For most people reading this, the news that Internet Explorer dies today will come as an enormous surprise — not because it was in the prime of its life, but because it was presumed dead years ago.
But no, as of yesterday it was still technically a product supported by Microsoft — albeit not with very much enthusiasm.
Although Internet Explorer was included with Windows 10 back in 2015, Microsoft really wanted you to use its (then) new Chromium based browser, Edge, instead. Indeed, anybody who has made the upgrade to Windows 11 will find that all traces of Internet Explorer have already been removed.
Microsoft feels comfortable making this move thanks to IE mode in Edge. “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 company explained back in May.
Surprisingly, however, people are still using it — and possibly more than you’d think. According to Lansweeper (via TechRadar), a startling 47% of Windows 10 devices still use Internet Explorer as their web browser and will subsequently need to make the switch to Edge, or be at the mercy of all kinds of malware nasties.
But old habits die hard, and if you have been a loyal Internet Explorer customer since day one, you’ve been using the browser for nearly 30 years.
Originally released as an add on for Windows 95 in 1995 when only a handful of people were chatting to each other on usenet groups, usage would ultimately peak in 2003 when nearly 95% of internet users were connecting via it. After that, it was a story of slow decline as the likes of Firefox, Safari and — most significantly — Google Chrome gobbled up its market share on both mobile and desktop, before it lost number one spot in 2012.
Indeed, it’s worth mentioning a few of the sites that weren’t around to see Internet Explorer at its peak: Facebook (2004), YouTube (2005), Reddit (2005), Twitter (2006), Instagram (2012). Nor was PornHub (2007), by the way (yes, yes: I’m sure you’ve never heard of this site).
So farewell, Internet Explorer: you may well look at that list of websites and reflect that Chrome is welcome to all of it. That’s Edge’s problem, now.