After 25 years, Microsoft is finally putting an end to its web browser, Internet Explorer (IE). IE was once the most used browser, with 95% usage in 2003. However, since this peak, the Microsoft browser has been on a gradual decline in popularity among users.
The most recent version, IE 11, will no longer be supported by Microsoft Teams as of November 2020. The rest of the applications featured in Microsoft 365 will also stop supporting IE in the following year.
IE 8, 9 and 10 were discontinued in 2016 due to criticism from users, lack of popularity and competitors. In 2015, Microsoft introduced Edge, which is now set to take over IE as the new and improved browser.
Why is Microsoft ditching IE?
The reason behind Microsoft no longer offering support to IE is to move on from a slower, older version of a browser to one which has better compatibility for many websites. The decline in popularity, as a result of other competitive browsers performing with higher efficiency, meant that Microsoft itself had to eventually shut down IE.
IE’s main competitor, Google Chrome has updated 70 times, whereas IE only updated its system 4 times. The absence of regular updates for its users could be another reason for the death of IE. As users look for more modern, innovative browsers to ensure maximum capacity IE, it seems, failed to provide regular upgrades.
IE faced a lot of competition from other popular web browsers. While IE launched in 1995 and gained a lot of popularity from many users, the introduction of Google Chrome in 2008 and Mozilla Firefox in 2004 consequently ensued a decline for IE.
According to our own visitor data of SchemeServe, Chrome is the most popular with 70.26% in between July 2020 to August. IE, however, places in second with 10.55% of the population visiting the site with the Microsoft browser.
Meanwhile, 4.65% used Microsoft Edge with Firefox following behind with 1.93%. Since IE is confirmed to no longer be supported by Microsoft 365 by next year, it is interesting to note the on-going popularity of IE above Microsoft Edge.
Microsoft Edge will replace IE, as the sleek, modern alternative. It is embedded with Cortana – Microsoft’s personal productivity assistant – and is faster. It’s also the default browser from Windows 10 devices and Xbox One.
The new browser is a step-up from IE. Microsoft claims that Edge has stronger privacy for users, an improved internal search, better compatibility, easier to manage security and greater memory compacity. Edge, compared to IE, uses fewer resources which ultimately makes it the faster browser.
Edge has a default privacy protection, ensuring that the issues of privacy seen in IE are a thing of the past. The inclusion of Microsoft Search in Bing (MSB) is also a feature to boost the efficiency of the browser. The latest update in May 2020 showed higher competence on PC devices which subsequently adds improvement to the battery life.
Popular browsers include Chrome, Firefox, Opera and Vivaldi.
Chrome can be said to be IE, and other major browsers’, main competitor. With 310 million users and an estimated 40% of the browser market, Chrome is a giant in the industry. It is fast, compatible and some of its features include, dark/night mode and tab freezing. Chrome has been criticised for relying on too many resources, the element of tab freezing decreases the amount of unnecessary resources.
Chrome can be personalised, has add-ons and widgets for users to have full autonomy of their browsing experience. It is fair to say that Google knows what it’s doing with Chrome, as even Microsoft opted for a Chromium system for Edge.
Firefox is another popular browser, with 250 million monthly active users. It provides security, flexibility and is customisable for every individual. Similar to Chrome, users can add plugins, extensions and change the appearance of their browser. Some, however, have criticised Firefox for being slow. There are also concerns regarding the browser’s future funding.
Opera is the least popular out of the three big browsers with a total of 182 million users. This browser also uses a Chromium system, which makes it fast, adaptable for add-ons and other personalised features.
What can I do if I use IE?
As Microsoft 365 is set to no longer support IE next year, the company is advising its users to migrate to Edge and discontinue IE.
Edge offers an ‘IE mode’ to help ease users into changing their browsers, especially if they feel a certain kind of loyalty to Microsoft’s 25-year-old IE.
Due to the lack of support for IE, it’s important for users to either switch browsers completely or move to Edge. Microsoft’s security chief, Chris Jackson commented, “We’re not supporting new web standards for it [IE] and, while many sites work fine, developers by and large just aren’t testing for Internet Explorer these days. They’re testing on modern browsers.”
The best way to change your browser is to seek out which one offers the best compatibility for your own personal preference. Whether it’s to match the compatibility for your company’s webpage or personal flexibility in browsing, here are some tips in picking the best browser:
- Security: Ensure that your chosen browser offers constant updates to protect your system from viruses and hackers.
- Memory: Check to see how much Random-Access Memory (RAM) the browser takes as too much can often cause a system-crash
- Data protection: Check if the browser saves cookies and what it does with personal data
- Speed: Depending on how much software and resources a browser uses, the speed will rely on that
- Add-ons: These include extensions, widgets, personalised themes and plug-ins. To use software such as Adobe Flash, make sure your browser is equipped with add-ons
- Compatibility: If you own a webpage, ensure the chosen browser functions well with the site. Further, choose a browser which fits well for your device- whether it’s a Windows PC or Apple Mac