Microsoft stopped supporting the Internet Explorer web browser on Wednesday, indicating the end is near for a 26-year-old brand with baggage that includes an antitrust case, security flaws and lagging performance. Users will instead be pointed to Microsoft’s newer Edge browser.
While Microsoft doesn’t derive revenue directly from browsers, Edge defaults to the company’s Bing search engine, through which the software and hardware maker generates advertising revenue. That category represents about 6% of Microsoft’s total revenue, at nearly $3 billion in the first quarter.
Microsoft won’t offer technical support or security updates to customers as it focuses more on Edge, a browser that’s available on mobile devices, Mac and even Linux, rather than being confined to Windows. Microsoft released Edge as part of Windows 10 in 2015, to exist alongside Internet Explorer as something new and efficient yet similar to what Windows users already knew.
Internet Explorer still has a small group of devotees, though, in part because it remains the only way to reach certain corporate web applications. It won’t be vanishing yet, even though it’s being retired.
“Over the next few months, opening Internet Explorer will progressively redirect users to our new modern browser, Microsoft Edge with IE mode,” Sean Lyndersay, a general manager at the company, wrote in a blog post. “Users will still see the Internet Explorer icon on their devices (such as on the taskbar or in the Start menu) but if they click to open Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge will open instead with easy access to IE mode. Eventually, Internet Explorer will be disabled permanently as part of a future Windows Update, at which point the Internet Explorer icons on their devices will be removed.”
A “Reload in IE mode” button will appear in the Edge toolbar, and the browser will ask people if they’d like to open a page in IE mode next time, Lyndersay wrote.
“Microsoft Edge will also check in with the user every 30 days to make sure they still need IE mode for the site,” he wrote. “As more and more sites get updated to modern standards, users will need to use IE mode less and the modern rendering engine more.”