Microsoft is tolling the death knell for Internet Explorer with an announcement that it will end support for all older versions next year.
On its website, Microsoft says that all versions older than the latest one will no longer be supported starting Jan. 12, 2016. On Windows 7 and 8.1, which currently have the biggest number of users, that's IE 11. However, on Windows Vista, the newest version available is IE 9. These versions will continue to receive security updates, compatibility fixes and technical support until Microsoft decides to drop support for the operating system as well.
Microsoft urges its customers to upgrade their web browsers to the latest version, citing security issues as the biggest threat to using unsupported versions of IE.
"After Jan. 12, 2016, Microsoft will no longer provide security updates or technical support for older versions of Internet Explorer," says Microsoft. "Security updates patch vulnerabilities that may be exploited by malware, helping to keep users and their data safer. Regular security updates help protect computers from malicious attacks, so upgrading and staying current is important."
The move is clearly one of Microsoft's tactics to get people to use Microsoft Edge, the brand new, positively-reviewed browser on Windows 10 that continues to receive a dismal slice of the web browser pie. Even though Microsoft promises to provide security updates for IE 11 and IE 9, it is clear that its users will no longer receive new features, features that will be added to Microsoft Edge instead.
For most consumers, upgrading to a new browser will probably not be too much of a problem especially if automatic updates are turned on, but even Microsoft acknowledges that enterprise users may run into bumps along the road. Businesses that have built apps based on older versions of IE will be hugely affected, but Microsoft says Enterprise Mode on IE 11 will ease the process for businesses.
"To help customers who have a business need for using Internet Explorer 11, Microsoft will continue to invest in compatibility improvements, tools and other resources to help customers upgrade and stay up-to-date on the latest browser," Microsoft says.
These improvements include support for HTTP ports and tools that allow IE 11 to emulate the way legacy web apps run on older browser versions. On Windows 10, Microsoft is also allowing enterprise users to easily set IE 11 as their default web browser.