News & Events, Tech

Internet Explorer is finally leaving the worldwide web

It’s about time.

words by: Sahar Khraibani
Jun 12, 2021

Microsoft finally announced that Internet Explorer is reaching the conclusion of a long and painful lifespan. In other words, Internet Explorer has reached the end of life and is leaving the internet for good.


The death of Internet Explorer

The much-maligned web browser that once dominated the internet couldn’t overcome its reputation as a slow, unstable net-surfing alternative even after 25 years. Since at least 2015, when it debuted its successor, Microsoft Edge, Microsoft has been phasing out the software (previously known as Project Spartan). The Internet Explorer desktop app will be retired officially on June 15, 2022 and though no one will even feel the difference of its absence, people are pretty psyched about this end.


“The future of Internet Explorer on Windows 10 is in Microsoft Edge,” the company stated in what people have been calling the browser’s death notice.


Microsoft Edge

Microsoft Edge, according to the firm, is faster, more secure, as well as compatible with early-internet websites, all of which its predecessor was criticized for lacking. The browser will be phased out of Microsoft 365, the company’s subscription-based app bundle, in August. Last November, Microsoft Teams, a video-conferencing platform, buried Internet Explorer.


The company continued to explain:

“With Microsoft Edge, you get a dual engine advantage that supports both legacy and modern websites. Internet Explorer mode gives you built-in legacy browser support for websites and applications that still require Internet Explorer. In fact, 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 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. With the dual engine advantage, you get the best of web, both past and future.”


However, for those who prefer to believe, the ghost of Internet Explorer lives on in the new browser – Edge includes a built-in Internet Explorer mode.


A brief history of IE

IE was formerly considered as an unstoppable element of a monopoly, which may appear bizarre to young people whose internet experiences have not focused on the blue “e” icon. When Windows debuted Explorer in 1995, it quickly dethroned Netscape Navigator, which had previously been the market leader. Explorer had 95 percent of the browser market in the early 2000s when it was at its peak. However, Microsoft fell behind its competitors in terms of security, mismanaged web pages, and sluggishness, eroding users’ trust.


But the browser refused to die. Microsoft attempted to improve its image by acknowledging the browser’s negative reputation. It rebranded Explorer as “the browser you loved to hate” in a fun ad campaign in 2012. Indeed, its dreadful look has become joke fodder: a browser that was too slow to load the news of its demise, or the finest browser for downloading a better one.


Microsoft developers who worked on the browser said the company pondered renaming Explorer to “distance ourselves from bad notions that no longer reflect our product today” in a 2014 “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) discussion on Reddit. But it was too late; the harm had already been done. Users have already migrated to Mozilla’s Firefox and Google’s Chrome, expressing their dissatisfaction.


According to browser tracker StatCounter, Google Chrome is now the most popular browser, with a 64 percent share of the global market, while Edge users account for less than 4%.


Following the fate of the company’s Hotmail and its famously unpleasant Windows mascot “Clippy,” Internet Explorer will join other bad-mouthed services in the nostalgic graveyard of the Internet’s past.


Last year, Microsoft and Walmart made the news together as they attempted to buy TikTok.


Photo via Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images