Microsoft Corp is pulling the plug on its once omnipresent browser Internet Explorer next year as it prepares to battle market leader Chrome using its newer Edge browser.
Launched in 1995, Internet Explorer became the dominant browser for over a decade as it was bundled with Microsoft’s Windows operating system that came pre-installed in billions of computers.
The browser, however, started losing out to Google’s Chrome in the late 2000s and has become a subject of countless internet memes for its sluggishness in comparison to its rivals.
To compete better, in 2015 Microsoft launched the Edge browser which runs on the same technology as the Google browser.
The company has been phasing Explorer out for several years now.
Microsoft ended support for Internet Explorer for its Teams web app last year and the company aims to stop it from accessing Microsoft 365 services like OneDrive, Outlook and Word from August.
Explorer does still enable users to access websites and applications built on technology too old and obsolete to be supported by modern browsers, but Edge has that covered with a built-in “Internet Explorer mode”, making the older browser unnecessary even for those extreme cases.
As of April, Chrome has a 65 per cent share of the global browser market, followed by Apple Inc’s Safari on an 18 per cent share, according to web analytics firm Statcounter.
Microsoft Edge has a 3 per cent share, while Internet Explorer has a minuscule share of the market it once dominated.
The Windows software maker said the future of Internet Explorer on Windows 10 was in its faster and more secure Microsoft Edge.
“Internet Explorer 11 desktop application will be retired and go out of support on June 15, 2022, for certain versions of Windows 10,” the company said in a blog post.
The browser was at the heart of an antitrust case against Microsoft more than two decades ago, with a US judge deciding that the software titan had broken the law after it combined Internet Explorer and the Windows operating system.
The most serious violations of the law were upheld on appeal, but the company continued to bundle its operating system and browser.