection on Windows 10 thanks to Microsoft Defender SmartScreen and Password Monitor, which scans the dark web to identify if your personal credentials have been compromised.