The time has come. Microsoft's Internet Explorer is bowing out and letting the likes of Google Chrome, Safari, and Firefox run the show. Some might assume Microsoft was tired of its browser being the butt of the joke in meme after meme.
Ok, so that's not quite what's happening. Instead, Microsoft is paving the way for its new Microsoft Edge browser while respecting that some users are still heavily invested in the use of Internet Explorer.
As Microsoft put it themselves in a blog post, "Customers have been using IE 11 since 2013 when the online environment was much less sophisticated than the landscape today. Since then, open web standards and newer browsers—like the new Microsoft Edge — have enabled better, more innovative online experiences."
"We believe that Microsoft 365 subscribers, in both consumer and commercial contexts, will be well served with this change through faster and more responsive web access to greater sets of features in everyday toolsets like Outlook, Teams, SharePoint, and more."
All of this means that as of August 17, Internet Explorer 11 will no longer be supported by many of Microsoft‘s own services, including Office 365, Outlook, OneDrive, and more.
Support for Internet Explorer in Microsoft Teams will end even earlier as Microsoft has announced it will end support on November 30, 2020.
In order to help with the eventual transition, Microsoft's new Edge browser has an Internet Explorer 11 compatibility mode. And it's not only Internet Explorer to which Microsoft is bidding farewell: the company is also retiring the pre-Chromium Edge legacy version. Starting March 9, 2021, the old version of Edge will stop receiving security updates.
It's been a year in which Microsoft has been decisive in bidding farewell to old institutions and getting behind new projects; back in June, it announced it was taking a new approach to retail by closing the majority of its physical stores. This may yet be a pivotal year in the history of one of computing's biggest players.