- Internet Explorer was Microsoft’s flagship web browser, included with multiple versions of Windows.
- Microsoft’s newest browser, Edge, will take its place.
- Internet Explorer’s 27 year lifespan makes it one of the oldest still-in-use web browsers ever released.
The time has finally come. After multiple stays-of-execution, Microsoft is finally killing off Internet Explorer. The once-popular web browser has been around for a whopping 27-years. For many, it was the default browser on a Windows PC, before competitors like Firefox, Chrome, Opera, or Safari started luring users away.
Starting on Wednesday, June 15, Windows users who try to open Internet Explorer will be out of luck. They will receive a message about the discontinuation of the application, along with directions to use Microsoft Edge — the company’s newest browser. Edge was built from the ground up to replace its predecessor. It was officially released in 2015. Since then, Microsoft has been including it in Windows 10 and 11, along with Xbox gaming systems.
So Long, and Farewell
The end of Internet Explorer (IE) has been a long time coming. Microsoft actually explained they were weaning users away from it back in May 2021. In short, the IE browser is outdated. It’s not as fast, secure, or compatible as newer browsers.
“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,” the company wrote. “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.”
The final day of Internet Explorer has some businesses concerned, though. Some corporate systems still use IE to run internal applications. In order to prevent massive issues, Microsoft has added an “Internet Explorer Mode” to Edge. It should provide a workaround for anyone still needing it.
Internet Explorer’s Slow Death Knell
Although Microsoft continued to make IE updates for decades, it slowly declined in popularity. The Wall Street Journal reports that only 0.28% of internet users still access the web with IE. By comparison, roughly 65% use Google Chrome and another 18% use Safari, which was designed by Apple for MacOS and iOS.
Internet Explorer was actually at the center of the 1997 antitrust lawsuit that the U.S. Justice Department filed against Microsoft. They alleged that requiring users to install their browser as a requirement for using Windows was a monopolistic business practice. The Feds actually won their case, and Microsoft was ordered to split up into two separate divisions — one for designing operating systems and one for designing software.
Microsoft appealed the decision, and the case was eventually settled in 2001, with both sides making small concessions.
The Internet Reacts
The internet, as it does, reacted to IE’s death in predictable ways. Naturally, there are the memes about how slow and outdated the browser had become. And the classic joke that the only thing IE was good for was downloading the installation file of a different browser.
On the other hand, a lot of users offered their heartfelt thanks to IR as the switch was turned off for good. For millions of computer users of a certain age, IE was their first portal into the grand odyssey that is the world wide web. While Microsoft’s once-flagship browser couldn’t keep up with modern times, it served us well for close to three decades.
RIP, Internet Explorer.