THU FEB 16, 2023 | SOURCE
Netscape Navigator, Ask Jeeves, and other now-defunct online entities that were inextricably linked to the mid-’90s will have to make room for one more retiree. In what CBS News calls “heartbreaking news” for devotees delivered just in time for Valentine’s Day, Microsoft pulled the plug Tuesday on the desktop version of its Internet Explorer web browser on certain versions of Windows 10. “The retired, out-of-support Internet Explorer 11 desktop application has been permanently disabled through a Microsoft Edge update,” the company said in a blog post of the now-mostly kaput browser, which had seen nearly a dozen incarnations since it was launched in 1995.
The company noted that consumer and commercial devices would now redirect to its newer Microsoft Edge browser, which has co-browsed with IE since 2015. Microsoft added in its post: “Users will be unable to reverse the change.” This wasn’t a complete surprise, though perhaps many people had forgotten it was going to happen until they woke up on Tuesday: Microsoft had announced the swap last June that would throw IE into “the dustbin of tech history.” Users had been given the option in December to get a jump on disabling the Internet Explorer 11 desktop app instead of waiting for the update.
Ars Technica notes that even though IE11 wasn’t the main browser for Windows 10—that honor went to an older version of Edge—Microsoft kept it up and running, and bundled with Windows 10, “for compatibility reasons.” Now, however, it’s the “end of an era,” per the Hill, which notes that Edge only claims about 4% of the global browser market. It’s Google’s Chrome that owns that category, with about a 65% share, followed by Apple’s Safari at 19%; Mozilla’s Firefox lags behind all of them.
Users who hung onto IE “out of habit, ignorance, or spite,” per Ars Technica, will now be shepherded right to Edge if they try to click on an IE icon or otherwise launch it, and all their bookmarks and other browsing info will be transferred to the new browser. There will be some IE remnants, however. The tech outlet notes “it could be nearly a decade before the zombified corpse of Internet Explorer finally stops twitching,” as there will still be “visual references” to it in Windows 10 until a June update. The browser will also be accessible on certain, mostly older Windows versions and in an Edge “IE mode” that will see support until “at least through 2029,” per Microsoft.