During a keynote address at the 2005 RSA Conference in San Francisco on Tuesday, February 15, 2005, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates announced a new version of Microsoft Internet Explorer for Windows XP, and that Microsoft will include Windows AntiSpyware technology for free. According to Gates, the two new enhancements will lead to safer Web browsing.
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Microsoft on Wednesday discontinued support for its Internet Explorer web browser, a sign that the 26-year-old brand is drawing to a close, with a baggage that includes antitrust cases, security flaws and performance lags. Users will be directed to Microsoft’s newer Edge browser.
While Microsoft doesn’t generate revenue directly from the browser, Edge uses the company’s Bing search engine by default, through which software and hardware makers generate ad revenue. The category accounted for about 6% of Microsoft’s total revenue, which was close to $3 billion in the first quarter.
Microsoft won’t provide technical support or security updates to customers as it focuses more on Edge, a browser available on mobile devices, Macs and even Linux, rather than Windows-only. Microsoft released Edge as part of Windows 10 in 2015, alongside Internet Explorer as a new, productive but similar thing to what Windows users already knew.
However, Internet Explorer still has a small following, in part because it is still the only way to access some enterprise Web applications. It’s not going away, even if it’s being retired.
“Over the next few months, opening Internet Explorer will gradually redirect users to our new modern browser, Microsoft Edge with IE Mode,” the company’s general manager, Sean Lyndersay, wrote in a blog post. . “Users will still see the Internet Explorer icon on their device (such as in the taskbar or start menu), but if they click to open Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge will open and IE mode can be easily accessed. Ultimately, Internet Explorer will be permanently disabled as part of a future Windows update, at which point the Internet Explorer icon on their device will be removed.”
Lyndersay wrote that the “Reload in IE mode” button will appear in the Edge toolbar, and the browser will ask people if they would like to open the page in IE mode next time.
“Microsoft Edge will also check users every 30 days to make sure they still need IE mode for websites,” he wrote. “As more websites update to modern standards, users will need to use IE mode less often. and more use of modern rendering engines.”
A Brief History of Internet Explorer
In 1995, the Web quickly became Microsoft’s top priority. Then-Microsoft CEO Bill Gates declared in a memo that web development “will set the direction of our industry for a long time to come.” Microsoft bundles Internet Explorer for free with the Windows 95 operating system. It quickly gained the upper hand.
Internet Explorer leads the browser market share by far, thanks to its inclusion in Windows, the world’s most widely used PC operating system. This strategy helped Microsoft undercut the Navigator browser from then-up-and-coming Netscape Communications.
When the US Department of Justice filed a landmark antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft in 1998, the federal agency described the bundling of Internet Explorer in Windows 95 as “unlawful bundling.” The company changed the terms of its agreements with device makers to allow them to remove the browser’s icon from Windows if they wanted to show off other browsers.
Other problems have also damaged Internet Explorer’s reputation. A security expert said in 2004 that using a browser was “stupid.” The Washington Post ran an article under the headline “Internet Explorer Was Not Safe for 284 Days in 2006.” In 2014, after a vulnerability was disclosed, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said those unable to follow Microsoft’s mitigation recommendations should consider alternative browsers.
Internet Explorer does not always provide optimal performance. Observers were particularly impressed by Chrome’s speed when it came out in 2008. This is by design. When Google came up with Chrome’s values, it chose the three S’s: speed, stability, and security, says former Chrome engineering manager Aaron Boodman.
So far, the performance difference with Internet Explorer is noticeable. Its handling of the widely used HTML5 markup language can’t keep up with Chrome, Edge, or Apple’s Safari.
Digital preferences have changed over a quarter of a century. The smartphone became the companion of billions, and in 2012 Google took the upper hand in the browser war with Chrome.
In 2020, Microsoft released a new version of Edge, which relies on Chromium, the open source project behind Google’s Chrome browser, and comes with an Internet Explorer mode that enables enterprise workers to access websites designed for Internet Explorer in Edge. Last year, Microsoft advised consumers to migrate from Internet Explorer to Edge. Now, the company is further reducing the presence of its original browser.
Now Microsoft wants to ensure users who are still using Internet Explorer migrate to Edge, which has about 4 percent, according to privately held StatCounter. Lyndersay wrote that the company will move favorites, passwords and settings from Internet Explorer to Edge. Edge is “the best browser on Windows,” he said.
watch: Say goodbye to Internet Explorer