For a web browser that was once a leader and a venerable member of the Holy trinity of browsers, along with Firefox and Chrome, it might seem like an end of an era and a dawn of a new age. But the reality is that Internet Explorer’s time had come long ago.
Microsoft is finally terminating its most-hated browser. It was announced that its official support will be ending in June 2022. with the reins being passed on Microsoft Edge.
Edge has a feature called “Internet Explorer mode” dedicated for older apps and websites, so you can still use it in some small form, but Microsoft said Edge will be the more streamlined and secure browsing experience.
Its implication behind the future of browsing can be blurry, but there’s little doubt that Google Chrome is winning the browser war.
The fight isn’t over yet, though. Internet demand has gone mobile nowadays, where Apple and Google are dominant. The failure of the Windows phone means that Microsoft has a bad start in that market, and so even with Microsoft Edge, it may still struggle to become number one in the market.
Internet Explorer’s Downfall
Internet Explorer project started way back in 1994, and by 2001 Microsoft has ruled. Its influence was so strong that it dictated the coding at what it could or could not do.
As all empires inevitably fall, Microsoft’s hegemony gradually slumped as it continually missed updates and keep up with the times. It was even labeled as one of the “worst tech products of all time”.
The company didn’t follow the guidelines set by the World Wide Web Consortium to the extent that it would often make its web pages look “unique” than on Firefox and Opera.
Eventually, competitors started to pop up. In 2004, Firefox was released, and in 2008, Chrome joined the fray. These companies were determined to move faster than Internet Explorer – something that’s easy to achieve. New features were only added Internet Explorer as part of a major release, and that even took many years due to reluctance and complacency.
After years since Chrome was launched, it was updated at least 70 times. Internet Explorer, however, is far that that number, only updating four times between its eighth and eleventh iteration.
Believe it or not, Microsoft has been phasing out their old browser for several years – but in 2009 it had to issue an emergency patch due to a vulnerability. At that point, Internet Explorer is still being used by at least 8% of the total population.
Is Edge Better Than Internet Explorer?
Codenamed “Project Spartan” – it was Microsoft’s attempt to launch a cut-down and efficient software – Edge was conceived in 2015.
Although Edge now being operational, Microsoft was still suffering from the same issue. Additionally, its rendering engine is different than that of its competitors and had very little uptake among users. Because of that, devs did not optimize websites for it and the browser ran into major technical issues again.
Whether or not it will make a difference is yet to be known. About 65% of the world’s population uses Chrome, followed by Apple’s Safari (which has a market share of 16%) with Firefox, and Edge falling behind – with less than 2% of the market.
Moreover, an increasing percentage of internet usage is on mobile. Mobile browsing has risen to 51% of all browsing, while desktops fell to 49%. And while Microsoft has both iOS and Android browser apps, the majority of users stick to what’s the default on their smartphones.