We’ve known it was coming, but now it’s upon us: Internet Explorer, Microsoft’s once-dominant internet browser, officially dies today, Wednesday, June 15.
Users trying to access Internet Explorer from tomorrow will be directed towards Microsoft Edge, the company’s modern Chromium-based browser that, while decent, hasn’t managed to meaningfully challenge Google Chrome. For those who use applications exclusive to Internet Explorer 11, you’ll be able to access those via Edge’s Internet Explorer mode.
The death of Internet Explorer won’t trouble many people. According to Statcounter, 67% of desktop browsers worldwide use Chrome, under 10% use Safari, and just over 9% use Edge. Firefox and Opera come in after that, at 8% and 3% respectively. The “other” category is just over 3%.
But if you’re of a certain age, you may feel a pang of regret at the snuffing of IE’s meagre flame. Internet Explorer 2.0 was the first “free” browser and came preloaded with Windows, a move that pretty much rang the death knell of previously dominant browser Netscape Navigator (yes: there was a time when you needed to pay for a web browser, or pretend you were a student and download the educational version). In the early 2000s, you pretty much ran either Internet Explorer, or if you were really cool, Firefox. When Google Chrome came along, it quickly ate everyone’s lunch, and ever since, no one’s managed to usurp it.
Microsoft has really put its weight behind Microsoft Edge, though, as any user of Windows 10 can attest: sometimes trying to avoid it in favour of Chrome or another alternative feels like swatting a virus. Edge became Windows 10’s default browser in 2015, though Internet Explorer has continued to appear on new devices due to those aforementioned IE apps that, nowadays, probably very few still use.