Goodbye Internet Explorer: Microsoft retires its web browser after 27 years | Scientific and technical news

For millions of people, it was their very first web browser, but as of today – after 27 long years – Microsoft no longer supports Internet Explorer.

It is a long overdue retirement. Even when the company previously planned to withdraw support by last August, its use had shrunk to a fraction of what it once was.

Anyone who tries to use the desktop app now will find it disabled and unsupported and will be automatically redirected to the Microsoft Edge browser.

For some, the browser inspires nostalgia, and for many others, it provokes memories of slow-loading pages, bugs, crashes, and frustrations.

It was released in 1995 and, being bundled with Microsoft’s Windows operating system, quickly became the web’s most widely used browser with a 95% share in 2003.

But as web functionality grew with video streaming and other services, Internet Explorer – despite updates – lagged rivals such as Mozilla Firefox in 2004 and Google Chrome in 2008.

Microsoft’s successor browser, Edge – which the company has announced will be replace Internet Explorer in 2015 – comes with Windows and is used by around 4% of all web traffic today.

The next year, Internet Explorer has been dethroned as the most used browser with Chrome taking the top spot – something it has continued to hold ever since.

This is partly due to mobile browsing dominating the web. Google’s Chrome and Apple’s Safari browser were successful with around 65% and 20% market share respectively.

This market share got both companies in some trouble.

In 2018 Google has been fined 4.34 billion euros (£3.8 billion) to force phone makers to pre-install apps like Google Search and Chrome to the exclusion of other search engines and web browsers.

Microsoft had a similar entanglement with the US Department of Justice around the turn of the millennium, fighting a lawsuit launched in 1997 – and settling in 2002 – that alleged it was using its monopoly with Windows to hunt competitors.

Microsoft says Edge is “a faster, more secure, and more modern browsing experience than Internet Explorer,” as well as an experience that remains crucially compatible with “older and legacy websites and apps.”

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