Internet Explorer, also known as “IE,” is survived by Microsoft Edge, the browser the company launched in 2015 that very few people use.
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The company had previously announced that it would cease support for Internet Explorer on June 15, 2022, touting the supposed superiority of Edge. “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,” Sean Lyndersay, GM of Microsoft Edge Enterprise, wrote in a May 2021 blog post.
Back in August 1995, when Microsoft first debuted Internet Explorer, its main competitor was Netscape Navigator, the first commercial browser for the nascent World Wide Web, which had launched the year prior.
As IE gained dominant market share, the U.S. Department of Justice sued Microsoft in 1997 in a landmark antitrust case, alleging the company illegally tied the browser to Windows. The DOJ won an initial ruling approving splitting Microsoft into two entities — an operating system company and an applications company — but the D.C. Court of Appeals rejected the idea that Microsoft should be broken up as the remedy for anticompetitive behavior. The Justice Department in 2002 reached a settlement with Microsoft, which among other concessions agreed to share Windows application programming interfaces (APIs) with third parties.
Currently, Google’s Chrome is the leading web browser with 65% share of the market, followed by Apple Safari at 19%, according to research firm Statcounter. Microsoft Edge currently has about 4% share, followed by Mozilla’s Firefox.
In another recent tech passing, Apple last month announced that it was discontinuing its last iPod model, ending the music player’s 20-year run.
Microsoft’s Lyndersay, in a blog post Wednesday, said that Internet Explorer’s contributions to the evolution of the web “have been remarkable, from helping to make the web truly interactive with DHTML and AJAX to hardware-accelerated graphics to innovations in touch/pen browsing.” He noted that Microsoft Edge includes with an “Internet Explorer mode” for compatibility with older web pages.
In the next few months, users who still have Internet Explorer installed will be redirected to download Edge. Users will still see the Internet Explorer icon on their devices (such as on the Windows taskbar or in the Start menu) but if they click to open IE, Microsoft Edge will open instead with their data like favorites, passwords and settings imported from Internet Explorer. Eventually, IE “will be disabled permanently as part of a future Windows Update, at which point the Internet Explorer icons on users’ devices will be removed,” according to Lyndersay.
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