Microsoft is ending support for Internet Explorer 8, announcing it would give users 17 months to stop using the version, which is the most popular version so far.

The post from Microsoft includes a list of operating systems and browser version combinations that would continue getting support, with Internet Explorer 8 not making the cut.

"After Jan. 12, 2016, only the most recent version of Internet Explorer available for a supported operating system will receive technical support and security updates," said Roger Capriotti, director of Internet Explorer, in the full blog post. "For example, customers using Internet Explorer 8, Internet Explorer 9, or Internet Explorer 10 on Windows 7 SP1 should migrate to Internet Explorer 11 to continue receiving security updates and technical support."

The news is especially big for businesses, many of which have not upgraded their systems to Windows 7 or 8 because it means that they would also have to upgrade Internet Explorer.

The post says Microsoft would only be supporting IE9 on Windows Vista, IE10 on Windows Server 2012 and IE11 on Windows 7 and Windows 8.1.

While the browsers will stop getting updates and technical support from Microsoft, they will continue to work on the systems they're installed on.

"Running a modern browser is more important than ever for the fastest, most secure experience on the latest Web sites and services," Capriotti continued in his blog post.

The news takes Microsoft in a different direction from its previous support policy, in which it promised to continue supporting a version of IE as long as an operating system was able to run it.

Under the old policy, IE7 was to continue getting support until 2017, which is when Windows Vista support was to end. IE8 would have continued to get support until 2020, when Windows 7 was to retire. IE10 was supposed to continue getting support until 2023, the end date for Windows 8.

Microsoft has essentially taken off a year of support for IE7, four years for IE8 and IE9 and seven years for IE10.

This news is especially surprising considering the user base and the rate of growth of IE8. The browser is being used by 37 percent of Internet Explorer users, which is a lot more than IE11's 29 percent. Not only that, but in the last month alone IE8 use has grown four times that of IE11.

While at first glance it may seem like Microsoft is losing its mind, the company suggests users will have a better web experience with new versions of Internet Explorer. Not only that, but the move will obviously also help cut Microsoft's support costs. 

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