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Death of IE

Death of IE

The Death of Internet Explorer (1996 – 2015)

Internet Explorer has gone the way of Netscape and AOL. A critical part of the online experience at the turn of the century, much of the Internet has turned to faster, better and trendier options.

Microsoft officially announced it would no longer support IE back in 2015, though there are still developers creating sites compatible with the browser and there are certainly still people using it regularly.

Here’s why you should make like Microsoft and leave Internet Explorer in the past (if you haven’t already).

Why it’s time to quit Internet Explorer

As of May 2019, IE still accounted for just over 5 percent of the browser market share. While seemingly small, that’s still a lot of users worldwide. Many major developers still make their platforms compatible with IE so as not to lose these users.

In February 2019, more than three years after Microsoft stopped supporting IE, Microsoft’s Worldwide Lead for Cybersecurity Chris Jackson insisted people stop using the browser. He wrote a blog post bluntly titled, “The perils of using Internet Explorer as your default browser.”

Microsoft frames IE’s death as largely a compatibility issue. Some sites continue to work fine on Internet Explorer, but as developers add features to their site they are not testing compatibility with Internet Explorer. This means as sites evolve Internet Explorer will increasingly be incompatible with more sites because developers are not considering this unsupported browser a priority. Jackson writes in his post that users should migrate browsers to avoid missing out on a growing portion of the web.

If web developers still want to make their sites compatible with IE, they would need to take on considerable technical debt not required for other browser compatibility. Jackson explains in his post that IE was optimized for simplicity at the expense of technical debt. Long story short, the default settings for a new website compatible with IE would be running on web standards from 1999.

Because so many people still use IE, Microsoft still makes important security updates to the browser; however, this is all they’re updating.

How Internet Explorer died

Internet Explorer has never had a strong development history or developer community. Even when IE was in its heyday, Microsoft was still slow to implement features.

In 2015 Microsoft unveiled their Edge web browser as part of the Windows 10 release. Microsoft shifted its attention to developing and promoting this browser rather than supporting two browsers. 

Users’ departure from IE began well before Microsoft stopped supporting it in 2015. Users noticed the lack of features coupled with the superiority of other browsers. Internet Explorer became the butt of jokes on social media, making it the decidedly uncool option for web browsing.

It’s up to you whether you want to assume the technical debt to keep your website compatible with Internet Explorer and compliant with the latest web standards. If analytics show your audience primarily uses IE, then that should factor into your decision. However, as time goes by, it will be increasingly difficult to keep up with a technology serving a smaller audience.

At IDMI.Net, we’ll build you a website in compliance with the latest Internet browser standards. Contact us today to learn how we can help.

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