Microsoft is cutting ‘critical’ support for Internet Explorer, once the world’s most popular Web browser

Faye Kyzer

At one time, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer owned more than 90% of the web browser market. Now, the company said it will cut off access to a critical piece of support in 2021. The tech giant made the announcement in a blog post this week. In the summer of 2002, Internet […]

At one time, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer owned more than 90% of the web browser market. Now, the company said it will cut off access to a critical piece of support in 2021.

The tech giant made the announcement in a blog post this week.

In the summer of 2002, Internet Explorer was virtually unrivaled. The only browser that was close was Netscape, which had rapidly lost share to Microsoft’s browser that year, according to ZDNet. At the time, Internet Explorer was even more dominant than Google’s Chrome browser is today.

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Internet Explorer is still popular, though. While Chrome rules – with around a 70% market share – Internet Explorer 11 still has a larger share of the market than Apple’s Safari, according to NetApplications.

But that share will inevitably shrink as Microsoft prepares to end critical support for the browser.

This week, Microsoft said that by August 2021, apps and services will no longer be supported for Internet Explorer 11 on Microsoft 365, the subscription service for Microsoft Office, which includes popular applications like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

Starting Nov. 30, 2020, Microsoft Teams, a popular collaboration, web conferencing, and meeting app, will no longer support IE 11.

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By those dates, users “should no longer access” Microsoft 365 apps and services using IE 11, Microsoft added.

Why is Microsoft doing this? Microsoft Edge.

The tech giant recently updated its Edge browser with the same Chromium source code used by Google in its Chrome browser. And now Microsoft wants IE 11 users to migrate to the new Edge.

“With the new Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer mode, customers don’t need an awkward workaround of one browser for some apps and another for other apps,” Microsoft said in the blog post.

“They can standardize on one browser and…experience the best of the modern web in one tab while accessing a business-critical legacy IE 11 app in another tab – all housed within the new Microsoft Edge.”

Essentially that means that older IE 11 apps will continue to work but just not in the old Internet Explorer 11 browser.

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