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Goodbye IE, welcome Edge: Here’s why Microsoft decided to retire the Internet Explorer, the Gen X browser

As of May 2022, Microsoft Edge accounts for 10.07% of desktop usage across the globe. Though Chrome is ranking top of the list with 66% of users, Edge is second in the list when compared to Mozilla’s Firefox (7.86%) and Safari (9.61%).

Microsoft on Wednesday (June 15) finally decided to do away with its classic web browser ‘Internet Explorer’ directing the users to Edge, the new Microsoft-hosted web browser. The users are hardly mourning Explorer’s exit as it had become less compatible and had already started troubling the users with its slow, bloated, and not-so-secure connection.

According to the reports, the company announcing the official exit of the browser said on June 10 that the Explorer users would be automatically redirected to Microsoft’s Edge browser. It also added that the decision to retire the blue ‘e’ browser was taken as the web developers today make websites less likely compatible with it. Gen Y and Gen Z probably has never used the browser as more effective competitors like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Safari had already started dominating the market. But people born in the 70s and 80s, who have first tasted the internet connectivity with dial-up connections know their lives with Internet Explorer.

Born in 1995, the Explorer served the internet users with a better browser than the Netscape Navigator which was the existent dominant browser back then. Though slower and sluggish, the IE as its name suggests aided the curious intellectuals to explore the world of the internet.

Journey of Microsoft from IE to Edge-

Back in 1995, the IE was first released as an add-on package to the Windows 95 users back then. Considering the wider appreciation for the service, the company made available the latest versions as free downloads and tied them permanently to Windows. Within a few years, IE competed with Netscape to become the most widely used web browser. By the year 2003, the usage share of the browser had reached 95%.

The company continued to introduce feature developments to the browser and many businesses worldwide chose IE to host their trades online. However, as Microsoft in 2015 introduced a new browser named Edge, it stopped adding features to the IE, making it the least used platform by 2022. According to StatCounter, the market share of IE today has reduced to 0.38% across all the platforms.

To note, the company after spending around $100 million every year on the IE decided to back it in favor of the newly introduced Microsoft Edge. IE’s demise on June 15 also didn’t come as a surprise to many as the company in the year 2015 itself had said that IE would be supported last by Windows 9 and that Edge would be the default browser for all Windows 10 devices, including computers, tablets, and smartphones.

Also, in the year 2021, the general manager of Microsoft Edge Enterprise, Sean Lyndersay announced that Microsoft had plans to put an end to the older browser from June 15, 2022, in favour of its Edge browser. “Not only is Microsoft Edge a faster, more secure, and more modern browsing experience than Internet Explorer, but it is also able to address a key concern: compatibility for older, legacy websites and applications”, Lyndersay said in May 2021 blog post.

How is the redirection of users from IE to Edge going?

Though IE has served a lot of people belonging to Gen X in their businesses and official projects, it had started losing the market share as more effective and fast-serving browsers like Google Chrome and Firefox were racing to dominate the market. The beginning of Chrome and Firefox in short had already reflected the demise of IE. Realizing that IE could not compete Chrome, Microsoft introduced Edge in 2015 to offer the users with a more quicker and complex browsing experience.

The motive of bringing a ‘chromium browser’ was just to provide the users with premium internet service in competition against Chrome. As of today the number of users using the web Edge is 158 million. As of May 2022, it accounts for 10.07% of desktop usage across the globe. Though Chrome is ranking top of the list with 66% of users, Edge is second in the list when compared to Mozilla’s Firefox (7.86%) and Safari (9.61%).

The straight and simple reason for Edge’s growth is its default knot with Windows 11. Today, Microsoft Edge is compatible with macOS, iOS, Android, and, of course, Windows. Though the Windows version after 10 is no more supporting the IE browser paving the way for the Edge to make its position in the web world, the Windows 11 users will be able to access the IE browser in IE mode.

All the Windows users, even the Windows 11 users who click on the IE are automatically dragged to the Edge with an active ‘IE mode’ button on the screens. Though the Edge has promised to shift all the user passwords and bookmarks to the newer browser, the users can access the older IE browser by clicking on the ‘reload IE mode’ in case they encounter any sort of problem. Eventually, Internet Explorer will be permanently disabled as part of a future Windows update.

Why Microsoft killed IE?

Many, who still rely on the IE wonder that if the company already had an option to introduce the IE mode then why did it choose to kill the browser risking so many dependent business sites. But it’s important to understand as explained by the company that instead of spending money on incremental improvements, it’s always better to start with a clean slate.

The company while announcing the demise of IE said that spending money on the incremental improvements was also not a problem unless they matched the general improvements to the web at large. The company also claimed that Edge is ‘faster, more secure and modern for today’s internet. Resolving the issue for several old IE-dependent websites, the company reiterated that ‘IE mode’ is to work as a savior for them till the year 2029.

Microsoft which was the earliest one to work on an independent browser promised a future where the web could deliver any program to any computer user. With the later dominant presence of Chrome and Firefox and Safari and whatnot, Microsoft eventually took a step back to roar back with its new, efficient and compatible browser named Edge.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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Siddhi Somani
Siddhi Somani
Siddhi Somani is known for her satirical and factual hand in Economic, Social and Political writing. Having completed her post graduation in Journalism, she is pursuing her Masters in Politics. The author meanwhile is also exploring her hand in analytics and statistics. (Twitter- @sidis28)

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