Microsoft Tries to Retire Internet Explorer 11 by Pulling Microsoft 365 Support

PCMag
PCMag
Aug 20, 2020 · 2 min read
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The old browser is still used among enterprises with legacy systems, but Microsoft wants them to consider alternatives like the new Chromium-based Microsoft Edge browser.

By Michael Kan

Surprisingly, Internet Explorer 11 isn’t dead yet. But Microsoft is trying to phase it out. On Monday, the company announced that Microsoft 365 office applications will eventually no longer run over the old browser.

Redmond will begin sunsetting support starting on Nov. 30 with the Microsoft Teams app, the company’s video conferencing and chat solution. All remaining Microsoft 365 support will then be terminated a year from now, on August 17, 2021.

“This means that after the above dates, customers will have a degraded experience or will be unable to connect to Microsoft 365 apps and services on IE 11,” the company wrote in a blog post. “For degraded experiences, new Microsoft 365 features will not be available or certain features may cease to work when accessing the app or service via IE 11.”

The transition probably won’t affect most consumers. Currently, Internet Explorer only has a 5.8 percent market share of the PC browser market. Google’s Chrome, meanwhile, dominates the sector with a near 69 percent share.

Internet Explorer has also suffered from its share of serious vulnerabilities over the years. Nevertheless, the browser still gets used in the office world, particularly among enterprises, healthcare providers, and government agencies still stuck on aging computer systems. In some cases, these systems and their apps can only be accessed over Internet Explorer.

As a result, Microsoft is well aware the transition away from Internet Explorer may annoy some business customers. However, the company is telling customers to try out the new Microsoft Edge, which has adopted Google’s Chromium engine for better load times.

In addition, Edge has a special “ IE mode,” which uses the old rendering engine in Internet Explorer 11, to load sites. So it should work with any legacy applications. “Customers don’t need an awkward workaround of one browser for some apps and another for other apps. They can standardize on one browser and seamlessly experience the best of the modern web in one tab while accessing a business-critical legacy IE 11 app in another tab,” the company wrote.

Still, Microsoft isn’t completely abandoning Internet Explorer 11 (at least not yet). The company plans on pushing updates for the old browser for customers on Windows 10 until 2025, according to Microsoft’s product lifecycle timeline.

“We want to be clear that IE 11 isn’t going away and that our customers’ own legacy IE 11 apps and investments will continue to work,” the company added. “Customers have made business-critical investments in IE 11 legacy apps and we respect that those apps are still functioning.”

Originally published at https://www.pcmag.com.

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