Good-bye Internet Explorer

Browsers. They are windows through which we see our world, especially in these days of COVID-19.

Browser features and choices don’t vary much, but when they do, it is newsworthy. This year’s biggest browser news is that Microsoft will be passing the torch from Internet Explorer to Edge.

The world has come a long way in the 25 years since Internet Explorer was first released in 1995 with Windows 95. (That was the same year, coincidentally, that the term “smartphone” was first used, although it took another 12 years before we had anything that resembled what we have today.)

In 2015, Microsoft introduced us to the Edge browser; it was billed as a successor to IE, but did not fill its shoes. Then in 2019, Microsoft released a new version of Edge with a Chrome engine and a new logo. We appreciated the improved browser, but not the pushy release tactics.

One feature of the new Edge that will be appreciated by those who need IE, is “Internet Explorer mode”: in Edge, under “Settings>Default browser” you can turn on a feature that “When browsing in Edge, if a site requires Internet Explorer for compatibility, you can choose to reload it in Internet Explorer mode”. This will be handy for some old web pages, especially for old surveillance camera systems that are only compatible with IE.

On 09Mar2021, support for “legacy” Edge will cease, and on 17Aug2021, Internet Explorer 11 will stop being supported by Office and OneDrive. I expect many other apps and services will quickly drop their support as well, so if you depend heavily on IE, you have lots of time to play the field with other browsers such as Chrome, FireFox, Safari, Edge, Opera, and others.

Every browser makes it easy to transfer IE favourites to their bookmarks. (Fun fact: All browsers call your saved websites “bookmarks”, except IE that uses/used the term “favourites”.)

Microsoft Edge is available for Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. Edge has a long climb ahead if it wants to rise from its single-digit market share to Google Chrome’s 66% market share.