Microsoft announced that Microsoft Teams would stop supporting Internet Explorer 11 this November, and the remaining Microsoft 365 apps will also end support for IE11 a year from now.
“We want to be clear that IE 11 isn’t going away and that our customers’ own legacy IE 11 apps and investments will continue to work,” The post says, reassuring the many businesses that still rely on Internet Explorer legacy apps.
Internet Explorer has been steadily losing relevance since its peak in the early 2000s when it was the primary web browser for 95 percent of internet users. Its share of the browser market fell below half in 2010 and floundered at around four percent in 2020, well below Google Chrome’s 71 percent.
Internet Explorer struggled to keep pace with challengers like Safari, Firefox, and Chrome, which managed to develop faster and more sophisticated engines with many more updates.
Internet Explorer 6 (2001-2006) was ranked number eight for the worst tech products of all time by PCWorld.com, which claimed it “might be the least secure software on the planet.”
Unlike Chrome and Firefox, IE11 still doesn’t support extensions, can’t be used on non-Windows devices, and doesn’t sync with other devices by default.
Microsoft itself has acknowledged many of the issues with Internet Explorer, leading it to launch a new browser called Edge in 2015 with the intent of eventually replacing IE.
Microsoft is encouraging Internet Explorer users to move over the Microsoft Edge, where there is an Internet Explorer mode for those who prefer it.
Since 2018, Edge runs on Chromium software (the same as Google Chrome) but includes tracking protection from third parties and advertisers, which the company hopes appeals to customers.
Microsoft has gone so far as to prevent Windows 10 users from uninstalling Microsoft Edge. Windows users who prefer other browsers will have to manually change the default browser and ignore the Edge app.
However, considerable challenges remain to Microsoft popularizing Edge, which currently takes up less than two percent of the web browsing market.
The steep rise in smartphone use for web browsing (it recently surpassed desktop browsing) has made it even harder for Edge to take off since most smartphone users don’t bother installing a new app for searching the internet.
Microsoft tried to launch its own line of smartphones in part to fix this problem, but the project was a flop and was discontinued in 2017.