End of an era: Microsoft retires Internet Explorer

By Jennifer Korn and David Goldman, CNN Business

    (CNN) -- After nearly 27 years, an iconic Microsoft product is finally being put to rest.

Internet Explorer 11 is now incompatible with Microsoft products, as announced by the company in a blog post Wednesday. The move comes over a year after Microsoft first announced its intention to phase out IE from products.

It marks the final goodbye for a browser that has been on the way out for years. In August 2020, for example, Microsoft's workplace chat software Teams stopped working with IE, and its 365 apps (including Office) no longer worked on IE as of mid-summer 2021.

For the next several months, users who click the IE icon will be redirected to Microsoft Edge, the company's newer answer to web browsing, in "IE mode." IE mode allows users to access older, Internet Explorer-based websites and applications from Edge. Eventually, Microsoft plans on releasing a Windows Update that will remove all IE icons from devices.

"The web has evolved and so have browsers," Sean Lyndersay, General Manager of Microsoft Edge Enterprise, said in the blog post Wednesday. "Incremental improvements to Internet Explorer couldn't match the general improvements to the web at large, so we started fresh."

IE's retirement impacts all currently supported versions of Windows 10 Home, Pro, Enterprise, Edu and IoT.

Once the most-popular web browser, Internet Explorer had been on a steady decline for nearly two decades. After debuting in 1995 as part of Windows 95 and becoming an instant hit, the browser enjoyed a virtual monopoly throughout the early 2000s. At its 2002 peak, Internet Explorer commanded 95% of the browser market.

But Microsoft let IE 6 flounderfor fiveyears with no new version, pushing customers to other, more up-to-date browser options. IE soon became known for its bugs, security issues and slow tech, and its share of the browser market fell below the 50% threshold in 2010. In the first four months of 2022, the browser sat at about 1.8%, according to browser usage tracker NetMarketShare. Google's Chrome is the browser leader, commanding 73% of the market.

In its announcement last year, Microsoft said Internet Explorer is slow, no longer practical for or compatible with many modern web tasks, and is far less secure than modern browsers.

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