For the past 25 years, Internet Explorer has allowed people to access the Internet, but it has finally been killed off by Microsoft. It has been a long time coming, as Microsoft introduced its Chromium-based successor in 2015, allowing Internet Explorer to plod on for a further 5 years. Now its death date has been announced. From August 17, 2021, Internet Explorer will no longer be supported, meaning no more updates will be released to correct vulnerabilities. The recently released Internet Explorer 11 will be the final version of the browser to be released.
While most users will have a year to prepare, the end comes more quickly for some as from November 30, 2020, Microsoft Teams will no longer support Internet Explorer 11 so Microsoft Teams users will need to switch to another browser this year. Microsoft says IE support for other Office 365 apps will be withdrawn in 2021.
Microsoft Edge is a worthy replacement for Internet Explorer. Since Edge is built on Google’s open source Chromium software, it has far more features than its predecessor. Microsoft has also announced that the legacy version of Microsoft Edge that is not Chromium-based, will also be finished next year. That version will start to be phased out on March 9, 2021.
Microsoft said it understands that many users will be unhappy about changing from the Internet Explorer browser that they have grown to love over the years, but the feature-rich replacement will allow them to get more out of Microsoft 365. Microsoft Edge is also touted as a much more secure browser, not only beating its predecessor, but also beating Google Chrome on security in a recent NSS Labs web browser security study covering malware and phishing.
Microsoft said it will be doing as much as it can to make the transition as smooth as possible. That includes helping enterprise users, who may well have invested in Internet Explorer 11. For those users, Microsoft has introduced an IE mode in the Microsoft Edge browser to ensure that any legacy apps used by enterprises will continue to work with Microsoft Edge.
Microsoft has also been aggressively pushing out Microsoft Edge to users through its monthly updates, so all users of Internet Explorer will be able to use Microsoft Edge when support stops without having to download the browser themselves. Microsoft also confirmed that Windows users will not be able to uninstall the Edge browser, at least not easily.
If you are still an IE user, now is probably a good time to export your bookmarks and give Edge a try, or at least make the switch to another browser.